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Lawsuit against Titanic sub company from 2018 gives big insight after sub's implosion
Featured Image Credit: Becky Kagan Schott/OceanGate

Lawsuit against Titanic sub company from 2018 gives big insight after sub's implosion

A 2018 legal document from former OceanGate employee David Lochridge could offer insight into what happened to the Titan submersible

A lawsuit filed back in 2018 could shed some light on the ‘catastrophic implosion’ that destroyed the OceanGate Titan submersible, killing the five passengers on board.

The ‘experimental’ craft has been the subject of much speculation since going missing on 18 June, and after a large-scale search and rescue mission it was determined that the vessel suffered a huge implosion which would havealmost instantly killed anyone on board.

Those five people were OceanGate CEO and co-founder Stockton Rush, father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, British billionaire Hamish Harding, and French diving expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet.

Back in 2018, OceanGate filed a lawsuit against former employee David Lochridge, accusing him of leaking confidential material.

Lochridge put out a countersuit, claiming that he had been unfairly dismissed by the company after raising legitimate safety concerns about the craft.

The OceanGate Titan submersible suffered a 'catastrophic implosion'.
OceanGate/Becky Kagan Schott

In that legal document, some of the potential faults with the craft are outlined in detail.

The case was eventually dismissed in 2018 after settlement talks, but it provides a glimpse into the concerns of submersible safety expert Lochridge, as well as pointing to some possible conclusions around the fatal incident that destroyed the Titan.

Lochridge is described as having ‘extensive background as a submarine pilot and training of the same’ as well as being ‘trained to recognize flaw and points of failure in subsea equipment’.

After Lochridge moved his family to Washington from Scotland to work for OceanGate, he was asked by Rush to perform an inspection on the new craft.

The legal documents claim that Rush tasked Lochridge with the job because he was the ‘best man for the job’.

His eventual report found ‘numerous issues that posed serious safety concerns’ with the vessel.

Among those were the lack of non-destructive testing on the hull of the sub, with only an acoustic monitoring system used to detect ‘hull break down’ before the ‘submersible was about to fail’.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush.

The document states: “Lochridge again expressed concern that this was problematic because this type of acoustic analysis would only show when a component is about to fail - often milliseconds before an implosion - and would not detect any existing flaws prior to putting pressure onto the hull.”

It continued: “Non-destructive testing was critical to detect such potentially existing flaws in order to ensure a solid and safe product for the safety of the passengers and crew.”

Elsewhere in the report, it is noted that ‘the viewport at the forward of the submersible was only built to a certified pressure of 1,300 meters, although OceanGate intended to take passengers down to depths of 4,000 meters’.

The document states: “Lochridge learned that the viewport manufacturer would only certify to a depth of 1,300 meters due to the experimental design of the viewport supplied by OceanGate.”

What’s more, the report claims that the ‘paying passengers would not be aware, and would not be informed, of this experimental design, the lack of non-destructive testing on the hull, or that hazardous flammable materials were being used within the submersible’.

Concerns were raised about the Titan.
OceanGate/Becky Kagan Schott

Lochridge is also alleged to have told OceanGate to seek classification - independent safety inspection - to ‘ensure the safety of the experimental Titan’.

However, the company is said to have done ‘the exact opposite - they immediately fired Lochridge’.

He claimed that they gave him 10 minutes to clear his desk and get off site.

A full investigation into what happened leading to the destruction of the Titan has been ordered, with participants from the USA, Canada, UK, and France.

Their task is to establish final conclusions and recommendations by establishing the full facts relating to the disappearance and subsequent implosion, as well as learning whether civil or criminal proceedings will be pursued.

UNILAD has contacted OceanGate for a comment.

Topics: World News, Titanic