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Waiver that OceanGate crew had to sign before going on Titanic expedition covers negligence
Featured Image Credit: Becky Kagan Schott/OceanGate/OceanGate Expeditions

Waiver that OceanGate crew had to sign before going on Titanic expedition covers negligence

The OceanGate Titan submersible is believed to have imploded in the Atlantic Ocean while diving to the wreck of the Titanic

The waiver signed by passengers on the OceanGate Titan submersible ahead of a mission down to the wreck site of the Titanic covered the company against lawsuits even caused by ‘negligence’.

TMZ reports that the waiver - which will have been signed by all passengers on board the Titan before the ill-fated mission that resulted in their death - also protects the US-based company against lawsuits concerning the ‘experimental’ nature of the craft, as well as the fact that it was not ‘approved or certified by any regulatory body’.

What’s more, the legal document states that the passenger is aware that the submersible might be ‘constructed of materials that have not been widely used in human occupied submersibles’.

The OceanGate Titan submersible.
Becky Kagan Schott/OceanGate

The US Coast Guard held a press conference yesterday (22 June) to announce that debris found during the massive search and rescue mission was from the craft, suggesting that a ‘catastrophic implosion’ took place at great depth and pressure.

That would leave little to no chance for anyone on board to have survived, meaning that the five - including OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush - are all dead.

The OceanGate waiver states: "I [the passenger] hereby assume full responsibility for the risk of bodily injury, disability, death, and property damage due to the negligence of [OceanGate] while involved in the operation.”

Elsewhere, it reads: "A portion of the operation will be conducted inside an experimental submersible vessel.

“The experimental submersible vessel has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body and may be constructed of materials that have not been widely used in human occupied submersibles.

"When diving below the ocean surface this vessel will be subject to extreme pressure, and any failure of the vessel while I am aboard could cause severe injury or death.

"If I choose to assist in the servicing or operation of the submersible vessel, I will be exposed to risks associated with high-pressure gases, pure oxygen servicing, high-voltage electrical systems and other dangers that could lead to property damage, injury, disability and death."

On the waiver, it is also written: "I understand the inherent risks in the activities that will be undertaken during the operation, and I hereby assume full responsibility for all risks of property damage, injury, disability, and death.

“I hereby agree to defend, indemnify, save, and hold harmless OceanGate Expeditions, Ltd. ... from any loss, liability, damage, or costs they may incur to due to any claim brought in violation of this Release."

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush.

While this waiver does seem to protect the company against exactly what appears to have happened, it doesn’t mean that the families will not be allowed to sue.

These things aren't always as ironclad as they might seem.

Judges can reject such waivers if there is evidence of hazards that weren’t properly or fully disclosed or evidence of gross negligence.

It is not clear whether any of the families will choose to sue or not.

The passengers, father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, British billionaire Hamish Harding, and French diving expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet, are believed to have paid as much as $250,000 for their spot on the eight-day expedition which included the trip to the Titanic wreck site in the Titan.

OceanGate announced the news that it believed all passengers to be lost just before the US Coast Guard announcement was made.

Topics: World News, Titanic