triton submersibles

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A different Triton submersible

Triton to build submersible for Ohio businessman's mission to the Titanic

28 May 2024 • Written by Katia Damborsky

Submarine specialists Triton will build one of its 4000/2 models for Ohio-based real estate tycoon Larry Connor.  The project, called "The Explorer - Return to the Titanic," will take place in the summer of 2026.

Connor, who is also a NASA-certified astronaut, plans to visit the Titanic wreck in a bid to dispel some of the fears around deep sea diving in the wake of the Oceangate submersible disaster. In the weeks after the disaster, which killed five people after a catastrophic implosion in June last year, Connor voiced concerns about declining investment in deep ocean research and exploration. He hopes that the recently announced mission will prove that deep sea diving is safe as long as a fully certified submarine is used. 

The dive will be co-ordinated by Patrick Lahey, one of the world's most experienced divers and co-founder and CEO of Triton Submarines. He previously called the submersible involved in the Oceangate disaster "a monstrosity".  Speaking to BOAT, Lahey recalled imploring friend and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, who was killed in the incident, not to dive in the uncertified OceanGate submersible. "I tried to do everything I could to discourage him from going out there. I know many people that knew him did the same thing," he said. 

Read More/What happened to the submersible industry after the Titan disaster?
The doomed Oceangate submersible
Patrick Lahey

The model being built by Triton for 'Return to the Titanic' is the world's deepest-diving acrylic submarine, capable of reaching depths of 4,000 metres (the Titanic rests at 3,800 metres). 

The 4000/2 model has different cruise types that will enable it to resurface quickly when needed and operate in 'glide mode' to ensure it won't disturb delicate underwater ecosystems. Three-metre extending wings on either side of the submarine will be fitted with lights that allow for close-range inspection and filming. 

Inside the submarine used by Larry Connor and Patrick Lahey

Depth: Up to 13,123 ft / 4,000 metres
Crew: Pilot and passenger
Speed: Three knots
Endurance: Over 12 hours
Length:14.6 ft / 4.45 metres
Width: 9 ft / 2.75 metres
Height: 9.8 ft / 3 metres
Weight: 26,455 lb / 12,000 kg

Courtesy of Triton

Larry Connor is no stranger to deep-sea diving, having dived alongside adventurer Victor Vescovo in the Mariana Trench three times.  He then went on to pilot the first civilian flight to the International Space Station. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, he said: "I want to show people worldwide that while the ocean is extremely powerful, it can be wonderful and enjoyable and really kind of life-changing if you go about it the right way."

After the Titan Oceangate disaster, others have chimed in to echo their disappointment, including Titanic director James Cameron, who told BOAT: “I was very suspect of the technology [Oceangate was] using. They didn’t get certified because they knew they wouldn’t pass.”

Read More/Interview exclusive: Hollywood legend James Cameron on his love of the deep ocean

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