SEBASTIAN – For the first time in 14 years, the Titanic wreck has been visited by a human occupied vehicle, and the vehicle was built in Sebastian.
Triton Submarines of Sebastian is the most experienced civil submarine producer in the world. Their operations team members have logged over 25,000 dives.
The Triton 36,000/2 (named Limiting Factor) full ocean depth capable manned submersible reached the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean (3,810 meters/12,500 feet) in an early August expedition.
The last human occupied submersible dive to the Titanic was in 2005.
An exploration team from Triton Submarines completed five dives to the Titanic wreck over eight days, at the Titanic’s final resting place 370 miles south of Newfoundland.
Triton president and co-founder Patrick Lahey piloted three of the five dives.
“The most fascinating aspect was seeing how the Titanic is being consumed by the ocean and returning to its elemental form while providing refuge for a remarkably diverse number of animals,” said Mr. Lahey.
Lying almost 4,000 meters beneath the surface in bitterly cold 1°C water, the wreck has become vulnerable from sweeping eddies and subjected to ever-changing sea currents. Salt corrosion, metal-eating bacteria and deep current action are having the greatest impact on the wreck.
Other Triton crew members on site for the RMS Titanic dives were Tom Blades, Kelvin Magee, Frank Lombardo, Steve Chapelle, Tim McDonald, Shane Eigler, and Colin Wollerman.
While on the site, the team laid a wreath and held a ceremony in honor of those who lost their lives on that fateful night in 1912.
Under the observation of an on-board NOAA representative, the team of experts and scientists examined the remains of the ship, capturing for the first time native 4K footage using specially adapted cameras to show the wreck in a way it’s never been seen before.
Using submersible camera systems, the team performed dedicated photogrammetric passes on the wreck, allowing highly accurate 3D models of the Titanic to be produced. These will help assess the wreck’s current condition and project its future, as well as making it possible to visualize the wreck using augmented reality and virtual reality technology.
The scientists will publish the full results along with a documentary film.
“We are so pleased that we were able to repeatedly take the Limiting Factor down to the most historic ship lying on the ocean floor,” said Victor Vescovo, CEO of Caladan Oceanic and the submersible’s chief pilot. “Our success on Titanic clearly demonstrates we now have a proven system that can easily and repeatedly visit any ocean wreck, at any depth, anywhere in the world, and study it in detail. We’re seriously thinking about where to take her next.”
For more information, visit www.tritonsubs.com.