Technology The wreck of the “Titanic” ‘, ​​a new tourist destination?

The wreck of the “Titanic” ‘, ​​a new tourist destination?

The wreck of the ” Titanic ”, photographed in 1985. (KEYSTONE PICTURES USA / MAXPPP)

We might as well warn you right away, we’re on a niche journey! The cost of the ticket to visit the wreck of the Titanic ? 125,000 dollars (105,700 euros). But for that price, you’ll embark on a boat for eight days from Newfoundland, Canada. Head for the North Atlantic, to international waters where since 1912 the wreck of the Titanic.

You will board the Titan, a small six-seater carbon fiber submarine with a very large, round porthole. Thanks to its electric thrusters, you will go down to 3 843 meters deep (at the speed of 55 meters per minute). You will even have the right to pilot the machine a little: its controls are inspired by the PlayStation, it’s very simple.

The dive to the most famous ship in the world takes about 8 hours.
These expeditions (six people each time, including the pilot), will take place between May and September and there will be six, no more. They are organized by an American company, OceanGate Expeditions, which is used to this kind of submarine trips: it has already taken some 300 people to sites in deep water off the Bahamas, from Seattle, in the canyon of the Hudson or the Atlantic Ocean.

What are we going to see? Not much, that’s kind of the problem! Even if the submarine is equipped with powerful searchlights, at this depth it is very dark, the water is almost black, polluted by a whole bunch of microorganisms. However, the organizers promise “sightings of slimy hagfish and possibly diving sharks“… The hull of the boat is also in very bad condition, eaten away by bacteria which should even make it disappear within a few years.

But it’s not just about sightseeing. Moreover, the passengers who have already applied have been subjected to a rather tight interview to verify their motivations. Of those who signed up for slots this summer, about half have also reserved seats in Richard Branson’s space project, Virgin Galactic (at $ 250,000). They are between 24 and 70 years old. Most are Americans, but there are also participants from Australia, UK and China. These trips are also scientific trips: it is about documenting the marine life around the wreck and creating a 3D model of the debris.

It must be said that the scientific argument also makes it possible to obtain the approval of the American and British authorities … Since the beginning of the year, a treaty has in fact given them full powers over the attribution of licenses granted to those who ask to enter the wreck, precisely to protect it from tourists and untimely explorers.

OceanGate Expeditions has already attempted two unsuccessful expeditions on the Titanic. In 2018, his submarine was struck by lightning, the electrical system was destroyed. Last year there was an issue with the “mother ship” supposed to carry the shipment and the material. This time will it be the right one? “People tend to think of a submarine as scary, says company boss Stockton Rush. But it’s a pressure vessel, you can lighten up in a lot of different ways and calmly come to the surface. It has been 35 years since there was a serious injury in a commercial submarine. It’s scary … but it’s very safe!

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