The company that owned the missing submarine fired a manager who questioned its safety

According to court documents dating back to 2018, the former director of marine operations for the American owner company for the lost tourist submarine He had raised concerns about her safety before he was fired.

David Lockridge’s concerns about the safety of the missing submarine “Titan” were mentioned in his response to a lawsuit filed against him by the submarine’s owner, Oceangate.

Search teams led by the United States, with the help of Canada and France, on Tuesday, continue their race against time to find the submarine, which disappeared near the wreckage of the “Titanic” ship at a depth of about four thousand meters below the surface of the water in the North Atlantic Ocean, with five people on board.

Lockridge, a Scottish diving and submarine commanding expert, began working at Oceangate in May 2015 as a contractor before being promoted to the company’s director of marine operations, according to the lawsuit documents.

In a lawsuit filed against him five years ago, Oceangate accused Lockridge of violating a non-disclosure agreement.
But in a counterclaim, Lockridge said he was fired from Oceangate in January 2018 after he raised “serious safety concerns about Oceangate’s untested Titan experimental design.”

The lawsuit papers said Lockridge initially “orally expressed to Oceangate executive management his concerns about safety and quality control issues with respect to Titan,” but was ignored. It added that Lockridge was concerned about “Oceangate’s refusal to conduct critical tests of the experimental hull design” of the submarine.

Lockridge warned that passengers on Titan could be in danger if the submarine reaches extreme depths.

In his lawsuit, Lockridge explained that the sight port on the forward end of the submarine was designed to withstand pressure at a depth of only 1,300 metres, even though Ocean Gate had planned to carry tourists to depths of about 4,000 metres.

The documents indicated that “Ocean Gate refused to pay the cost of building a vision port that meets the required depth, which is 4,000 meters, for the manufacturing company.”
Instead of considering Lockridge’s concerns, subjecting the submarine to corrective action, or hiring a rating agency that grants a license to Titan, Ocean Gate did the exact opposite and expelled Lockridge immediately.

A settlement between Oceangate and Lockridge was reached out of court in October 2018, according to Insider and The New Republic, which were the first to make public the lawsuit documents.

Stockton Rush, CEO of Oceangate, is one of five people on board.

In addition to Lockridge’s safety concerns, the New York Times on Tuesday published a March 2018 letter from the Marine Technology Association to Rush in which members of the group express “unanimous concern” about Titan.

“We feared that the current empirical approach adopted by Oceangate could lead to negative outcomes (from mild to catastrophic) and could have devastating consequences for everyone in the sector,” the letter said.

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