Ex-Employee Notified OceanGate Of Issues With Submersible's Safety But Was Fired - Court

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st June, 2023) OceanGate Expeditions was warned in 2018 by its then-marine operations director about issues with the quality control and safety of its Titan submersible, which has gone missing earlier this week on a dive to the Titanic shipwreck, but chose to fire David Lochridge rather than address his concerns, US court documents show.

OceanGate's 2018 suit against Lochridge over disclosing confidential company information and the ex-employee's countersuit over unlawful termination were published by the District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle.

"In response to the allegations contained in Paragraph 27 of the Complaint, Defendants admit that the company called a meeting on January 19, 2018, to discuss the safety concerns that David Lochridge documented in his January 18, 2018 OceanGate Cyclops 2 Quality Control Inspection Report," the document read.

The company "immediately fired Lochridge" after he suggested conducting "critical, non-destructive testing" of the experimental design of the hull. OceanGate refused to address "his concerns or undergo corrective action to rectify and ensure the safety of the experimental Titan," it said.

"Given the prevalent flaws in the previously tested 1/3 scaled model, and the visible flaws in the carbon end samples for the Titan, Lochridge again stressed the potential danger to passengers of the Titan as the submersible reached extreme depths," the document added.

OceanGate's submersible went missing in the Atlantic on Sunday with five people on board, including prominent businesspeople and scientists. Titan presumably had 96 hours worth of oxygen reserve when it dove to the wreck of the Titanic 900 miles east of Cape Cod at a depth of approximately 13,000 feet. A search and rescue operation has been underway since Monday morning.

Earlier on Wednesday, the US Coast Guard confirmed that a Canadian aircraft had detected underwater noises in the search area for Titan, which went missing in the Atlantic on Monday with five people on board.