Investigators search the ship that carried the Titan submersible as authorities weigh a possible criminal investigation into the deadly implosion

A large white ship sailing in the ocean during sunset

Polar Prince, a support vessel for the submersible OceanGate Expeditions which was carrying five people to explore the wreck of the sunken Titanic, arrives at the port of St. John’s, following the news of the vehicle’s implosion, in Newfoundland, Canada June 24, 2023.David Hiscock/Reuters

  • The ship that carried the Titan submersible before it descended arrived back in Canada on Saturday.

  • Investigators boarded the Polar Prince and conducted interviews with those on board.

  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is determining if it should open a criminal investigation.

Canadian research ship the Polar Prince, which lost contact with the Titan submersible Sunday, returned to Newfoundland on Saturday with flags at half mast and was met by investigators with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The New York Times reported .

According to the Times, family members of the five people on the Titan who were onboard the ship, owned by private company Miawpukek Horizon Maritime Services, were interviewed by the TSBC. At the same time, law enforcement began interviewing crew members and passengers as part of its probe into whether or not it should launch a formal criminal investigation into the incident.

Investigators also collected information from the ship’s voyage data recorder, which can document information such as audio on the ship, TSBC chair Kathy Fox announced at a press conference.

International bodies like the TSBC and the US Coast Guard are looking into the lack of safety precautions that company OceanGate took when five people, including its CEO Stockton Rush, boarded its submersible on Sunday for a trip to the sunken RMS Titanic.

Officials say the submersible lost contact with the Polar Prince hours after it began its descent and most likely imploded, instantly killing the five men on board.

During a Saturday press conference near the ship, RCMP Superintendent Kent Osmond said, “There’s no suspicion of criminal activity per se” but law enforcement is not ruling it out.

Following the catastrophic failure, greater scrutiny was given by the media, dive experts, and investigators on the years of statements made by the company disregarding certifications and regulations before last week’s expedition.

And while Rush complained about the industry being “obscenely safe” his company faced a previous safety lawsuit from a former employee.

There were also stories of those who participated in previous dives raising safety concerns. A friend of Rush told the CEO after a 2019 dive on the Titan that he heard cracking noises he attributed to a “flaw/defect in one area” according to emails seen by CNN.

And on Friday, YouTuber Jake Koehler, who was on the submersible days before its final voyage Sunday, shared footage of Rush discussing issues with the sub’s control systems.

Guillermo Söhnlein, a co-founder of OceanGate, defended the company’s record, saying that ocean dives must come with some risk. However, experts have disputed this, saying the disaster was entirely preventable.

The RCMP and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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