Sub Veteran Details Titan’s Possible Catastrophic Design Failures In Viral Video
A decal on a piece of equipment which reads "Titan" is pictured near a trailer with the OceanGate logo at OceanGate Expedition's headqurters in the Port of Everett Boat Yard in Everett, Washington, on June 22, 2023. All five people aboard a submersible missing near the wreck of the Titanic died -- likely in an instant -- after their vessel suffered what the US Coast Guard said June 22, 2023 was a "catastrophic implosion" in the ocean depths.
Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

A veteran Navy sub technician and contractor released a video Tuesday that detailed what he called the “ridiculous and unsafe” design decisions of the Titan submersible. 

Aaron Amick has spent more than 20 years aboard U.S. Navy submarines, according to his LinkedIn profile. In the video, Amick analyzes every aspect of the vessel, from its launchpad to its control mechanisms, to discuss what most likely happened to the submersible during its final voyage. 

Amick has shared his knowledge of the technical aspects of submarines over the past four years on his YouTube channel “Sub Brief,” which has nearly 200,000 subscribers. His latest video “The Titan Tragedy” is nearing two million views.

Amick argues that the lack of ways to monitor and scrub the gases inside the vessel was “ridiculous and unsafe,” with the sub having no way to remove toxins without surfacing and unscrewing the 17 bolts that sealed the submersible.

“In all the displays that I see from their public website, there’s no indication of oxygen levels and other toxic gas levels like CO2 and carbon monoxide … you need to be aware of those levels.”

Scrubbing CO2 and other gases from the atmosphere of the submarine is a critical part of designing a sub, according to Amick. “Did they just keep pumping oxygen into the capsule so they could keep the CO2 and oxygen levels in a proper ratio?”

“If they were just adding oxygen to the environment, that creates a high-oxygen environment. What happens when you’re locked inside a capsule with a high oxygen environment and you’re operating electronics? Well, you burn up,” he said.

Amick also argues that OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, despite claiming that aviation technology inspired his sub designs, forgot a key lesson from the Apollo 1 disaster.

“Three astronauts lost their lives doing a systems check on the launch pad while they were bolted into their capsule,” Amick said. “There was a fire that started in there, and they were alive when the fire started, and they reported it to the control center, and said ‘Get us out of here, get us out of here!’ Before they could get the bolts off, the astronauts had passed away. This is a very important lesson learned that apparently, Stockton didn’t learn from or at least forgot, because he’s locking people into this submarine with no way for them to quickly get out themselves in the case of an emergency.”


Amick also suspects that the submersion depth of 4,000 meters advertised on the OceanGate website was probably most likely not properly tested and only tested theoretically with mathematical analysis, which although useful, could ultimately miss many crucial factors that manual tests would catch. 

If the advertised depth of 4,000 meters was indeed incorrect, Amick explains that the carbon fiber material that the sub as made out of would most likely have been “shattered,” with the sub being completely crushed by the high pressure of the deep sea.

This “construction defect” could have easily been a result of the “young, inexperienced technicians” that Rush desired. Rush said he wanted young college graduates, including surfers, rather than “50-year-old white guys” designing and constructing the submersible. Amick said, “You have to have subject matter experts at some point in the chain.”

Amick further critiques the controller used to pilot the submarine, explaining that the fact that it is a controller is not necessarily the issue, but the fact that it is wireless can lead to massive issues. “What happens if the batteries die? Do you have an extra set?” he asked. “Do you always put fresh batteries in on every dive? Did you bring extra batteries? Is there a USB port that in a pinch you could plug the controller into? Did you bring a spare and does that spare sync properly if the primary controller doesn’t work?”

Amick ends the video on a somber note, saying (before OceanGate announced the demise of the 5 passengers) that these design flaws most likely meant the death of the passengers and that he hopes that his video provides closure to the families of those lost in the submersible. 

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