Why Owner of Lost Sub Didn’t Hire Ex-Military ’50 Year Old White Guys’ for Titanic Tours


The CEO of OceanGate, currently trapped on a 22-foot submersible during an ill-fated expedition to witness the Titanic wreck, previously discussed his decision not to hire “50-year-old white guys” with military backgrounds to captain his vessels.

According to Stockton Rush, 61, he sought individuals who were more “inspirational” and believed that anyone could operate the sub with a $30 video game controller.

In a recently resurfaced Zoom interview with Teledyne Marine, the undated conversation sheds light on Rush’s perspective. He expressed his desire for a younger and more inspirational team, stating, “When I started the business, one of the things you’ll find, there are other sub-operators out there, but they typically have, uh, gentlemen who are ex-military submariners, and they — you’ll see a whole bunch of 50-year-old white guys.”

Rush further explained, “I wanted our team to be younger, to be inspirational and I’m not going to inspire a 16-year-old to go pursue marine technology, but a 25-year-old, uh, you know, who’s a sub pilot or a platform operator or one of our techs can be inspirational. So we’ve really tried to get, um, very intelligent, motivated, younger individuals involved because we’re doing things that are completely new.”

OceanGate, based in Everett, Washington, has previously conducted two trips to explore the 1912 wreckage of the supposedly “unsinkable” Titanic.

The ship rests approximately 12,500 feet underwater in the Atlantic, about 370 miles off the Canadian coast.

During the current expedition, Rush, serving as both founder and CEO, operates the missing Titan submersible using an inexpensive video game joystick purchased from Amazon.

He, along with four paying adventurers who each spent $250,000 for the tour, have been marooned since Sunday.

The Coast Guard has initiated a frantic rescue operation to locate the submersible but sadly, the stranded team have approximately now run out of their oxygen supply.

In a previous Titanic expedition organized by OceanGate, the team encountered a similar ordeal when they lost their way for several hours due to the absence of GPS functionality underwater. CBS News correspondent David Pogue, who accompanied the team on the journey, revealed this harrowing experience. The company faced criticism for delaying the alert to authorities about the missing vessel for eight hours after losing communication with the Titan on Sunday. The entire planned journey to the shipwreck was supposed to take only 10 hours.

Rush had previously emphasized the adoption of aerospace industry approaches for safety and risk assessments. He explained that their training methods focused on aviation-related checklists and procedures rather than ocean-related ones. Rush mentioned, “We can train someone to pilot the sub, we use a game controller, um, so anybody can drive the sub.”


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