As the search for the missing Titan submersible becomes increasingly desperate, some of the world’s most advanced underwater search equipment has been deployed to search the depths of the Atlantic.
Two submersibles capable of descending to 20,000 feet below sea level are currently leading underwater searches, and more are on the way, Coast Guard chiefs said. The vehicles are being assisted by a fleet of specialized vessels that contain equipment that could help lift the Titan from the seabed – if it can be found.
But there is now less than 24 hours’ worth of oxygen left on the missing vessel, which went missing on Sunday morning with five passengers on board. The search area has now expanded to nearly 14,000 square miles – twice the size of the state of Connecticut.
The time pressure was compounded by the fact that underwater vehicles might be able to locate the Titan, which was heading for the wreck 12,500 feet below the surface, but the enormous task of retrieving it would require additional specialized equipment.
Hopes of a recovery were boosted slightly on Wednesday when a Canadian P-3 aircraft equipped with sonar detected a periodic ‘banging’ sound that experts believe came from the Titan’s crew. The Coast Guard chief coordinating the search said sounds were initially heard overnight and more were detected today.
As the search for the missing Titan submersible reaches its desperate finale, the world’s most advanced underwater search equipment has been deployed to search the depths of the Atlantic.
Oceangate’s Titan submersible went missing Sunday morning shortly after leaving for the wreck of the Titanic and is running low on oxygen.
‘Banging’ is heard focusing on search
Coast Guard Chief Jamie Frederick said the knocking sound was cause for ‘hope’
U.S. Coast Guard response coordinator Jamie Frederick said Wednesday that the sonar-equipped plane picked up a deep rumble.
He said they detected repeated sounds, raising hopes that the five crew members trapped inside the Titan were alive and trying to communicate with searchers.
‘To be frank with you, we don’t know what the noises are… they are described as banging noises but they are inconclusive,’ he said.
‘The good news is that we are searching the area where the noise was heard.’
The sounds that were heard are now being analyzed by a team of Navy experts.
Frederick also cautioned against citing Oceangate’s 96-hour oxygen limit, which he said was ‘one data point’ among many, and revealed that the crew had ‘limited’ rations of food and water.
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The P-3 is one of several models of aircraft that scours the ocean surface and helps search using sonar equipment for signs of activity on the seabed.
A number of military and commercial vessels are also on site when Titan is found, providing a mix of search capabilities, communications equipment and rescue equipment.
In the end, it’s up to the submersible to keep an eye on the Titan if it remains at the bottom of the ocean – or if it’s trapped in the wreckage of the Titanic.
Sean Litt, co-founder of Horizon Maritime Services, the company that owns Titan’s mothership Polar Prince, said on Wednesday that he had ‘never seen nature’s equipment move so fast’.
Here, Newstimesuk.com looks at some of the tools involved in search.
The Odysseus 6k is a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that can submerge to a depth of 20,000ft (6,000m).
Operated by California-based Pelagic Research Services, the vehicle is equipped with two hydraulic arms. The ROV can also be equipped with a ‘lifting fixture’, although it is not designed to lift anything as heavy as the 21,000 lb Titan.
The PRS is said to have sent Odysseus with a crew of workers to handle it. The submersible was launched from Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Monday.
Described as ‘easily transportable, highly capable and extremely affordable’, the Odysseus is 98 inches long, 88 inches high and weighs 5,550 pounds.
It has four forward thrusters and three additional thrusters for vertical movement.
Odysseus has a 4K camera and several other cameras and lighting tools for observation and recording.
The Victor 6000 is a French unmanned ROV deployed by the L’Atalante vessel and can reach depths of 20,000 feet.
The Victor 6000 is a French unmanned ROV deployed by the L’Atalante vessel and can reach depths of 20,000 feet. It is similar to Odysseus 6K in shape and design.
Victor was first deployed in 2001 and can dive for more than 28 hours at a time.
The submarine carries the Atlante, a French vessel currently located near the location of the Titan’s dive site.
Victor 6000 is connected to the ship via an electromechanical cable that is 26,250 feet long and provides 20 kW of power.
Optical fibers within the cable send a stream of data and images to the surface, allowing it to be driven from the ship in real time – with no limit to the duration of a drive.
Nautilus is a French submersible that can carry a crew of up to three. Launched in 1984, it has made several previous trips to the wreck of the Titanic.
It has also been deployed by L’Atalante – although it has not been confirmed as part of the mission.
Like other submersibles engaged in the search for Titan, Nautilus can reach depths of 20,000 feet.
But it is primarily an observation craft and is fitted with several floodlights along with still-imaging and video cameras. The Nautilus is equipped with robotic arms, although these are not capable of salvaging other ships.
That means Nautile can help with search but not recovery.
Nautile was deployed by the French research vessel L’Atalante, which joined the Titan rescue effort. It can stay underwater for eight hours at a time.
Like other submersibles engaged in the search for Titan, the Nautilus can reach depths of 20,000 feet.
Nautile was deployed by the French research vessel L’Atalante, which joined the Titan rescue effort. It can stay underwater for eight hours at a time
Flyway deep ocean rescue system
The US Navy deployed its Flyway Deep Ocean Salvage System (FADOSS), a portable ship lifting system that can lift loads of up to 60,000 pounds from the ocean floor.
It was previously used to recover a crashed helicopter from a depth of 19,075 feet under the sea.
FADOSS’s lift capacity means it could prove an important tool when Titan is discovered.
A large fleet of ships, both military and commercial, is now gathered around the site where the Titan went, providing a variety of advanced equipment to aid in the search.
On Wednesday morning, eight other ships, including several from the Canadian Coast Guard and another from the country’s navy, docked at the site.
L’Atalante is a French ship capable of deploying submarines that can reach depths of 20,000 feet.
This image, shared by the US Coast Guard, is the first from the search site, about 900 miles off the US coast. It shows Deep Energy – a pipe-laying ship that has joined the hunt
Titan’s mothership, Polar Prince, remains in the part of the Atlantic where the missing submersible was launched. Its crew and passengers are also involved in assisting the search efforts.
The French research vessel L’Atalante – which launched the Victor 6000 – was near the area at noon ET on Wednesday, according to Marinetraffic. The ship carries 30 technicians and scientists.
Another ship, Deep Energy, has recently arrived and can deploy remotely operated subs to dive underwater and try to find Titan.
So far, they haven’t been able to locate any trace of it or where the hit came from.
Other ships, including HMCS Glace Bay and Canadian CGS John Cabot, are equipped for search and rescue missions and feature sonar capabilities and mobile decompression chambers.
Although exploration of Titan has been focused on depths up to 2.5 miles below the ocean surface, aircraft have played a key role in the operation.
A Canadian P-3 detected the ‘banging’ sound that became the focus of the search. The maritime surveillance aircraft is designed to track military submarines and pick up ‘water noises’ that the teams hope are coming from the Titan.
A Canadian P-3 detected the ‘banging’ sound that became the focus of the search. A stock photo shows a P-3 aircraft
The P-8 Poseidon, manufactured by Boeing, is typically used for maritime patrol and reconnaissance. It is capable of anti-submarine warfare. A collection of photographs
Four C-130 Hercules aircraft have also been deployed. They are transport aircraft that can be adapted for scientific research, maritime patrol and reconnaissance duties. A collection of photographs
They hypothesize that five crew members are periodically striking the interior of the submersible in the hope that their signals will be picked up by sensitive detection equipment.
Four C-130 Hercules aircraft have also been deployed. They are transport aircraft that can be adapted for scientific research, maritime patrol and reconnaissance duties.
A P-8 Poseidon, and similar CP-140 Aurora are also involved. The Poseidon, made by Boeing, is typically used for maritime patrol and reconnaissance. It is capable of anti-submarine warfare.
Poseidon can drop sonobuoys, which have also been used in search.
Who is in the rescue fleet?
Vessels known to be either en route or already on site are:
The Polar Prince
The horizon is arctic
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