They knew they wouldn’t pass – Titanic director James Cameron accuses OceanGate of cutting corners

Hollywood film director James Cameron, who directed the 1997 movie Titanic, has told the BBC the team who built the submersible which imploded with the loss of five lives had “cut corners”.

OceanGate, the parent company of the Titan sub, “didn’t get certified because they knew they wouldn’t pass”.

“I’ve suspect the technology that they were using. I wouldn’t have gotten in that sub,” he said.

Cameron has completed 33 submersible dives to the Titanic wreck.

Titan was built from carbon fibre and titanium.

In 2012 Cameron used a different technology for the Deepsea Challenger submersible expedition in the Pacific, which took him down to 10,912m (35,800ft), the deepest known oceanic trench.

The Titanic wreck is 3,810m (12,500ft) down.

Cameron said that when he learned the sub had lost both its navigation and communication at the same time he immediately suspected a disaster.

“I felt in my bones what had happened. For the sub’s electronics to fail and its communication system to fail, and its tracking transponder to fail simultaneously – sub’s gone.”

In a blog post about it in 2019, the company said the way that Titan had been designed fell outside the accepted system – but it “does not mean that OceanGate does not meet standards where they apply”.

It added that the classification agencies “slowed down innovation… bringing an outside entity up to speed on every innovation before it is put into real-world testing is anathema to rapid innovation”.

Cameron told BBC News the past week had “felt like a prolonged and nightmarish charade where people are running around talking about banging noises and talking about oxygen and all this other stuff”.

“I knew that sub was sitting exactly underneath its last known depth and position. That’s exactly where they found it,” he continued.

He said anyone venturing to the Titanic wreck should be fully aware of the risks, as “it’s a very dangerous site”.

“Agree to those risks, but don’t be in a situation where you haven’t been told about the risks of the actual platform that you’re diving in there.

“In the 21st Century, there shouldn’t be any risks. We’ve managed to make it through 60 years, from 1960 until today, 63 years without a fatality… So, you know, one of the saddest aspects of this is how preventable it really was.”

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