Oceangate, the company that operated the submersible that was torn apart while diving into the wreckage of the Titanic, has announced the suspension of all its operations.
“OceanGate has suspended all exploration and commercial operations,” the company said on its official website on Thursday.
All five passengers on board, including British explorer Hamish Harding, French submarine expert Paul-Henri Nargiolet, and Pakistani-British tycoon Prince Dawood and his son Sulaiman, were pronounced dead after the explosion.
The Titan submarine was reported missing on June 18 and the US Coast Guard said on June 22 that the ship had suffered a massive explosion, ending a rescue operation that enthralled the world.
The company’s CEO, Stockton Rush, was also among the dead.
Experts recovered presumed human remains from the sub’s wreckage found on the ocean floor last week and moved them to the port of St. John’s, Newfoundland, in eastern Canada.
It is believed that when the Titan, the size of an SUV car, exploded under the enormous pressure of the North Atlantic at a depth of over two miles (about four kilometres), the victims died instantly.
A wreckage field was found 1,600 feet (500 m) from the bow of the Titanic, 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.
Oceangate Expeditions charged $250,000 for a seat on its sub, but previous concerns over its safety policies came to the fore after the explosion.
The US Coast Guard and Canadian authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the tragedy, which occurred after the Titan lost contact about an hour and 45 minutes after it plunged into the sea.
The Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank in 1912 during its maiden voyage from England to New York with 2,224 passengers and crew on board. More than 1,500 people died.
It was found in 1985 and has become an attraction for marine experts and underwater tourists.
– with additional input from AFP