OceanGate Co-Founder Hits Back At James Cameron Over Titanic Sub Criticism

OceanGate Co-Founder Hits Back At James Cameron Over Titanic Sub Criticism BBC | CNN

Guillermo Söhnlein, the co-founder of OceanGates Expeditions, has hit back at “Titanic” director James Cameron over his comments about the tragedy that befell the Titan submersible this week. The “catastrophic implosion” killed all five passengers including OceanGate CEO and Söhnlein’s colleague Stockton Rush. However, Söhnlein takes issue with Cameron’s insinuation that Titan wasn’t safe.

Cameron told CNN that Titan was “too experimental to carry passengers and it needed to be certified.” Indeed, OceanGate required passengers to sign lengthy releases waiving their right as well as their family’s right to sue the company in case of dismemberment or death, especially since Titan didn’t follow safety regulations and had no certifications in that regard.

“I think it was unconscionable that this group did not go through that rigorous process,” he said. He added that “warnings went unheeded” and that the tragedy reminded him of the actual Titanic in many ways.

“The captain was repeatedly warned about ice ahead of his ship and yet he steamed at full speed into an ice field on a moonless night and many people died as a result,” Cameron said. “To take place at the same exact site with all the diving that’s going on all around the world, I think it’s just astonishing. It’s really quite surreal.”

Guillermo Söhnlein thinks James Cameron doesn’t know what he’s talking about

However, Söhnlein has hit back at Cameron, basically saying he doesn’t know what he’s talking about since he’s not part of the company. “There are completely different opinions and views about how to do things, how to design submersibles, how to engineer them, build them, how to operate in the dives,” he told Times Radio.

Söhnlein added to BBC Radio 4’s Today: “This was a 14-year technology-developed program, and it was very robust and certainly led to successful scientific expositions to the Titanic in the last few years. I was involved in the early phases of the overall development program during our predecessor subs to Titan, and I know from firsthand experience that we were extremely committed to safety, and risk mitigation was a key part of the company culture.”

The hosts asked Söhnlein if the tragedy of what happened to Titan and its passengers made him realize the importance of safety regulations, but he was pretty unrelenting in his ignorance.

“It’s a matter of what happens when technology innovation outpaces regulations,” he said. “And oftentimes, the people developing the technology innovations are in a better position to understand the risks and figure out ways to best minimize them.”

Uh, how about no, sir? Your bull-headed CEO claimed that safety regulations stood in the way of his ingenuity and inventiveness… and look what happened. He killed himself and four other people. Safety regulations are in place because THEY KEEP PEOPLE SAFE.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill