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Triton to the Titanic! Sub firm co-founder plans epic dive

STORY BY JON PINE (Week of June 6, 2024)

Patrick Lahey, a co-founder of Triton Submarines in Sebastian, is planning to dive to the wreck of the RMS Titanic in a Triton submersible in a bid to restore confidence in deep sea exploration in the wake of the OceanGate disaster a year ago.

Lahey will be accompanied on the planned dive by Ohio billionaire and adventurer Larry Connor, who piloted the first all-private mission to the International Space Station in 2022.

Following the tragic implosion at the Titanic site last June of a submersible operated by the tourism company OceanGate, in which five people died, Lahey and Connor hope to prove to the world that, done properly and with the right submersible, deep sea dives can be carried out safely.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and four passengers perished when the titanium and carbon fiber pressure hull of their submersible imploded an hour and 45 minutes into the dive.

Lahey and Connor will make their dive in a $20 million two-person Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer submersible, built in Sebastian and designed to dive to 13,123 feet.

The Titanic rests 12,467 feet down in the North Atlantic Ocean about 370 nautical miles south-southeast of Newfoundland.

The ship’s bow and stern were separated during the sinking and are about 2,600 feet apart, with debris spread over an area of 15 square miles.

The Triton sub has an acrylic hull, unlike the composite hull of the OceanGate submersible. Triton’s submersibles are certified by third-party safety agencies, such as the American Bureau of Shipping and its European counterpart, the Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

The OceanGate sub was not.

“If you look at submersibles that have been DNV certified, there’s never been an accident,” Connor told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on May 31. “The OceanGate vessel was not certified and never would have been.”

The acrylic hull also provides a clear, near-panoramic view that is favored by underwater filmmakers and explorers alike.

Founded in 2008 in Vero Beach, Triton’s first personal sub was created in 2010 for billionaire Ray Dalio. Lahey and co-founder Bruce Jones moved the headquarters and manufacturing facility to Sebastian in 2019. Dalio and filmmaker James Cameron, who produced and directed “Titanic” in 1997, became investors and minority shareholders in 2022.

Triton subs have broken depth records in the Atlantic, Southern, Indian, Pacific, and Arctic oceans. Triton subs were the first to dive Sirena Deep (35,151 feet) and Molloy Deep (18,210 feet) and were the subs used by scientists who first documented the Giant Squid. And Triton was the first to create a submersible certified to “Unlimited Depth.”

Triton submersibles are not just for commercial clients. Wealthy yacht owners are also among Triton’s customers.