Magellan Limited, a British underwater surveying company with an advanced vessel capable of locating and potentially rescuing the missing Titan submarine was reportedly “blocked by U.S. officials” earlier this week.
Bretton Hunchak, the former president of RMS Titanic, Inc., worked with Magellan in the past and told The Telegraph that U.S. officials initially refused an offer to use an advanced vessel capable of the rescue mission in favor of a New York-based vessel that could only explore 3,000 meters below the surface and was not adequately suited for the mission.
“We have British, French and US citizens on board and every minute here counts. This is not a rational decision, this is the only asset we have with a winch and the guys are experts in this area,” Hunchak said.
Hunchak questioned why both vessels could not be used at the same time during the attempted search and rescue mission for the OceanGate submarine. “The more help we can get, the better, and denying us means you are giving up on every option you have to save lives,” he said, adding, “These are irreplaceable human beings.”
When asked about the British vessel being blocked from assisting the rescue effort on Tuesday, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick said he was “not aware” of the reports.
“We know that there is equipment out there that can be brought to the scene,” he said. “The unified command is working through prioritizing what equipment we need and then how we get it there.”
In a statement on Magellan’s website, the British-based company stated that OceanGate had contacted the company early in the week, requesting help in the rescue effort. An updated post on the company’s website on Thursday showed that the British vessel had finally been mobilized to aid in the search for the Titan.
“OceanGate instructed us to mobilize and ‘use the means necessary to fly the needed equipment and crew to St. John’s, Newfoundland as soon as possible, stating time is of the essence,’” the statement said.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) blasted the U.S. government Thursday for “epic failure in leadership” regarding the loss of five lives on the Titan submarine. While he did not specify who was to blame for the “failure,” he criticized U.S. leadership for not moving faster to deploy all available assets to locate the missing submarine and its passengers. “The failure here is to not put all your options on the table,” he said.