Past comments have resurfaced from the CEO and founder of OceanGate Expeditions, Stockton Rush, indicating he didn’t want to employ “50-year-old white guys” on his deep-sea exploration teams. Rush instead claimed he was seeking younger team members with diverse backgrounds, even if they were less experienced than the middle-aged “white guys.”
Since the submersible became lost on its expedition, many have criticized the safety and integrity OceanGate’s expeditions. In a meeting with representatives of Teledyne Marine, a company that produced the sonar systems and other navigational devices used onboard the submarine, Rush maintained his desire to seek out younger job candidates.
“When I started the business, one of the things you’ll find, there are other sub operators out there, but they typically have gentlemen who are ex-military sub-mariners, and they — you’ll see a whole bunch of 50-year-old white guys,” he told the representatives from Teledyne Marine.
The CEO further explained how having a younger team would be “inspirational.” He continued, “I wanted our team to be younger, to be inspirational. And I’m not going to inspire a 16-year-old to go pursue marine technology, but a 25-year-old who’s a sub pilot or a platform operator, one of our techs, can be inspirational. So we’ve really tried to get very intelligent, motivated, younger individuals involved because we’re doing things that are completely new.”
Rush also said, “We can train people to do that; we can train someone to pilot the sub. We use like game controller so anybody can drive the sub.” Critics of the vessel used on this expedition have pointed out that the OceanGate submarine is operated by a cheap video game controller that can be purchased on Amazon for $30. Some have found it odd that a quarter-million-dollar per person expedition would be operated by such a cheap device. However, it is noted that the U.S. Navy now equips some of its newest submarines with an Xbox 360 controller.
However, former U.S. Navy contractor Aaron Amick slammed OceanGate for seeking out younger, less-qualified candidates. “You don’t want to only hire young college graduates that you would then train to inspire the next generation,” he said. Amick emphasized the team’s need for subject matter experts, stating, “You have to have subject matter experts at some point in the chain. And I’m not talking about the vice-admiral that’s on the board of directors … but you don’t seem to have a subject matter expert that’s from the submarine community, that could maybe talk about some of the problems.”
The OceanGate CEO is onboard the missing submarine along with several other wealthy clients. The patrons of the Titanic submersible include Hamish Harding, an explorer who previously circumnavigated the Earth, dived to the deepest point on Earth, and even traveled into space on the Blue Origin craft last year.
British businessman Shahzada Dawood, the vice chairman of Engro Corporation Limited, was also on the submarine alongside his son. Dawood is purported to be one of the wealthiest men in Pakistan. Another passenger is Paul-Henri Nargeolet, an expert on the Titanic and the director of Underwater Research at RMS Titanic Inc. Nargeolet has led six past dives to the Titanic. Watch some of the latest reporting on the submersible below.
Note: Featured image is screengrab from embedded video.
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