The tragic disappearance of five passengers aboard the Titan, a 22-foot submersible on its way to the Titanic wreckage, has captured the nation’s attention for the past five days. The focus has turned to whether OceanGate Expeditions could face criminal charges for the deaths of the Titan passengers, including their CEO.
In a press conference today, the United States Coast Guard confirmed that debris found near the Titanic belonged to the ill-fated Titan.
OceanGate, the company that owned the submersible, released a statement announcing the tragic loss of all five passengers. The statement expressed deep grief over the incident, acknowledging its toll on their dedicated employees, PEOPLE reported.
The Coast Guard revealed that an ROV discovered the debris, which was located 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic wreckage on the seafloor. They stated that the debris field indicated a catastrophic implosion of the vessel, leaving no chance of survival.
Will OceanGate Face Criminal Charges?
As questions swirl regarding the disappearance and loss of lives, the focus has turned to whether OceanGate Expeditions could face criminal charges for the deaths of the Titan passengers, including their CEO.
CBS journalist David Pogue, who had dived on the Titan last summer, revealed that he had to sign a waiver that made it clear about the potential risks involved.
However, legal expert Neama Rahmani explains that such a waiver cannot protect the OceanGate Expeditions from criminal action in gross negligence cases.
Rahmani emphasizes that while known risks can be waived, anything beyond simple negligence cannot. He suggests that if the OceanGate Expeditions disregarded safety precautions, ignored warnings, and failed to adhere to industry standards or protocols, they could be held criminally responsible.
Rahmani believes that a civil lawsuit is highly likely, but the possibility of criminal prosecution also exists, given the high-profile nature of the case.
However, the involvement of OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush presumed dead after the submersible’s implosion, may complicate potential criminal charges. Rahmani asserts that gathering more information is necessary to determine the specific tasks the company could face.
The legal expert highlights the importance of understanding the actions taken by the OceanGate Expeditions to ensure the safety of the vessel. If they disregarded warnings or neglected employee and regulatory advice, it could lead to further scrutiny through civil lawsuits, criminal subpoenas, or search warrants.
Rahmani stresses that cases involving the death of billionaires receive significant attention, and if there is evidence to support manslaughter charges, individuals responsible could face prosecution.
Ultimately, the possibility of criminal charges against OceanGate depends on the company’s conduct and the information uncovered during the investigation.