Get All Access for $5/mo

'Titanic' Director and Diving Expert James Cameron Says OceanGate Catastrophe Was 'Preventable' The renowned Hollywood director is also a deep sea diving enthusiast and has been to the Titanic wreckage site 33 times.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

James Croucher | Getty Images
James Cameron in 2018.

Academy Award-winning director of Titanic, James Cameron, is giving his thoughts to several media outlets in the wake of the OceanGate Titan tragedy.

After four days of searching for the submersible that lost contact an hour and forty-five minutes into its journey, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that debris discovered near the search area was consistent with a "catastrophic implosion," resulting in the tragic loss of the five passengers on board.

Related: OceanGate's Five Missing Passengers 'Have Sadly Been Lost,' Company Says

During interviews with several outlets following the tragedy, Cameron says OceanGate failed to heed warnings.

In 2018, industry experts sent a letter to OceanGate's CEO, Stockton Rush (who was one of the five onboard the Titan), calling for the company to reconsider its decision to opt out of the traditional assessment and certification of its submersibles.

"Our apprehension is that the current 'experimental approach' adopted by OceanGate could result in negative outcomes (from minor to catastrophic) that would have serious consequences for everyone in the industry," the letter, obtained by The New York Times, states.

"One of the saddest aspects of this is how preventable it really was," Cameron told the BBC.

Cameron is an experienced diver and deep sea exploration enthusiast — he's been down to the Titanic wreckage site 33 times and is very much involved in the deepsea diving community.

"Many people in the community were very concerned about this sub," Cameron told ABC News, saying that several "top players" in the deep sea engineering circuit were concerned that OceanGate's Titan was "too experimental" and should be certified before taking passengers down to such extreme depths of the sea.

The director and diver added to BBC that he believes OceanGate "cut corners," which led to the catastrophe that resulted in the fatalities of five passengers. "[OceanGate] didn't get certified because they knew they wouldn't pass," he told the outlet.

Cameron also has a personal connection to the Titan tragedy, having known one of the passengers lost on the submersible, Paul-Henri "P.H." Nargeolet.

"P.H., the French legendary submersible dive pilot, was a friend of mine. It's a very small community, I've known P.H. for 25 years," Cameron told ABC. "For him to have died tragically in this way is almost impossible for me to process."

In 2018, OceanGate's former director of marine operations, David Lochridge, raised concerns about the Titan, saying it needed more testing because of the "potential dangers to passengers," the NYT reported. Following his warnings, Lochridge was fired, and he later sued the company for wrongful termination, which was settled in late 2018.

In the court documents, Lochridge states that after stressing the Titan be inspected and certified by an agency, OceanGate was "unwilling to pay" for the assessment.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.

Business News

Sony Pictures Entertainment Purchases Struggling, Cult-Favorite Movie Theater Chain

Alamo Drafthouse originally emerged from bankruptcy in June 2021.

Marketing

Are Your Business's Local Listings Accurate and Up-to-Date? Here Are the Consequences You Could Face If Not.

Why accurate local listings are crucial for business success — and how to avoid the pitfalls of outdated information.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Money & Finance

Day Traders Often Ignore This One Topic At Their Peril

Boring things — like taxes — can sometimes be highly profitable.

Productivity

Want to Be More Productive Than Ever? Treat Your Personal Life Like a Work Project.

It pays to emphasize efficiency and efficacy when managing personal time.