The support ship that launched the doomed Titan submersible has returned to port in Canada, following the implosion during a dive to the Titanic wreckage.
The Polar Prince arrived in St John’s Harbor, Newfoundland, on Saturday morning, June 24, docking at about 8.15am local time.
Crew members in orange hard hats were seen on the deck of the vessel, which returned to port with five fewer souls aboard than the 24 it departed with eight days earlier.
The ship had taken part in a massive search effort for the Titan about 435 miles south of St John’s, which came to an end on Thursday with the confirmation the sub had imploded deep underwater, likely after it launched on Sunday.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has announced it would be conducting a safety investigation into the fatal implosion of the deep sea vessel.
The Polar Prince is a decommissioned Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker now owned by Miawpukek Horizon Maritime Service Ltd, and chartered by extreme tourism company OceanGate as a support vessel for the Titan’s fatal dive.
OceanGate founder and CEO Stockton Rush was killed aboard the company’s submersible, along with passengers Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, British adventurer Hamish Harding, and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
Two Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) vessels that took part in the search effort also returned to St John’s harbor on Friday evening, with one remaining on-site at the scene of the disaster.
In a statement issued before their ships arrived at the port, the CCG said: ‘The Canadian Coast Guard offers our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the crew of the Titan for their tragic loss.
‘Search and rescue operations have concluded.’
Now authorities from the US and Canada have begun the process of investigating the cause of the Titan’s fatal implosion.
The US Coast Guard said on Friday that a formal inquiry has not yet been launched, because maritime agencies are still busy searching the area where the vessel was destroyed.
Debris was located about 12,500 feet underwater, several hundred feet away from the Titanic wreckage it was on its way to explore.