The French oceanographic ship Atalante with its underwater robot Victor 6000 arrived Thursday, according to the Ifremer institute, on the search area for the submarine Titan, reported missing during an attempt to visit the wreck of the Titanic.
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The Atalante, operated by the French Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer), “is currently using its multibeam sounder to have a finer mapping of the landscape and allow a more efficient Victor 6000 dive”.
“However, this sounder will not allow the submarine to be located”, still according to Ifremer. The Titan, missing since its dive on Sunday with five crew members to the wreck located at 3,800 meters deep, has a theoretical autonomy of 96 hours. Its oxygen reserves could be depleted quickly.
Listen to Alexandre Dubé’s interview with Sébastien Pelletier, president of the Technical Wreck Divers of Quebec organization, via QUB radio:
Submersible search operations and communication are the responsibility of the US Coast Guard, which is to hold a press briefing at 6:30 p.m. GMT on Thursday.
The Victor 6000 underwater robot is the only vehicle in the area capable of diving down to the wreck. It is remotely operated from the Atalante, via a cable which gives it theoretically unlimited autonomy.
This robot is the “main hope” for a possible rescue mission, British Antarctic Survey marine expert Rob Larter told a press conference on Thursday.
Victor 6000 has two articulated arms that can allow it to attach a cable to the Titan if necessary to hoist it to the surface, explained Alistair Greig, professor of marine engineering at University College London, during this conference. Press.
The robot also has a powerful lighting system that could help it locate the Titan in a completely dark environment.
Provided you know where to look, which does not yet seem to be the case, according to these experts.