Home Editorials Element of Hubris?

Element of Hubris?


In 1912 , the world’s most expensive and luxe ship ever built , The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg killing all the fifteen hundred people on board even as the band was playing and arrangements for the grand party on the deck were under way . The shipwreck has been a muse for many literary works and an iconic movie. The sinking of Ocean Gate , the submersible which went in search of the century old wreck is indeed tragic , and as the statement by the ships management said ‘ these men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans ‘. Those who met their watery grave included Stockton Rush ,the US navigator and  founder  of the Ocean Gate, the French oceanographer and leading Titanic expert Paul Henri Nargeolot, the British billionaire and adventurer Hamish

Harding and the father -son duo of business magnates  Shahzada and Suleman Dawood , the Pakistani origin British citizens .

The questions which are foremost in the minds of those who have followed the story include : should such high risk explorations be taken up without adequate regard to back -up safety measures ? Should not the Coast guards of US and Canada have been in direct touch with the communications apparatus on board the Ocean Gate? Is it just the spirit of adventure , or is there an element of hubris in trying to be the ‘first’ to cross newer thresholds and frontiers ? Should other explorers like Cameroon, the legendary director of Titanic (the movie) have publicly expressed their reservations about the dangers that were clearly visible to them , but ignored by the team which had built Ocean Gate ?

Even as there are no easy answers to these questions, it is clear that the human quest to transcend the natural barriers always carries a significant risk , and perhaps lessons  from this tragedy will help in making submersibles even more robust . This paper salutes their courage , even as it mourns their death and extends its condolences to the families and friends of these explorers .