Coast Guard holds press briefing for missing submersible 900 miles east of Cape Cod Sunday, June 19, 2023

Still image from video by Petty Officer 3rd Class Briana Carter, U.S. Coast Guard District 1


Staff report

Boston, MA – June 19, 2023

Rear Adm. John Mauger, commander of the First Coast Guard District, delivered a press briefing in Boston, Massachusetts, today regarding the ongoing search for a 21-foot submersible. The Coast Guard is searching for five individuals after the Canadian research vessel Polar Prince lost contact with their submersible during a dive, approximately 900 miles east of Cape Cod on Sunday morning.

“I don’t have any details on how often folks visit the wreck site there at Titanic nor any specific comments on the dangers involved. Certainly, every time ships go to sea they encounter hazards and dangers and so having properly prepared vessels, properly prepared crew members, and making sure that you practice emergency procedures. Good practical advice for anybody that goes to sea,” said Mauger.

During the briefing, Rear Adm. Mauger expressed the Coast Guard’s commitment to locating and rescuing the individuals on board the submersible. Multiple assets have been deployed, including a surface search using aerial and surface vessels, as well as an aerial search with AC-130 aircraft. Additional resources from the Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Armed Forces have been coordinated to assist in the search efforts.

The search location is situated in a remote area approximately 900 miles east of Cape Cod, with water depths reaching 13,000 feet, presenting challenges to the operation. However, all available assets are being deployed to locate the submarine and ensure the safety of the crew members.

Rear Adm. Mauger mentioned that commercial operators often play a crucial role in being the first vessels on the scene, and efforts are being made to contact and coordinate with them. He also acknowledged the complexity of the search due to the submarine being a submersible vessel, requiring searches both on the surface and in the water column using sonar buoys.

The Rear Admiral stated that additional capabilities and resources are expected to arrive at the scene over the next couple of days. He emphasized that the Coast Guard is working closely with national and international partners, including the US Navy, Canadian Armed Forces, and private industry, to provide the necessary support for the search and rescue operation.

During the question-and-answer session, Rear Adm. Mauger addressed inquiries about the potential rescue timeline and the square mileage of the search area. He mentioned that the operator indicated the vessel had a 96-hour sustainment capability in case of an emergency. However, he did not confirm the identity of the individuals on board out of respect for their families.

When asked about the possibility of deploying underwater rescue vehicles, Rear Adm. Mauger explained that the focus currently remains on locating the vessel. However, plans are being developed to coordinate with various partners to assess underwater rescue capabilities if the vessel is found submerged.

The Rear Admiral also expressed the Coast Guard’s dedication to the search and rescue mission and emphasized that the crew members’ families are in their thoughts. He assured that every effort is being made to locate their loved ones and bring them back safely.

The briefing concluded with Rear Adm. Mauger thanking the attendees for their time and attention.

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