A Sea Hawk helicopter lifts off for a search and rescue mission
Experts say that the OceanGate Titan submersible operation ended in a catastrophic implode. REUTERS

On June 22, it was revealed that the OceanGate Titan submersible operation ended in a catastrophic implode. The revelation came only 4 days after the submersible was reported missing.

The five tourists inside the submersible are thought to have died painlessly and immediately. Experts have also said that the five passengers would have passed without any knowledge of the implode.

In order to obtain a ticket for the submersible operation, the passengers each paid $250,000 – the equivalent of £195,000. Amongst the passengers was the 58-year-old billionaire Hamish Harding and the CEO of Ocean Gate Expeditions, Stockton Rush. The operation included an eight-day trip to the Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean, including dives at a depth of 12,500ft.

The OceanGate Titan submersible.

On June 19, several rescue missions and attempts set out to find the missing persons. Officials have revealed that government agencies in France, the US, Canadian navies and commercial deep-sea firms, collectively assisted with the rescue operation.

While the exact funding for the extensive rescue and search mission is yet to be revealed, some reports suggest that the cost will exceed $6.5 million.

Chris Boyer, the Executive Director of the National Association for Search and Rescue, told reporters that the combination of the fuel costs, the maintenance of the different vehicles involved, and the investment into personnel would have "probably cost millions".

It has also been predicted that the cost of the mission would be paid by the taxpayer.

Admiral Paul Zukunft, the former Leader of the US Coast Guard explained: "It's no different than if a private citizen goes out and his boat sinks. We go out and recover him. We don't stick them with the bill after the fact."

Last week, the ocean also took the lives of over 100 migrants who were travelling overseas. An overcrowded fishing boat, that carried between 400 and 700 people who were fleeing Lybia to Italy, capsized on Tuesday 13 June.

On 16 June, three days after the boat was spotted by the Greek Coast Guard, the UN Human Rights agency revealed that around five hundred people were still missing and that 104 people had been rescued.

It has been confirmed by the International Organisation for Migration, that 81 people have died – the toll is expected to increase.

@decolonisd speaks out against the contrasting response to the latest ocean disasters via Instagram.

A Human Rights Activist and Writer, Kenneth Roth, argued that there is a complete violation of human rights when the rescue mission for the OceanGate victims and the search mission for the migrant fishing boat disaster are compared.

Kenneth Roth tweeted: "Am I the only one struck by the enormous difference between the massive effort to save five people in the Titanic submersible and the Greek Coast Guard's pathetic effort to save hundreds of migrants from their obviously precarious boat just before it sank?"

In agreement with the Human Rights Activist, the Associate Director for Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia Division, Judith Sunderland, said that there is "a horrifying contrast".

Judith Sunderland also stated: "The willingness to allow certain people to die while every effort is made to save others ... it's a, you know, really dark reflection on humanity."

Members of the public have also acknowledged that the rescue mission for the OceanGate passengers dominated the front page of multiple news outlets and has taken the awareness off of the current refugee crisis.

For instance, in an Instagram post that recognised World Refugee Day, Artist Oliver Jeffers wrote: "While we are glued to the news about five mostly wealthy tourists lost on a submarine on their way to seek the wreckage of a sunken ship, today is World Refugee Day, and only last week a boat holding hundreds of refugees sank off the coast of Greece. Many (including children) lost their lives on that sinking ship while on their way to seek a safer existence."