The company behind the ill-fated submersible designed to explore the depths of the sea covered itself from the perils of underwater exploration with a comprehensive liability waiver, and we have a copy.
The document — used on a trip from last summer — repeatedly mentions the risk of serious injury or death, and tells passengers they assume the risk without any recourse against the company.
OceanGate makes it clear … even if it’s negligent in the design or operation of the vessel, the passengers have no legal recourse. The document states, “I hereby assume full responsibility for the risk of bodily injury, disability, death, and property damage due to the negligence of [OceanGate] while involved in the operation.”
Here’s how robustly the company covered itself, telling passengers what they’re up against.
— “A portion of the operation will be conducted inside an experimental submersible vessel. The experimental submersible vessel has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body and may be constructed of materials that have not been widely used in human occupied submersibles.”
— “When diving below the ocean surface this vessel will be subject to extreme pressure, and any failure of the vessel while I am aboard could cause severe injury or death.”
— “If I choose to assist in the servicing or operation of the submersible vessel, I will be exposed to risks associated with high-pressure gases, pure oxygen servicing, high-voltage electrical systems and other dangers that could lead to property damage, injury, disability and death.”
And then comes the waiver … “I understand the inherent risks in the activities that will be undertaken during the operation, and I hereby assume full responsibility for all risks of property damage, injury, disability, and death …. I hereby agree to defend, indemnify, save, and hold harmless OceanGate Expeditions, Ltd. … from any loss, liability, damage, or costs they may incur to due to any claim brought in violation of this Release.”
As you know, the 5 passengers onboard the Titan vessel were declared dead, after the craft apparently imploded deep below the surface of the ocean.