OceanGate’s risky business model did not go unnoticed by others in the deep sea tourism industry. A number of big names—in particular, blockbuster movie director and deep sea explorer James Cameron—have come forward to claim that the aquatic tourism industry had repeatedly communicated to OceanGate and its CEO that they needed to take safety more seriously. “We now have another wreck that is based on, unfortunately, the same principles of not heeding warnings,” Cameron recently said, adding, in a different interview that “many people in the community were very concerned about this sub” and had warned OceanGate about it.
As example, in a 2018 email to the now deceased Rush, deep sea industry expert Rob McCallum told him: “I think you are potentially placing yourself and your clients in a dangerous dynamic…In your race to Titanic you are mirroring that famous catch cry: ‘She is unsinkable’”. McCallum urged Rush to quit using the Titan until an independent body could certify it and deem it safe.
Again, Rush reportedly dismissed such safety concerns, responding to McCallum: “We have heard the baseless cries of ‘you are going to kill someone’ way too often,” he wrote. “I take this as a serious personal insult.”
That same year, a number of industry experts (including McCallum) sent a letter to Rush communicating similar safety concerns.