OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush boasted that he “broke some rules” to build the doomed Titanic submarine
Stockton Rush, CEO and founder of OceanGate Expeditions, once boasted about “breaking some rules” to build the submersible Titan, which imploded in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, killing him and four other passengers.
Rush made the fateful comments in a 2021 interview with Mexican travel blogger Alan Estrada.
“I think it was General MacArthur who said, ‘You’re remembered for the rules you break,'” he said in the video interview. “You know I broke some rules to do this [the Titan]. I think I broke them with logic and good engineering.”
One of those rules he allegedly broke was the use of carbon fiber and titanium as the materials in the construction of the Titanic deep-sea tourist submarine.
“Carbon fiber and titanium – there’s one rule you can’t make. Well, I did,” Rush said. “It’s about choosing the rules to break, which add value to others and add value to society.”
In the hours since his confirmed death, the CEO has already been remembered for his rule-breaking – in the way he reportedly cut corners and flouted regulations.
The Marine Technology Society (MTS) warned the company in 2018 that its experimental designs and failure to follow industry safety protocols could lead to “catastrophic” results.
MTS member Brain Kemper claimed that OceanGate intentionally launched its submarine in international waters to avoid industry regulations.
That same year, David Lochridge, former director of naval operations at OceanGates, claimed he was fired for altering Rush over shipbuilding concerns and a lack of safety testing.
He then sued the company for wrongful termination.
“OceanGate gave Lochridge approximately ten minutes to immediately clear his desk and vacate the premises,” Lochridge’s attorneys said in the filing.
“The paying passengers would not be aware of or informed of this experimental design, the lack of non-destructive testing of the hull, or the fact that hazardous combustible materials were used inside the submersible.”
Rush had repeatedly said in previous interviews and reports of talks that he wanted to be known as an innovator and felt that safety regulations and rules hindered true innovation.
In a now-viral CBS interview in 2022, in which the CEO revealed the entire submersible is controlled by a modified video game controller, Rush brushed off the dangers of deep-sea diving as just another risk in the game of life.
“You know, at some point security is a waste. I mean, if you just want to be safe, don’t get up,” Rush told journalist David Pogue. “Eventually you’re going to take some risk, and it’s really a risk/reward issue. I think I can do that just as safely by breaking the rules.”