OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who was killed on the doomed Titan submersible, wanted to turn the vessel nto a tool for deep-sea mining – the controversial practice of harvesting minerals from the ocean floor.

Rush told Fast Company in 2017 that he had other plans for the five-person sub other than serving as a tourist sub for $250,000 tickets to the Titanic wreckage, Insider reported.

“The biggest resource is oil and gas,” he told the US monthly business magazine, adding that energy companies “spend about $16 billion a year on robots to service oil and gas platforms.

“But oil and gas [companies] don’t take new technology. They want it proven, they want it out there,” he added.

Rush apparently hoped to capitalize on the Titan’s success in the tourism arena by turning it into a vessel used in operations to harvest oil and gas, diamonds and rare minerals.

“The long-term value is in the commercial side. Adventure tourism is a way to monetize the process of proving the technology,” he told Fast Company. “The Titanic is where we go from startup to ongoing business.”

But deep-sea mining has been mired in controversy because of the damage it is expected to cause to biodiversity on the ocean floor compared to terrestrial mining.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush in sub
Rush said the “long term value” was in the commercial opportunities for the vessel.
Becky Kagan Schott
Titan submersible
The Titan imploded on June 18, killing Rush and his four passengers.
Becky Kagan Schott / OceanGate Expeditions

The International Seabed Authority, a UN agency tasked with regulating the deep sea, is debating whether to allow mining to countries and companies that as of Monday were allowed to start applying for provisional licenses.

The authority, which is based in Jamaica, has thus far issued more than 30 exploration licenses but no provisional licenses.

A two-year ban on the practice expired when countries citing environmental concerns failed to reach agreement on new rules, the BBC reported.

Nearly 200 countries have called for a pause or moratorium on the practice of extracting precious metals from the abyss that are used in electric car batteries and other green technology.

Wreckage of the Titan
The wreckage of the doomed tourist vessel.
AP

Scientists fearing a “gold rush” have said that mining could unleash noise, light and suffocating dust, while companies have countered that deep-sea mining is cheaper and has less of an impact than land operations.

Canada announced Monday that it supported a moratorium because there is no regulatory framework in place nor a full understanding of the environmental impacts of deep-sea mining.

“It is critical that the international community recognize its collective responsibility to safeguard the health and integrity of our shared global ocean for future generations,” the government said in a statement.

Fauna & Flora, an international conservation charity, recently said deep-sea mining would cause “extensive and irreversible” damage and a loss in biodiversity that would be “impossible to restore.”

On June 18, the Titan imploded during its dive to the famed ocean liner’s wreckage, killing Rush, 61, British billionaire Hamish Harding, 58, French Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, prominent Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son, Sulaiman Dawood.

With Post Wires