A spokesman for the mothership which launched the missing submersible has defended OceanGate, saying it runs an “extremely safe operation”.
Questions were raised about the safety of the vessel, called Titan and run by OceanGate, during a press conference in Canada on Wednesday.
Five people are on board the submersible, which went missing on Sunday off the coast of Canada during a voyage to the wreck of the Titanic, and there is thought to be less than 20 hours of oxygen left.
Sean Leet, co-founder and chairman of Horizon Maritime Services, which owns the Polar Prince mothership from which Titan launched, said: “OceanGate runs an extremely safe operation.
“Our full focus right now is getting that submersible located and getting those people brought back safely.”
He added: “We’re in constant contact with the crew of the Polar Prince.
“Our emergency procedures kicked in immediately.
“Our emergency room is staffed 24/7 with a group of extremely capable people and there’s live communication with the vessel at all times.
“We’ve got 17 people on board the ship.”
The vessel lost communication with tour operators on Sunday while about 435 miles south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck.
Mr Leet praised how quickly specialist marine craft have been scrambled to help in the search for the missing vessel.
He said: “I’ve been in the marine industry since a very young age and I’ve never seen equipment of that nature move that quickly.
“The response from the US Coast Guard, the US military, the folks at the airport, the people here – various companies were involved in the mobilisation, it was done flawlessly.”
Mr Leet added: “The marine industry in this region is no stranger to responding to difficult incidents, we work together to ensure every possible effort is put into bringing people home.
“The people on board Titan and their families are our focus, we care deeply about their wellbeing, all of us here in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, the United States and around the world are unified in this work.”
He added: “It has been a very difficult few days for the crew and families of those on board the Titan and the Polar Prince.
“The Polar Prince captain and crew have been steadfast in providing support during this very difficult time.”
Mr Leet also said they are “very aware of the time sensitivity around this mission”.
And he said some of the equipment at the site of the search for the missing Titan vessel is “certainly capable of reaching those depths” where Titan is presumed to be.
Published: by Radio NewsHub