Victor 6000 ROV: Last hope for the missing OceanGate Titanic sub | Technical News

A view shows the ROV (Remotely Operating Underwater Vehicle) Victor 6000 in this undated photo released by Ifremer. Olivier Dugornay - Ifremer - CCBY/Handout via REUTERS THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVES.

Victor 6000 used in last chance rescue mission (Image: Reuters)

A French robot that can dive deeper than any other ship is the “last chance” to rescue a tourist submersible that went missing while diving to the Titanic on Sunday – with the five passengers on board having just hours of oxygen left .

Dubbed the Victor 6,000, the remote-controlled robot can dive to depths of 20,000 feet — almost twice that of the lost OceanGate Titan — and has arms that allow it to cut cables or perform other maneuvers to free a stuck ship.

For the latest news on the missing submersible, follow Metro.co.uk’s live blog here

There was speculation that the submarine could become stuck under one of the RMS Titanic’s huge propellers.

If the vehicle does find the submarine, the four-and-a-half-ton robot won’t be able to help bring it back to the surface – but could help connect the damaged vessel to a cable from the surface.

“Victor is capable of visual reconnaissance with all his video equipment,” said Olivier Lefort, head of naval operations at Ifremer, the French national marine research institute that operates the robot.

“It’s also equipped with manipulation arms that can be used to pull the submarine out, for example by cutting cables or things that would block it on the ground.”

Victor 6000 is operated by a crew of 25 aboard the French ship Atalante, which arrived in the search area late Wednesday evening – leaving little time for the search before Titan ran out of oxygen.

“We can work nonstop for up to 72 hours, we don’t have to stop at night,” Mr Lefort said.

The control room of the ROV observation mission Victor 6000 during the ESSROV18 campaign can be seen in this undated photo released by Ifremer. Stephane Lesbats??? Ifremer/Handout via REUTERS THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVES.

The control room of the Victor 6000 on board the Atalante (Image: Reuters)

Victor 6000 is powered by Atalante via an 8 km cable, so it too can search non-stop. However, the robot moves at just over 1 km/h, which limits the search distance in the remaining time.

The robot, which cost a million francs (£130,000) to build in 1999, looks little more than an eight-by-ten cube – but many believe it holds the last hope of saving those stranded in Titan.

One of those allegedly on board, French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, previously worked at Ifremer and piloted its flagship submarine, the Nautile, which was used to survey the Titanic wreck.

Ifremer sent the Atalante ship with his robot at the request of the US Navy.

“That’s the logic of the sailors.” “Our attitude was: We’re close, we have to go,” Lefort said.

A view shows the ROV (Remotely Operating Underwater Vehicle) Victor 6000 in this undated photo released by Ifremer. Stephane Lesbats - Ifremer - CCBY/Handout via REUTERS THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVES.

Victor 2000 is a state-of-the-art submersible with robotic arms (Image: Reuters)

The people carrier-sized submersible Titan, operated by OceanGate Expeditions, began its descent at 1pm BST on Sunday. Towards the end of what should have been a two-hour dive to the site of the world’s most famous shipwreck in a remote corner of the North Atlantic, it lost contact with its surface support vessel.

However, the operators only sounded the alarm when the submersible failed to show up about nine hours later.

Undated handout photo from OceanGate Expeditions of their submersible called Titan visiting the Titanic wreck site. Rescue teams continue the search for the tourist submersible that went missing during a trip to the Titanic shipwreck. British billionaire Hamish Harding was among the five people on board. Issue date: Wednesday June 21, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SEA Titanic. Photo credit should read: OceanGate Expeditions/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only to provide a timely representation of events, things or people depicted in the photo or facts mentioned in the photo's caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

The OceanGate Titan submersible went missing on Sunday (Image: PA)

According to the company, the Titan took off with 96 hours of air, meaning her oxygen tanks would likely run out sometime Thursday morning. How long the air would actually hold depended on a variety of factors, experts said, including whether the submersible had power and how quiet it was on board.

Hopes were raised yesterday when “popping noises” were heard underwater.

The international rescue operation continues.

MORE: Missing Titanic submarine live: Race against time on ‘Titan Five’ as hopes of a search for the lost submarine dwindle

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Justin Scaccy

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