According to reports, Stockton Rush, the founder and CEO of OceanGate, allegedly recruited college interns to develop the electrical systems for the ill-fated Titan submersible.
As per a revelatory article from The New Yorker, Rush reportedly disregarded safety advisories and enlisted students from Washington State University to assist with crucial systems.
“The whole electrical system — that was our design, we implemented it, and it works,” a former intern told the college paper in February 2018, the report said.
“We are on the precipice of making history, and all of our systems are going down to the Titanic. It is an awesome feeling!” he added.
In 2018, OceanGate's former director of marine operations and chief pilot issued a cautionary statement, expressing concerns that the Titan was an unreliable and unsafe vessel for diving.
According to Mark Walsh, who served as the treasurer of WSU's Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers club, Tony Nissen, OceanGate's director of engineering, discussed some of the company's difficulties. Walsh mentioned that he and his fellow students willingly offered their assistance and proposed potential solutions.
Walsh, who completed his electrical engineering degree in 2017, recalled, "Tony responded with, 'Alright, consider yourself hired.'"
“If electrons flow through it, I’m in charge of it,” he told the WSU paper, further mentioning that he was overseeing a team of five individuals, which included Nelson and a pair of interns from WSU.
According to the WSU report, Nelson suggested senior Doug Yamamoto for the role due to his background in software engineering.
“I like that we have a close relationship with WSU Everett because the interns have been so great,” Walsh said.
“They’ve been taught right at WSU Everett, so this summer we’re going to be hiring more.”
On June 22, WSU told local outlet The Everett Herald that “it does not have an alliance with OceanGate.
“We are aware that some of our graduates have worked at OceanGate. To our knowledge, one graduate currently works there.,” it stated.
“We are not privy to what OceanGate projects WSU Everett alumni have been involved in or what their roles may have been outside of publicly available information,” it added.
OceanGate also utilized interns from Everett Community College's Ocean Research College Academy.
In a report last month from The Daily Fetched, Rush told the media that the company did not want any experienced “50-year-old white guys” because they weren’t “inspirational.”
“When I started a business, one of the things you’ll is that there are other sub operators out there, but they typically have a gentleman who is ex-military, and you see a whole bunch of 50-year-old white guys.”
“I wanted our team to be younger, to be inspirational,” Rush continued.