MIAMI (NewsNation) — While the mission to recover debris from the missing Titan submersible in the Atlantic Ocean continues Monday, concerns have arisen regarding the funding arrangments for the operation.
The cost of the search for the missing Titan submersible will likely stretch into millions of dollars, maritime law and search rescue experts said.
The search area spanned thousands of miles — twice the size of Connecticut and in waters 2 1/2 miles deep — with agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard, the Canadian Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and other agencies and private entities.
The search operations, which spanned several days and involved several countries, incurred significant expenses, amounting to millions of dollars, according to a report published by The New York Times.
Yet, the question of who is responsible for covering incurred expenses remains unclear.
There’s no other comparable ocean search, especially with so many countries and even commercial enterprises being involved in recent times, said Norman Polmar, a naval historian, analyst and author based in Virginia.
The aircraft, alone, are expensive to operate, and the Government Accountability Office has put the hourly cost at tens of thousands of dollars. Turboprop P-3 Orion and jet-powered P-8 Poseidon sub hunters, along with C-130 Hercules, were all utilized in the search.
Some agencies can seek reimbursements. But the U.S. Coast Guard — whose bill alone will hit the millions of dollars — is generally prohibited by federal law from collecting reimbursement pertaining to any search or rescue service, said Stephen Koerting, an attorney in Maine who specializes in maritime law.
“The Coast Guard, as a matter of both law and policy, does not seek to recover the costs associated with search and rescue from the recipients of those services,” the Coast Guard said Friday in a statement.
Officials have not provided a specific figure regarding the cost of the extensive search operation. However, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, the funds allocated for such operations were already budgeted in advance.
The U.S. Coast Guard will continue collecting debris from the wreckage and conducting interviews.
Next, the Marine Board of Investigation will hold a public hearing, then issue its findings in a detailed report. The exact date for the hearing has not been determined yet.
As part of this ongoing process, officials will investigate the sequence of events and examine voice recordings obtained from the ship that carried the vessel and its five passengers. It has been confirmed that all five individuals died instantly due to an implosion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.