View of the bow of the RMS Titanic, 2004. Inset shows a contemplative Frankie.

The Titan submersible that imploded on 18th June 2023, killing all five of its passengers, has led to voluminous talk about what exactly happened and why. While many of the published accounts are interesting, I wanted to get a different perspective on the mishap. And what better source for this than Frankie?

Frankie the Sage Cat, as he likes to be called, is often cheeky when expressing his views. This can be quite refreshing in a shipping world where plain and candid talk is rare. Hear what Frankie has to say about the ill-fated Titan:

Barista Uno: Have any thoughts on the recent tragedy?
Frankie: The rich are different, as the saying goes.

BU: What do you mean?
Frankie: Well, do you have $250,000 to pay for a ride in a cramped submersible to have a peek at the Titanic wreck?

BU: Of course I don’t.
Frankie: Silly of me to forget that you’re a struggling maritime writer.

BU: Okay, I get your point. But don’t you think that the rich are free to spend their own money as they please?
Frankie: They’re also free to share what they have with the have-nots. Imagine what a quarter of a million can do to feed the homeless humans and cats of the world.

BU: You sound moralistic.
Frankie: Just saying.

BU: OceanGate, which operated the Titan submersible, has been promoting a greater appreciation of maritime history and archeology with their expeditions. Do you agree?
Frankie: According to some news reports, the company was warned about the safety of the Titan. Still, it went ahead with the expedition. Now, tell me that money wasn’t the primary motivation.

BU: Hmm.
Frankie: Besides, why turn the Titanic shipwreck into a tourist attraction? It’s a graveyard, for goodness’ sake! Those who perished in the1912 disaster deserve some respect from the living.

BU: You have a point there.
Frankie: Actually, a lot of people have been making money out of the Titanic sinking. Just take a look at the Titanic memorabilia that have been auctioned off by Christie’s and other parties.

BU: Anything else you’d like to add?
Frankie: It all boils down to money and hubris.

BU: Hubris?
Frankie: Overweening pride. Humans think they can rule over everything, including the sea, with their puny creations.

~ Barista Uno

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