Pricey tours of decaying Titanic shipwreck delayed until June 2020

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—Adventure tourists who paid $ 168,000 each to help survey the Titanic shipwreck off Newfoundland have been told their much-anticipated dives are being postponed.

The U.S. company behind a series of week-long expeditions has announced that the submarine research tours will be postponed until June 2020, after the operator of a staging vessel backed out.

The news comes just two weeks before the inaugural voyage was set to depart from St. John’s, N.L., and a year after damage to the submarine delayed the original 2018 departure date.

OceanGate Expeditions said the delay is disappointing but changing vessels so close to the departure date would risk safety and the mission’s success.

The dives will be the first manned surveys of the decaying vessel since 2005, in a series of expeditions that will see ticket-holders assist with data gathering, photography, sonar operation and other note-taking duties.

Explorers will be seeking to determine how fast bacteria are devouring remains of the so-called unsinkable ship that struck an iceberg and went down off the southeast coast of Newfoundland in 1912.