In the wake of the recent, heart-wrenching OceanGate submarine tragedy, the world of deep-sea exploration finds itself shrouded in a gloomy fog of skepticism and doubt. But Ray Dalio, billionaire investor and founder of OceanX, a nonprofit ocean exploration initiative, insists that we shouldn’t lose faith so easily.
“Diving with manned submersibles isn’t a daredevil’s game – it’s notably safe, as long as due diligence in the form of certification processes and established safety protocols are diligently followed,” said Dalio, who also founded the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates. His thoughts on the matter were revealed in an extensive LinkedIn post he shared earlier this week.
Dalio draws attention to a stellar safety record over the past four decades, noting that “no submarine that has undergone the certification process has experienced a calamity, despite over 2 million annual dive excursions.” He goes on to liken the risks associated with deep-sea exploration to those of a commercial flight or even a routine car drive – granted, of course, that the right safety precautions are in place.
This reassurance comes amidst a wave of scrutiny following the unfortunate accident involving US-based OceanGate’s Titan submersible, which imploded just two hours into its voyage on June 18 to explore the underwater wreckage of the legendary RMS Titanic. This disaster led to the tragic loss of all five passengers, including OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and British billionaire Hamish Harding.
Critics are quick to point the finger at OceanGate’s seemingly lax safety standards as the culprit for the tragic incident. Allegedly, the company sidestepped industry-standard safety tests and opted for less expensive, lightweight materials for the submersible construction, while purportedly dismissing safety concerns raised by its own team members.
But Dalio insists that, while the tragedy does highlight the potential dangers of deepwater expeditions, these voyages remain safe as long as the right safety standards are diligently followed.
Aside from ensuring safety, Dalio emphasizes the bigger picture. He states, “Manned sub-diving isn’t just about thrill-seeking, it’s crucial for ocean discovery, which in turn benefits humanity through fostering a deeper understanding and protection of the world’s largest and most important natural resource – our oceans. It’s shocking to realize that less than five percent of this vast resource has been explored.”
OceanX, a venture Dalio co-founded with his son, Mark Dalio, made history by being the first to capture live images of a giant squid and pioneer a submersible dive to the Antarctic seafloor. “Our new vessel, the OceanXplorer, is preparing to embark on a series of thrilling explorations, first to Norway’s fjords and the seamounts of the Azores, followed by ventures into the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean,” Dalio adds.
On the financial front, Dalio founded Bridgewater in 1975, which has since grown into the world’s largest hedge fund under his guidance, managing $124 billion of assets as of 2023, Forbes reports. After retiring from the board of directors, Dalio now has an estimated personal net worth of $19 billion.
Dalio, the author of ‘Principles’ and a consistent commentator on financial and economic matters, recently pegged India as the next promising investment hotspot, anticipating an economic makeover akin to China’s transformation. On a slightly sober note, he also cautioned about the onset of a potential debt crisis in the US, indicating challenging times on the horizon.
However, his faith in the potential of deep-sea exploration remains unshaken, highlighting the importance of safety and the endless possibilities that the ocean depths may hold for mankind’s knowledge and understanding. It’s a poignant reminder for entrepreneurs and investors to consider both the rewards and risks of venturing into the unknown.