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From the Titanic to the Titan: Compliance Challenges

By Fernando Cevallos - F&C Consulting Group
Founder and CEO


By Fernando Cevallos | Founder & CEO - Thu, 07/20/2023 - 09:00

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Did  you ever think that in 2023 we would have another tragedy related to the Titanic? This time, a quest to see the sunken ship ended in a catastrophic result. There are many players involved but like any other business or machine, there are also risks and, in not meeting compliance requirements, there is always the possibility that the story could end sadly, as it happened with the Titan submersible. We may not know the real story, but sources and documents will need to be provided for an investigation. 

Could your company handle this type of crisis? In Mexico and other emerging markets, we are reactive and sometimes we learn through others (unlikely, but it happens). 

Remember that the Titan  and the Titanic, two notable vessels with vastly different purposes and from different time periods, both faced significant compliance issues. In fact, the submersible and the real-life luxury liner present contrasting examples of compliance challenges in the maritime industry. 

This article explores the compliance issues surrounding these two iconic ships, highlighting their respective safety concerns, regulatory frameworks, and the lessons learned from their histories. By comparing the inadequate safety measures of the Titan with the shortcomings of the Titanic, we can gain valuable insights into evolving compliance standards and the imperative for continuous improvement.

Compliance Issues of the Titan 

The Titan operated under different regulatory circumstances than the Titanic. However, it still exhibited notable compliance issues related to safety measures and operational practices:

Inadequate Safety Features.

Allegedly, the Titan lacked sufficient safety features necessary for underwater exploration. The vessel's design overlooked essential aspects, such as emergency exits, proper ventilation systems, and adequate life support equipment. These compliance gaps put the crew at risk during underwater operations, limiting their ability to respond to emergencies effectively.

Neglecting Communication Systems.

Another compliance issue with the Titan Submarine was the lack of reliable communication systems. Communication with the surface was challenging due to limited range and unreliable equipment, leaving the crew isolated during missions. Inadequate communication undermined operational efficiency, coordination, and timely responses to potential risks or emergencies.

Flawed Structural Integrity.

The Titan has been described as a massive and technologically advanced vessel. However, its construction and materials had not been described in detail. The lack of information about its structural integrity raises concerns about compliance with construction standards and the durability of the submersible.

Compliance Issues of the Titanic

The Titanic faced its own compliance challenges that ultimately contributed to one of the most infamous maritime disasters in history. Despite being built during an era with safety regulations, it exhibited significant shortcomings in various areas.

Inadequate Lifeboat Capacity.:

One of the most glaring compliance issues of the Titanic was its insufficient lifeboat capacity. The ship was only equipped with 20 lifeboats, which could accommodate around half the passengers and crew onboard. This deficiency stemmed from compliance regulations that were based on outdated standards and failed to account for the vessel's large capacity. As a result, many lives were tragically lost due to a lack of life-saving options.

Flawed Construction and Materials.:

The construction and materials used in the Titanic's construction raised compliance concerns. The ship was built using rivets that were not up to the required standards. The impact of the iceberg on the Titanic caused these substandard rivets to fail, leading to the rapid flooding and subsequent sinking of the ship. Compliance with robust construction practices and the use of quality materials could have mitigated the severity of the disaster.

Insufficient Safety Measures:

The Titanic also suffered from insufficient safety measures, including inadequate life-saving equipment and a lack of comprehensive emergency drills. Lifeboat drills were infrequent, and crew members and passengers were not adequately familiarized with the evacuation procedures. This lack of preparedness and compliance with safety protocols significantly hampered the evacuation efforts during the disaster.

Lessons Learned and Contemporary Compliance

The compliance issues surrounding the Titan and the Titanic have undoubtedly influenced maritime safety regulations and practices, which the Titan tragedy will no doubt reinforce.

Regulatory Enhancements.

The Titanic disaster prompted substantial regulatory enhancements in the maritime industry. International conventions were established to standardize safety measures, including mandatory lifeboat capacity based on the number of passengers and crew, improved construction standards, and rigorous inspections. These developments aimed to prevent future tragedies and ensure compliance with essential safety protocols.

Continuous Improvement.

The compliance challenges faced by the Titan and the Titanic highlight the need for continuous improvement in maritime safety. The lessons learned from these events reinforce ongoing advancements in safety measures, communication systems, crew training, and emergency response protocols. Since the sinking of the Titanic, regular inspections, adherence to robust construction standards, and the implementation of advanced technology are now integral parts of ensuring compliance in the maritime industry.

Technological Advancements.

The rapid advancements in technology have significantly improved compliance in the maritime sector. Modern vessels are equipped with sophisticated communication systems, advanced navigation technologies, and state-of-the-art safety equipment. Compliance now extends beyond traditional regulatory requirements to include innovative solutions that enhance overall safety and operational efficiency.


The compliance issues faced by the Titan and the Titanic illustrate the imperative for stringent adherence to safety regulations in the maritime industry. By recognizing the shortcomings of these vessels and implementing comprehensive safety measures, the industry can continue its journey toward improved compliance, ensuring the safety of crew members and passengers alike.

Putting this into a company perspective, many businesses are working with different partners, meaning vendors, resellers, distributors, and agents, among others. The era of trusting on their word has finished. You must do proper due diligence, knowing who the counterpart is and establishing clear expectations from all aspects, including a potential catastrophe or reputational damage. 

There will always be risks; however, identifying, controlling, setting up key indicators, auditing, and looking at continuous improvement is as  important as operating, selling and profiting. 

Shareholders and C-Suites, this question is for you: Do you want to be like the Titan or the Titanic? You know how the story ends.

Photo by:   Fernando Cevallos

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