In September 1999, 16 tourists will dive more than two miles deep into the North Atlantic. Here, they will visit the wreck site of RMS Titanic. Each will pay $34,000 to make the 12,500foot dive in a pair of Russian manned submersibles. A British company, Deep Ocean Expeditions (DOE), is the organizer and operator of this expedition.
The submersibles are the Mir ("peace") vehicles on charter from their owner, the Russian Academy of Sciences' Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. Built in Finland in 1987, they operate from a dedicated oceanographic research vessel, the Akademik Keldysh. In the recent movie Titanic, these submersibles were in the opening scenes. Capable of diving to 20,000 feet, the Mirs have made nearly 50 dives to Titanic for various commercial film projects. Each carries a pilot and two passengers for the 10- to 12-hour dive missions to the wreck site.