Dr Robert Ballard with Titanic Belfast OEC Manager Susan Heaney
Dr Robert Ballard with Titanic Belfast OEC Manager Susan Heaney

Titanic Belfast’s Ocean Exploration Centre manager Susan Heaney has been selected to become an Educator at Sea on Titanic discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard’s exploration vessel Nautilus this month.

Susan, born in Co Donegal, will be joining the Nautilus Corps of Exploration from October 21 to 29, for the Montserrat leg of the vessel’s Caribbean Sea expedition.

She will be the first Irish woman to board the famous vessel as an Educator at Sea, for a role she describes as an “opportunity of a lifetime”.

Susan will stand watch alongside scientists and engineers, as well as participate in live interactions with shore-based audiences via Exploration Now, a 24-hour interactive online portal, bringing expeditions from the field to both experts and future explorers ashore, via telepresence technology.

Exploration Now is currently streaming live in Titanic Belfast’s Ocean Exploration Centre (OEC), which Susan has managed since the iconic Titanic visitor attraction opened in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in March 2012. A live interaction with Susan on-board Nautilus will take place in the OEC on October 26 at 3pm.

During the Montserrat leg of the expedition, the team will collect samples using their state-of-the-art ROV (remotely operated vehicle), investigate several unexplored underwater volcanoes and even use their equipment to explore two villages which were completely swept into the sea by a volcanic eruption in 1997.

Learning of her selection following an intensive qualification process undertaken earlier this year, Susan said: “I am so excited to be joining Nautilus because, by broadcasting the expeditions live in Titanic Belfast’s OEC and online, it’s the perfect opportunity to fill our guests with the enthusiasm for ocean exploration which everyone involved in this project has.”

Titanic Belfast CEO Tim Husbands said: “It is a great achievement for Susan, and for Titanic Belfast, that she has been chosen to be an Educator at Sea on the exploration vessel Nautilus. Her experience on the ship will give us a great insight into the important research work Dr. Robert Ballard continues to conduct in our oceans, as well as benefitting our overall education offering at Titanic Belfast.”

Expedition Leader and OET Vice President, Dr. Katherine Croff Bell, said: “One of the major goals of our Nautilus Exploration Program is to inspire the next generation of explorers in STEM fields.

“So we’re very excited to provide educators and students with the direct experience of pure exploration, while allowing them the opportunity to share their experience far and wide with their peers.”

To follow the expedition, visit Titanic Belfast’s Ocean Exploration Centre or follow live on-line at www.explorationnow.org.  

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