The Shmooze

Titanic Discoverer Launches Israel Sea-Floor Expedition

By Nathan Jeffay

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What is the man who discovered the wreck of the Titanic hoping to discover in the waters off the coast of Israel?

As well as boasting the discovery of the Titanic wreck in 1985, Robert Ballard, a former US Navy commander and today a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, also found the wreck of the battleship Bismarck in 1989 and the wreck of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.

Yesterday, his research ship, the Nautilus, set sail from Haifa. Nautilus is a research ship fully equipped with state-of-the-art technologies for sea-floor research, and includes diving robots, elaborate control rooms and more. Ballard is on board… but via videoconference, choosing to control goings-on on the ship from the US. Present on board to manage proceedings together with cyber-captain Ballard is Zvi Ben-Avraham, the Israel Prize winning director of Haifa University’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences.

The aim of the two-week expedition is to examine the sea floor of Israel’s coast. As for what they hope to find, Ben-Avraham said that “[t]he future is in the sea and this voyage is a first step towards understanding the mystery of a region that is so close to us yet still so far and unknown.”


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