What the Arrival of E/V Nautilus Means for the Port of L.A.

On Sept. 12, a flotilla of ships welcomes the E/V Nautilus to its new winter home at the AltaSea wharfs in the Port of Los Angeles.

The flotilla is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate one of the world’s most notable ocean-exploration vessels. More importantly, the ship’s arrival is a step forward as we support the port, one of the region’s most important economic drivers, as it positions itself to be a central part of the economy of the future.

AltaSea’s campus is on 35 acres of the port’s oldest pier, an area that 100 years ago was key to the metropolis becoming an international port. The work done then was crucial to building the city’s future just as the country was entering World War I.

A century later, we’re transforming those aging facilities so they can again embrace the future. We’re committed to bringing together partners in science, technology, innovation, business incubation, job creation, research and education as the port adapts to the changes ahead.

The arrival of the Nautilus is an important step in that process, but it’s far from the only one. We have a lot of work to do not just with them, but with many other partners, now and in the years to come.

Bow of the USS Independence, 65 years after it was sunk off the California coast following a nuclear weapons test. Courtesy of the Ocean Exploration Trust
Bow of the USS Independence, 65 years after it was sunk off the California coast following a nuclear weapons test. Courtesy of the Ocean Exploration Trust

That said, bringing the Nautilus here will help drive our efforts in education, tech and science over much of the next year.

Dr. Ballard is best known for his 1985 discovery of the wreckage of the RMS Titanic. His team also has explored such significant shipwrecks as the German WWII battleship Bismarck, John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 and most recently, the USS Independence, a WWII carrier later used in a nuclear weapons test.

Dr. Ballard, meanwhile, has said his most important scientific discoveries were of hydrothermal vents and “black smokers” in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise, areas populated with previously unknown life forms that rely on the vents to sustain their existence. More recently, Dr. Ballard founded the Ocean Exploration Trust, which operates the Nautilus.

Dr. Ballard shares AltaSea’s belief that the ocean is our next great frontier. We’re delighted to host the Nautilus while they’re in port between September and April, and to work with them as we build our vision for the future of the port and the region it serves.

Our STEM Educational Partnership

As part of our partnership, our Community STEM Education Program will foster deeper learning about ocean science and exploration. The program will be available to community organizations and to students of all ages, from kindergarten to graduate school. Plans also are underway for a teacher-development workshop with 30 Los Angeles-area schools.

Aboard the E/V Nautilus with the submersible exploration vessel the Argus
The Argus submersible aboard E/V Nautilus

The partnership also will boost AltaSea’s focus on “blue tech,” innovative technologies and companies focused on ocean-based remote monitoring, sensing and undersea exploration. The Nautilus has two remotely operated vehicles, the Hercules and Argus, that explore, sample and capture imagery of unexplored  ocean terrain. The ship’s high-tech mapping system will be essential to new discoveries in geology, biology, maritime history, archaeology and chemistry.

At a time when only a tiny percentage of the ocean has been explored, the partnership will accelerate scientific, educational and technological advances whose impact will be felt worldwide. So welcome, Dr. Ballard, Nautilus and the OET. We look forward to the new partnership, the new adventures and the new future we’ll build together.

About the Author

Jenny Krusoe is executive director of AltaSea

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