For eight days in July, mobile crane operator Mark MacLennan joined the OceanGate Expeditions crew surveying the Titanic’s wreckage. MacLennan, a 19-year member of Local 793 and resident of South Stormont, won this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by donating to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
MacLennan supports Make-a-Wish because his two daughters, Katy, 15, and Kassy, 11, both live with chronic conditions. Despite the challenging times he and his family face, MacLennan feels blessed to have experienced his childhood dream. He has always been intrigued by the profound tragedy of the Titanic.
“(The Titanic) was a brand-new luxury liner that met its fate. It never made it to its destination,” MacLennan said.
On the expedition, MacLennan picked up as many volunteer duties as possible. While he didn’t dive down to the wreckage himself, MacLennan served on the crew attending to the submarine and helped ensure everything was in working order to protect the divers from the 6,000psi they’d encounter on the floor of the North Atlantic.
“There was a lot of stuff to do,” he said. “I was up at 4 a.m. every day; breakfast at 5. I did pretty much everything, even pilot the ship.”
Stockton Rush, the President of OceanGate Expeditions and Founder and Chief Submersible Pilot for OceanGate, Inc., worked with NASA to design and engineer the world’s only deep-diving carbon fiber submersible used to reach the Titanic.
This expedition is part of OceanGate’s multi-year longitudinal study of the Titanic and its unique, biodiverse ecosystem that lies in an abyssal plain at 3800 meters below the ocean’s surface.
One day, Titanic expeditions will be a thing of the past as the vessel deteriorates into the abyss. But for MacLennan, the memories of his adventure will live on.
Local 793 wishes all the best to Brother MacLennan and his family.