Published Saturday, 14 April 2012
Visitors read a Titanic display at City Hall, where the memorial will open (© PA)
American oceanographer Robert Ballard was part of the team that found the wreckage of the famous steamship in the Atlantic Ocean in 1985.
He spoke to UTV at the new Titanic Belfast building, ahead of a delivering a memorial lecture in the city on Saturday evening.
"This is an ongoing tribute to what was done here and I'm glad Belfast is embracing it because they should," Mr Ballard said.
This isn't just happening in Northern Ireland, the world knows about this place and it is because of the human story.
"Yes it is an amazing piece of machinery but what I have always found captivating is the story...
"Titanic didn't sink right away. It was a beautiful night, the sky was clear, the sea was calm, the band was playing and the deck of the Titanic became a morality play.
"I think everyone is fascinated by all the different things that took place in that three hours and everyone wonders what they would do."
RMS Titanic hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean at 11.40pm on 14 April 1912 during her maiden voyage and began to sink, before disappearing underwater at 2.20am on 15 April.
Events on Saturday evening to mark the centenary include a Requiem for the Lost Souls at St Anne's Cathedral and a commemoration in music and film at the Waterfront Hall, featuring well-known performers including singer Katie Melua.
Meanwhile the new Titanic Memorial Garden on the east side of City Hall has been completed ahead of its opening on Sunday morning.
The names of more than 1,500 victims of the tragedy are engraved on five bronze plaques on a plinth nine metres wide - making it the first monument to record all those who died.
Many existing memorials have failed to include the Titanic crew or musicians. On this one there is no distinction between first-class passengers and others, with names in alphabetical order.
The garden will be unveiled after a commemorative service takes place to mark the time the Belfast-built liner sank.
Landscape architect Joy Hutchinson said: "We've gone for a colour scheme built around blue, white, silver and green, reflecting water and ice.
"It is to try to encourage a sense of peace and contemplation."
The garden will be opened to the public after the service takes place.
© UTV News