The deep water diving enthusiast and director of “Titanic” James Cameron has said that the “unsung heroes” of the ship’s disastrous first voyage were the Belfast shipbuilders who made it possible for passengers to escape.

Cameron was in Belfast city, in County Antrim, to launch the opening of a new exhibition at the Titanic visitor center.

Speaking at the launch the director and deep sea diving enthusiast said it was the designers of the ship worked as the ship sank to prevent it from rolling over, this allowed lifeboats to be lowered and saved hundreds of lives.

He said “I believe firmly that they are the unsung heroes of Titanic, that kept that ship upright, the stately image that we all think of when we think of Titanic sinking. It is important for us to continue to look back at history. There are still lessons to be learned, there were heroes on board the ship that we did not even realize how important they were... and they were Belfast men."

His 1997 “Titanic” movie starring Leonardo diCaprio and Kate Winslet won 11 Oscars.  The director along with the movie’s producer Jon Landau were in Belfast to open the first exhibit at the Titanic museum dedicated to the movie.

Among the exhibition are items from Cameron’s personal collection including the ship’s wheel and other equipment. There are also costumes from the movie.

Carmeron also paid tribute to those behind the Belfast museum.

Read the stories about those who perished and survived the Titanic disaster

He said “It is a magnificent, dramatic building, the largest Titanic exhibition in the world, not only how it (shows) the history and legacy of Titanic itself and Belfast's part in the creation of the ship, but it is also such a celebration of Belfast's contribution to the building of so many fine ships, hundreds of ships, at a point where it was coming into its own as a major industrial power. It is a celebration of the city and the people.”

He commented on his 1997 movie and on the fact that it had not focused on the building of the ship and its Irish history. However he did say that the bodhran was featured in the movies original score.

“We wanted to get that bit of the soul of the ship, which is an Irish soul,” he said.

"That helps pull on the heartstrings and makes the emotion of that tragic story more powerful for the Irish."

Here’s Cameron’s interview from UTV: