The vessel will be used for research, and proceeds from private research will benefit the WWF.
Norwegian billionaire industrialist Kjell Inge Røkke has contracted Espen Oeino to design a 181.6 meter (nearly 600 feet) Research Expedition Vessel (REV). The vessel, planned for completion in 2020, will hold the title of largest yacht in the world. It will primarily be used by World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) scientists, and will also be available for private charters. Proceeds from private charters will benefit research.
“The REV will be a platform for gathering knowledge“, explained Kjell Inge Røkke, owner of the REV, “I would like to welcome researchers, environmental groups, and other institutions on board, to acquire new skills to evolve innovative solutions to address challenges and opportunities connected to the seas.”
Røkke sits with a net worth of around $2.6 billion dollars and made his fortune from off-shore drilling. However, he hasn’t forgotten his background in fishing and his love for the sea. On the topic, he said “I am a fisherman, and curious by nature. Resources in the oceans and on the seabed have provided significant value for society – and also for my family and myself. For this, I am very grateful.”
It is Røkke’s vision that the vessel is used to help clean up the ocean of plastic. The yacht will be able to collect up to 5 tons of plastic daily, with a system to then melt it down. It will also combat overfishing and environmental crime due to extraction and mining.
The REV is being designed at the VARD shipyard with all the state-of-art equipment necessary to facilitate marine investigations. It will include surveillance and monitoring technologies, fully-supplied laboratories, two helipads, as well as “hangar for a remotely operated vehicle and an autonomous underwater vehicle as a multifunctional cargo deck aft of the ship”.
For exploration, the REV is capable of carrying 60 scientists and 40 crew members. In order to help generate funding for research, it will also be available for private charters, able to hold up to 36 guests and 54 crew members. Røkke plans to use the REV to take his family out on occasions for “recreation and inspiration”.
“According to researchers, 90 percent of marine areas have not yet been studied, and offer countless opportunities. However, the oceans are also under greater pressure than ever before from overfishing, coastal pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification, and one of the most pressing challenges of all, plasticisation of the ocean. The need for knowledge and solutions is pressing.” – Kjell Inge Røkke