The Norwegian industrialist Kjell Inge Røkke, former owner of 70m Benetti Reverie and 66mVitters Aglaia, now owning 51m Alloy Yachts Red Dragon, is to finance the build of a 181m Research Expedition Vessel, REV.
Designed by Norwegian designer Espen Øino, the REV project has been commissioned by Rosellinis Four-10, a company owned by Røkke and his family. It will be built to ICE PC6 Class by Vard Tulcea (the Vard group is 69.67% owned by Fincantieri) in Romania and then towed to Vard Brattvaag in Norway for outfitting. After delivery in Norway, the vessel will return to Romania for finishing with completion scheduled for 2020.
The highly specialised vessel will be taken care of by a crew of 30 and will be able to accommodate 60 researchers. She is designed for worldwide research and expedition activities with the objective of developing knowledge and sustainable solutions to address the environmental threats facing the world’s oceans. WWF Norway has been invited by the owner to take part in developing the project.
“Marine life is under considerable pressure and a large-scale rescue operation is needed,” says Nina Jensen, CEO of WWF Norway. “If we are to overcome these challenges, we have to move from talk to action, and develop the specific solutions the oceans need.”
REV will be one of the most advanced research expedition vessels in the world equipped for monitoring and surveying marine areas, currents, the seabed, fish, animal and plant life around the globe. Research features include modern laboratories, an auditorium, a hangar for a remote operated vehicle (ROV) and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) with access to the vessel’s moon pool.
REV will be as eco-friendly as possible, powered by a hybrid diesel-electric system of generators, electric propulsion motors, and controllable pitch tunnel thrusters. The vessel will employ Vard’s SeaQ Green Pilot, an energy management and performance system for monitoring CO2, SOx and NOx emissions.
Other key features are the energy recovery systems, synthetic decking, underwater noise pollution prevention, and ballast water treatment to prevent species cross-contamination.
Røkke has no plans to make a business out of his research vessel. “The sea has given me great opportunities,” said Røkke. “I’m grateful for that. I want to give back to society the bulk of what I’ve earned. This ship is a part of that. The idea of such a ship has evolved over many years, but the plans have become concrete in the past year. (…) There may not be any economic rationale for the private construction of such a ship, but the case is compelling from the oceans’ point of view.”
In order to generate funding for research, REV will be built to superyacht standards to make it suitable for charter to private individuals, companies and institutions. Røkke and his family will also use the vessel “for recreation and inspiration”, but will pay charter fees like other clients.