A Norwegian billionaire named Kjell Inge Røkke just announced plans to give away a massive chunk of his $2 billion fortune and he’s starting by constructing a 182-meter-long yacht. Greedy though it may sound, the future “largest yacht in the world” is actually being built to perform some seriously admirable environmental research missions, like suck up all the plastic in the ocean! The Research Expedition Vessel (REV) is a collaboration with Norway’s World Wildlife Fund and their mission is to preserve our oceans for future generations.
This boat will leave you shook. According to the project website, the vessel will be able to “sail non-stop almost 98% the circumference of the equator.”
It will also be fitted with laboratories, an auditorium, a crane, two helipads, and the capacity to carry as many as 60 scientists with a crew of 40 people. The construction of the boat has been contracted to a shipbuilding and repair company called Vard and it will be designed by Espen Oeino
The mega-yacht will be used for three things: as a research vessel for scientists and explorers, recreation and inspiration for Røkke and his family, and private charter, for individuals, companies, and institutions. The hope is that this last function will generate research funds.
Since 2006, Røkke has been working with Aker BioMarine and Nina Jensen, a Norwegian marine biologist and secretary general of the WWF to develop an environmentally certified krill fisheries operation in the Southern Ocean. The inspiration for this project derives from an evolving understanding of overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, climate change, ocean acidification, and plasticization.
Though he made his billions in the oil industry, Røkke told Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper, “The sea has given me great opportunities. I am grateful for that.” He says he will give back the bulk of what he has earned and according to Aftenposten, Røkke will pay to build and operate the ship out of his own pocket.
Anyway, you’ve officially confused us, Mr. Røkke. Your oil drilling career may have posed ecological dangers, but hopefully your yacht-research can right the ecological ship!