Norwegian billionaire to build 181m Research Expedition Vessel

Norwegian billionaire industrialist Kjell Inge Røkke has contracted the build of an 181.6m Research Expedition Vessel (REV) from Norway-based shipyard Vard.

Designed by Espen Oeino, the REV has been commissioned for environmental research missions in partnership with WWF Norway, where she will carry up to 60 scientists and 40 crew. She will be used privately by her owner, and for private charter with room for up to 36 guests and 54 crew on board; a model that will allow her to generate extra funding for research. 

Tailored for research and expedition activities in order to tackle environmental challenges at sea, the Research Expedition Vessel was designed for worldwide cruising, from the Arctic to the Tropics. 

At close to 182m LOA and 16,000GT, she is set to take the title of largest yacht in the world in terms of length and tonnage upon her delivery in 2020, and will be the largest vessel available for private charter. 

Kjell Inge Røkke, who is a majority stakeholder in Aker, an offshore shipping and drilling conglomerate said, “The REV will be a platform for gathering knowledge. 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.” 

The owner went on to explain that the contract was granted to Vard after having commissioned his first large trawler from the shipyard some 30 years ago.

Amongst her key features, the REV will include equipment for monitoring and surveying marine areas, modern laboratories, an auditorium, two helipads, a hangar for a remotely operated vehicle and an autonomous underwater vehicle as a multifunctional cargo deck aft of the ship. 

From a technical standpoint, she will have a beam of 22m and will reach a maximum speed of 17 knots, with sonar working at a speed of up to 11 knots and a biomass sampling system up to 2 knots. She will have a range of 21,120nm at 11 knots, and will have up to 114 days full autonomy with a complement of 90 passengers in term of storage. 

For more information, visit Vard.

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