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Director James Cameron helps launch OceanX initiative and details high-tech research vessel Alucia2

Titanic, Avatar and Terminator director James Cameron, along with superyacht owner and conservationist Ray Dalio and his filmmaker son Mark, has announced the launch of new initiative OceanX.

OceanX, which is helmed by the elder Dalio, is a mission to explore the depths of the world’s oceans for educational and scientific purposes – a press release explained that OceanX “will enable explorers and researchers to explore the unseen ocean, map uncharted areas of the world, observe rare deep-sea creatures and pursue scientific and medical breakthroughs — and then bring all of these wonders back to the wider world through captivating media."

"I believe that ocean exploration is more exciting and important than space exploration [and] we are on a mission to show people that," added Ray Dalio in the statement. As many have already noted, OceanX’s name is ostensibly a tongue-in-cheek nod to the space exploration company SpaceX, founded by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The project’s leaders hope to build upon the successes of their previous work, which was carried out using Dalio’s 56-metre (184-foot) research vessel Alucia. As well as the overall OceanX launch, the team has revealed that future expeditions will be undertaken by new state-of-the-art explorer yacht Alucia2.

Alucia2 will be an 85-metre (279-foot) explorer yacht, described as “the most advanced science and media vessel ever built”. She will be a comprehensive refit of the Freire-built commercial vessel Volstad Surveyor, originally constructed in 2010, and is expected to be delivered in 2019.

Gresham Yacht Design has spearheaded the renovation – which includes wet and dry marine research labs, a dedicated media centre and space for both manned and robotic deep-sea submersibles, as well as helicopters and drones.

Steve Gresham, founder and principal designer at the firm, commented, “We are thrilled to be a part of such an exciting and unique project. These types of projects are rare to come by and we are honoured to have been commissioned by the owner to deliver a design that is extremely functional and robust – it is a true explorer vessel.”

After delivery, Alucia2 will replace Alucia, which is for sale through Fraser. She is listed at $19,750,000.

In addition to the exploratory and scientific work on-board Alucia2, OceanX will also use the boat to broadcast virtual classes and lectures across the globe, and for museum exhibitions, virtual reality content and interactive gaming.

OceanX Media, the name of the younger Dalio’s production company (formerly Alucia Productions), has worked with Sir David Attenborough and the BBC on acclaimed documentaries such as Blue Planet II. It will continue its ground-breaking work aboard Alucia2.

Mark Dalio explained, “Our team of scientists, researchers and filmmakers, including from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the BBC team that brought you Blue Planet II, will explore the oceans and create exciting content and stories to inspire a human connection to the sea. We plan to bring you the excitement of ocean discovery the way The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau did."

Oscar-winning director Cameron added, “With OceanX and Alucia2, we will reignite global passion for, and curiosity about, the ocean in our global, digitally-connected age.”

Scientific and philanthropic partners of OceanX include The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the American Museum of Natural History, BBC Studios, California Academy of Sciences, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Beijing Qiangyu Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Natural History Museum of London, and dozens more.

For more information, visit OceanX.

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