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Røkke’s mega project “REV Ocean” is not making progress

Things have gone quiet around the world’s largest yacht project “REV Ocean”, which is still unfinished at the Norwegian Vard shipyard in Brattvåg, north of Alesund.

There are no signs of any construction activities on site on the ship, which last completed a trial voyage to Kristiansand in the south of Norway in the winter. The original plan for the final outfitting of the research yacht at the Lloyd shipyard in Bremerhaven has also been completely canceled.

The 183-metre-long mega research yacht was originally due to be delivered in spring 2021. However, it was not only the global coronavirus pandemic that caused considerable delays in the construction and installation work; there are also said to be significant structural problems, including with the weight. Delivery is now not scheduled to take place before 2024.

The “REV Ocean” was commissioned by Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Røkke, who set up a foundation for this purpose in 2017 and is also financing it. He had joined the Giving Pledge campaign, whose signatories promise to donate more than 50% of their assets to charity. The abbreviation REV in the name stands for Research Expedition Vessel.

The hull of the yacht, designed by the well-known yacht designer Espen Oeino, was built at the Vard shipyard in Tulcea, Romania, within 18 months and then towed to Norway for further outfitting work. Designed in accordance with the IMO Polar Code for operations in Arctic and Antarctic waters, the “REV Ocean” is designed for a range and operating time of up to 114 days in order to carry out autonomous expeditions around the world.

The equipment includes scientific trawls, sonar systems, laboratories, auditoriums and classrooms as well as submarines. There will be space for up to 55 scientists on board. Four Wärtsilä main engines with an output of 2,700 kW enable a maximum speed of just under 18 knots. At a cruising speed of 11 knots, the effective radius is 21,120 nm.

Røkke, who headed the Aker Kværner Group for many years, blames the shipbuilder Vard for the delays in the 500 million dollar project and has already considered stopping work there completely on several occasions. So far, no final decision has been made.

In the meantime, the organization has chartered a smaller replacement ship, the 56-metre yacht “Odyssey”, which was built in 1974.


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Caption: The "REV Ocean" lies unfinished near Vard in Norway (© Eckardt)