It was announced at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali that the Research Expedition Vessel (REV) will be used for education, capacity building, ocean literacy and policy-making programs

The CEO of REV Ocean, Nina Jensen, announced at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali that REV Ocean and owner Kjell Inge Røkke have pledged 500 million USD to save the ocean.
The money will go towards the construction costs of the world’s largest research and expedition vessel and the first three years of operating costs.

With financing from its owner, Kjell Inge Røkke, REV Ocean is currently building the research and expedition vessel which is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

The craft will be available to world leading scientists through independent calls for proposals reaching out to the global marine science community. At the conference REV Ocean announced that the vessel will also be used for ‘education, capacity building, ocean literacy and policy-making programs both through the science program and selected expeditions and symposiums organised on the boat’. REV Ocean’s aim is ‘that the vessel will be an important contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.’

Kjell Inge Røkke is a Norwegian businessman and philanthropist and one of the richest people in his country.  He has pledged to donate a large portion of his own wealth to the improvement of ocean health. As the major shareholder of the offshore fishing, construction and engineering company Aker ASA, Røkke has made much of his fortune from the ocean and is devoted to help tackle the issues the seas face today.

REV Ocean has forged many partnership with other organisations and currently works with UNESCO/IOC, UN Environment, the WEF Friends of Ocean Action, WWF and others in developing the vessel’s scientific program and activities. They are also in close dialogue with the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, as well as the various Norwegian scientific institutions and organisations involved with the ocean.

Nina Jensen said at the conference: “Our hope is that REV Ocean, through our partners and the people on board will make a big difference in the effort to find more sustainable solutions for life in the ocean. We welcome interested parties to reach out to us with good ideas, partnership suggestions and for sharing scientific ocean data and related opportunities. Together we will make sure that the ocean continues to thrive and can provide oxygen, food and jobs for mankind for generations to come – there is no alternative”.

Overall $10.7 billion pledges were made at the fifth Our Ocean Conference, where countries from all over the world committed to tackle and maintain the sustainability of the oceans.

Contract signed to build REV Ocean

The contact has been signed to build REV – one of the largest Research Expedition Vessel’s ever built.

Global designers and shipbuilders, Vard Holdings Limited, secured the deal with Rosellinis Four-10, which is wholly-owned by the Norwegian industrialist Kjell Inge Røkke and his family.

At 182-metre long, REV will be bigger than Andrey Melnichenko’s Sailing Yacht A, although a great deal shorter than the world’s biggest ship, Pioneering Spirit, which is 382-metres long.

Although it will be used by Kjell Inge Røkke’s family for private cruises, REV will be tailor-made for worldwide research and expedition activities, and WWF Norway has already been invited to make use of the vessel.

Renders of REV - Research Exploration vessel

REV will be used for private charters and research expeditions

Developed by Vard Design in collaboration with Kjell Inge Røkke and the designer, Espen Øino, REV is expected to enter service in 2020.

The hull will be built at Vard Tulcea in Romania, and towed to Vard Brattvaag in Norway for outfitting.

After delivery in Norway, the vessel will return to Romania for fairing, deck laying and finalisation of the accommodation area.

Equipped with the latest technology on board, the vessel will be one of the most advanced research expedition vessels in the world.

It will be used for monitoring and surveying marine areas, currents, the seabed, fish, animals and plant life in all of the world’s oceans.

It is no surprise then that the ship’s environmental performance is crucial.

Continued below…

Vard Holding Ltd said that in order to secure the most cost efficient, silent, comfortable and environmentally friendly expeditions in all weather conditions, REV has been designed with slim hull lines in combination with wave-cutting bulb, slender foreship, large propellers and two pairs of stabilisation fins.

Other key features are the energy recovery rudder system, medium speed engines, a direct drive diesel-electric propulsion system with battery package, and an exhaust cleaning system.

The vessel will also employ Vard’s SeaQ Green Pilot, a data driven maritime energy management and operational performance system.

By using real-time measurements, mathematical models and analysis of the REV’s performance, an expert system will give the operator advice on the ship’s performance and fuel consumption.

The research and expedition area features modern laboratories, an auditorium, a hangar for a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) and an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) with direct access to the vessel’s moonpool, and a multifunctional cargo deck.

A picture of a research vessel on the sea

Vard’s subsidary Seaonics has developed a large high-end scientific winch package for handling through the ship’s moonpool and over the side.

A 20 tonne fibre rope crane will be able to reach depths of 6,000 metres, while a pelagic trawl setup with catch selection can be used for operations down to a depth of 3,000 metres.

All operations including trawling will be inside operations either from the hangar amidships or from a horizontal built in A-frame construction at the stern.

In total, REV will have accommodation space for 90 people, although it will only take a maximum of 36 guests on board.

Commenting on the project, Kjell Inge Røkke, said: “My very first large factory trawler was built by Vard 30 years ago, and I have enjoyed a great relationship with the team at Vard since then.”

“I know what Vard stands for, and it is a pleasure to come back and build this Research Expedition Vessel together with them,” continued the Norwegian businessman.

“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,” added Røkke.


Report by Stef Bottinelli and Katy Stickland