A gent named Kjell Inge Røkke is one of Norway’s richest men, worth some $2.6 billion. He made his fortune in the shipping and offshore drilling industries. “The sea has given me great opportunities. I am grateful for that,” Røkke told Aftenposten. “I will give back to the community the bulk of what I have earned.”
As part of Røkke’s give-back he’s commissioned the world’s largest superyacht, a 595-footer with a crew of 30.
But this will be no idle pleasure craft: Instead the vessel will be managed by the World Wildlife Fund Norway, and the boat’s 30 crew members will host up to 60 researchers. There is room on board for 32 shipping containers, in which researchers can create their own specialty laboratories. This REV (Research Expedition Vehicle) will be loaded up with scientific equipment—” becoming a complete state-of-the-art oceanographic research center”—and, intriguingly, will also serve as a cruising clean-up and disposal platform:
…On its way, [floating] plastic rubbish will be sucked up and burned on board without a single toxic discharge. The ship gets the capacity to melt five tons of plastic a day.
“We will experiment on ways to catch plastic out of the sea,” says Røkke.
The construction and operating costs of the ship, including the crew’s salaries, will all be paid for out of Røkke’s pocket.
“Sea covers 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and much research has not been done,” says Røkke. “I have a desire to give something back. The ship should be a platform to reap more knowledge and understanding. Researchers and other knowledge communities will hopefully together develop solutions and make a difference.”