It is said that economics and ecology seldom go hand in hand. However, Norwegian entrepreneur Kjell Inge Røkke and his family present a perfect example to prove the general opinion wrong.  Røkke has revealed plans for a brand new ice-strengthened research expedition vessel REV which will be built in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). According to the plans, the yet unnamed ship will be ready in 2020 to set sail.

The newly planned research expedition vessel REV will feature the highest ice-class and will be built according to IMO Polar code. It will be able to navigate in medium first-year ice. Picture: www.rosellinisfour-10.no
The newly planned research expedition vessel REV will feature the highest ice-class and will be built according to IMO Polar code. It will be able to navigate in medium first-year ice. Picture: www.rosellinisfour-10.no

Construction of the vessel will take place in several stages, with the hull to be built at VARD’s Tulcea facility in Romania. It will then be towed to the company’s shipyard in Brattvaag, Norway for outfitting, and following hand over to her owner in Norway in the summer of 2020, the ship will be returned to Romania where fairing, deck-laying and finalisation of the accommodation areas will take place. As the brainchild of Røkke, and working together with the World Wildlife Fund Norway, the REV is designed with worldwide research and expedition activities in mind. The ship will be used by researchers and marine experts to study and understand the ocean’s environmental changes and to address these critical issues. It is, therefore, no surprise to find that the REV is fitted with a number of eco-friendly and sustainable energy solutions. Just some of these include a slim hull line and efficient wave-cutting bulb to help reduce fuel consumption from the medium-speed engines. Further below the waterline is an energy recovery rudder system and battery package with an exhaust cleaning system. Røkke gives some insight about the concept behind this project: “There may not be any economic rationale for the private construction of such a ship, but the case is compelling from the oceans’ point of view. I look forward to working with scientists, marine experts, environmentalists and positive, knowledgeable, solution-oriented people both in Norway and internationally. The ship will be offered as an arena for scientists and explorers from all over the world. The vessel will be built to the highest standard making it suitable for charter to private individuals, companies and institutions, which will generate research funding, and my family and I will also charter and use the ship as a place for recreation and inspiration."

The plans include the use as a research vessel as well as a luxury expeditionary ship to take 36 passengers to remote places like the Polar Regions. Even Kjell Inger Røkke and his family will pay for the use of the ship and thus help to fund it. Credit: www.rosellinisfour-10.no
The plans include the use as a research vessel as well as a luxury expeditionary ship to take 36 passengers to remote places like the Polar Regions. Even Kjell Inger Røkke and his family will pay for the use of the ship and thus help to fund it. Credit: www.rosellinisfour-10.no

In terms of specifications, the REV’s numbers read as follows: her hull spans 22 metres across and draws 5 metres below the waterline under light ship conditions, sticking 40 metres above the waterline. This, together with her impressive length, equates to a total Gross Tonnage of 16,000 GT. Her two 2,400 eKw Caterpillar engines will drive the REV to a max speed of 17 knots and at half load, will be able to cruise non-stop for 21,120 nautical miles (that is 98% of the distance around our planet). In research mode, she can carry up to 60 scientists and 40 crew members. During luxury expedition trips the REV is designed to host up to 36 guests together with a company of 54 crew members. “REV will probably be the most important ship I’ve ever worked on,” comments Espen Oeino. “It will also be the most special one – the vessel needs to meet the highest standards in so many areas at the same time. REV will operate under demanding climatic conditions, accommodate some of the most advanced research equipment and at the same time have a standard that is required for charter within this market. By combining knowledge, research and financial resources, my hope is that REV will make an important contribution to addressing and solving the challenges faced by the oceans.”

The future owner of the ship, Kjell Inge Røkke, counts as one of the richest people in Norway and heads Aker ASA. He started as a fisherman and worked many years in the USA before returning to Norway and founding Aker ASA. Credit: HELGE MIKALSEN VG
The future owner of the ship, Kjell Inge Røkke, counts as one of the richest people in Norway and heads Aker ASA. He started as a fisherman and worked many years in the USA before returning to Norway and founding Aker ASA. Credit: HELGE MIKALSEN VG

Source: Charl van Rooy, www.superyachttimes.com