Ocean Talks 2019: Alucia2 team urges superyacht owners to help marine scientists
by Miranda Blazeby
Co-CEO of Greenwich Maritime Alexander Flemming joined forces with founder of Gresham Yacht Design, Steve Gresham, at the 2019 Ocean Talks to call on yacht owners to do more to help crucial ocean research.
Superyacht owners have been urged to do more to facilitate crucial ocean research by making their yachts available to the scientific community.
Alexander Flemming, co-CEO of Greenwich Maritime- part of the philanthropic OceanX program, spoke alongside Gresham Yacht Design founder Steve Gresham on the subject “from superyacht to science vessel – how boats can save our sea”.
Owners, crew and industry representatives are in a privileged position, he said, of accessing some of the most remote places on earth. Sharing that access with scientists could significantly further life-changing research.
“We have access to a lot of boats and go to a lot of places where many normal industries do not go,” he said.
The yachting community, he said, has an “armada” at its fingertips and is not doing enough to facilitate crucial marine research that could vastly benefit the world’s threatened oceans.
“The industry is big, we have thousands of boats and we can all do something together by helping the scientific community get out there,” he said.
Even small boats can prove extremely useful to science, he said, by carrying out vital ocean mapping research without even having a scientist on board.
He highlighted sparse sea floor mapping data for the Caribbean Sea as a key example of how superyacht owners can do more. “This is a place where a lot of owners travel and it’s not being captured,” he said.
Smaller yachts capable of davit launching autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) could also prove indispensable, he said. AUVs have previously been used to uncover the wreckages of missing airplanes.
Larger yachts fitted with diving and decompression chambers, the capability to launch submersibles and helicopter operations are all an underused resource that could hugely benefit scientific research.
He urged owners to take inspiration from leading philanthropists who have used their financial power to support crucial scientific research.
He highlighted the late Paul Allen, owner of expedition vessel Petrel, alongside the owner of Falkor, a vessel dedicated to furthering global marine research, Alucia, and the in-build 182 metre REV, a project financed by a Norwegian fishing magnate.
All of these vessels have significantly furthered oceanic research while in operation, he said, pointing to the smoking seamounts discovered by Falkor, the first filming of the giant squid by Alucia and the discovery of the USS Indianapolis on the floor of the Pacific by Allen’s Petrel.
Flemming added: “The superyacht industry doesn’t always look good in the tabloids – let’s turn that around. Let’s make sure that the yachting community is known for doing this.”