OceanX announces plans for 85.3m Alucia2 explorer yacht refit
by Zoe Dickens
OceanX, the non-profit ocean exploration and media production company spearheaded by billionaire Ray Dalio and his son Mark Dalio, with Hollywood director James Cameron, has announced plans to refit the 85.3 metre explorer yacht Alucia2.
Designed to build upon the success of the current 55.75 metre Alucia (the initiative's production arm was formerly known as Alucia Productions), which appeared in the BBC’s highly popular Blue Planet II series and is currently listed for sale with Fraser, Alucia2 was built by Freire and launched in 2010. As part of her transformation into a high-tech scientific research vessel, she is currently undergoing a major refit in The Netherlands, during which significant improvements will be made with the aim of enabling the OceanX team to explore further than ever before.
Highlights will include a forward helicopter landing deck with adjacent hangar, a garage capable of housing three 1,000 metre manned submersibles, a dedicated ROV deployment bay and aft deck launch and side boarding systems for scuba divers. Her upper deck will also feature a 40-ton crane and a 40-ton A-frame as well as space to load 6 metre and 12 metre shipping containers.
Inside Alucia2 will boast state-of-the-art wet and dry marine search labs and a media and production centre allowing the team to create high quality films and documentaries while at sea.
Design input has been provided by London-based Gresham Yacht Design, which commented, “The biggest challenge has been making sure that the vessel satisfies the demands of differing disciplines, from the scientist through to the operators of the submarines, ROVs, helicopters and film production. There is so much still to discover in our oceans and Alucia2 is the vessel that will allow OceanX to deliver truly extraordinary content and data to the world, especially the scientific community. To be involved in a project that is ground breaking is exciting and an important responsibility, it’s one that we are proud to be a part of.”
"Our team of scientists, researchers and filmmakers, including from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the BBC team that brought you Blue Planet II, will explore the oceans and create exciting content and stories to inspire a human connection to the sea," explained Mark Dalio, OceanX Media founder and creative director of its plans for Alucia2. "We plan to bring you the excitement of ocean discovery the way The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau did."
"With OceanX and Alucia2 we will reignite global passion for and curiosity about the ocean in our global, digitally-connected age," added James Cameron.
Delivery is expected in 2019 and, while no official missions have yet been announced for Alucia2, those undertaken by her predecessor include assessing sperm whale populations in New Zealand, tagging manta rays in Raja Ampat, searching for giant squid in the Ogasawara Islands and a full-scale survey of the coral reefs in Palau.