Renderings of REV Ocean

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Exclusive: Owner not backing down on plans for world’s largest yacht REV Ocean

17 November 2023 • Written by Dea Jusufi

The 182.9-metre, record-breaking research expedition vessel REV Ocean has resumed construction at one of Vard's facilities in Norway with a new length of 195 metres. BOAT International has confirmed that delivery is scheduled for February 2025, with REV Ocean expected to become fully operational from Q4 2026.

Following the announcement, REV Ocean CEO Nina Jensen spoke to BOAT International: "Since we are a bit behind schedule, there's an increased ambition and impatience to get going. The fact that our owner hasn't backed down is really a testament to his commitment to see this through and, of course, to have an impact at the end of the day."

Credit: Lawrence Hislop

Construction on REV Ocean paused in 2021, but the shipyard has affirmed that its vision for the vessel remains "unchanged" and that work will be done to improve its functionality. This includes an amidships extension of 12 metres, lengthening the existing hull to increase buoyancy and replacing some steel with lightweight materials. REV Ocean will also have a rearranged layout that sees "more space and increased science capacity in the main hangar of the vessel".

Owner and Norwegian businessman Kjell Inge Røkke previously explained: "REV [Ocean] 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."

Nina Jensen described REV Ocean as a "science vessel on steroids"

Although it will not be considered a fully-fledged superyacht, the vessel has been developed in collaboration with leading superyacht designer Espen Øino. Originally set to be outfitted at Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, Germany, the location of REV Ocean's final shed is up in the air with "several different countries" still on the list.

Advanced oceanography equipment will be fitted on board, allowing the vessel to survey marine areas, currents, the seabed, fish, animals and plant life. Following the extension, REV Ocean will have space for a dedicated submarine hangar, a HiPAP system to track subsea equipment and an additional science lab. A 3D printing facility and onboard metal shop will allow the team to be relatively self-sufficient, creating spare parts while on missions.

The shipyard is adding four new guest cabins, which will increase capacity from 28 to 36 guests (not including the 54 crew members)

REV Ocean will also have a media room for conducting livestreamed podcasts and interviews with people on board. “I don’t want to disclose anything we’re planning," added Jensen, "But if there’s someone that you think is super exciting, you can rest assured that this person will be invited to come aboard."

As is fitting for an environmentally conscious project, REV Ocean has been designed to be as fuel efficient as possible, with an energy recovery rudder system, medium speed engines, a direct drive diesel-electric propulsion system, and an exhaust cleaning system. The yacht's increase in size, however, will lead to a 32 per cent increase in fuel capacity (and a corresponding increase in range) – though the shipyard has said that her new length would "have a fairly minor impact on fuel consumption". 

"We eagerly await delivery of this unique research and expedition vessel. We thank all our team members, friends and partners for their patience during this time and look forward to finally setting sail," concluded a spokesperson for REV Ocean.

Once delivered, REV Ocean will be available for charter. Plans for her maiden voyage include a trip to the Arctic via the Norwegian coast, after which she will make her way down to the Southern Ocean via the United States and South America.

Read More/REV Ocean: Inside the build of the world's largest ocean research explorer

More about this yacht

Vard   194.9 m •  2025