The billionaire who wants to clean up the oceans with a massive yacht

Off the coast of Brattvåg, Norway, just a few hundred miles below the Arctic Circle, the 600-foot Rev looms in the North Atlantic. It is the shell of a ship: forged but not yet outfitted, with a tan-and-black hull that makes it look like a dredged-up wreck.

“I see myself spending two months of the year on the boat,” says its owner, the Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke. Each detail of the vessel requires his sign-off: the submarine, the helipads, the three pools, and hot tubs. But this is not your typical billionaire plaything. Also onboard are eight laboratories and a remote operating vehicle that can descend to a depth of 19,000 feet, according to Forbes.

Rev is a floating contradiction. On one hand, it is the largest superyacht in the world – the apex of self-indulgence – at a cost of about $350 million. Yet Rokke prefers a different framing. Rev, he insists, is a research vessel. The plan is simple. Rokke, 61, will let scientists use the yacht for free to plot oceanic garbage patches, assess fish stocks and test water acidity levels. When they aren’t onboard, he’ll use it himself for pleasure, or rent it to the world’s glitterati and donate the proceeds to conservation projects.

Rokke, like the yacht, is a contradiction. He amassed his $1.7 billion fortune by extracting from the seas, from trawling to offshore drilling to commercial shipping.

“I’m part of the problem,” he admits. Now, he says, he wants to clean things up. But not enough to divest himself from his portfolio of polluting companies.

One response to “The billionaire who wants to clean up the oceans with a massive yacht”

  1. Liz Rolfs says:

    Probably better to have him in charge of the polluting companies while he can contain them (we hope) rather than selling to others who may not give a damn. It is at this time when nature seems to be fighting back at us, that he and others really need to consider what they are doing (and not merely making gestures about cleaning up after themselves however small a welcome that is)

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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