Joining the REV Ocean team in 2018, CEO Nina Jensen also serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Opportunity Report and is a member of both the Adjudication Committee for the Nordic Council Nature and Environment Prize and the Expert Committee of the Thor Heyerdahl Award. All of these qualifications make her the ideal person to introduce the theme of responsible luxury to a new audience in the yachting industry.
REV Ocean is a novel way of doing that. At 600ft, she will be the largest superyacht in the world once complete, pipping Azzam by a mere 10ft. Norwegian billionaire businessman and philanthropist Kjell Inge Røkke has funded the project to date. Working with Jensen, Røkke has one mission for Rev Ocean: to make the ocean healthy again.
Still, the superyacht industry hardly has a stellar reputation when it comes to sustainability, so what makes REV Ocean any different? Jensen tells us just how this most super of superyachts will inspire change throughout the industry.
What exactly is REV Ocean, and what is its purpose?
As the world’s largest and most advanced research and expedition vessel, REV Ocean has been designed with one purpose — to save life in the ocean. It’s a simple goal with a very complex solution, and REV Ocean is designed to be an effective tool in that solution.
How important is REV Ocean’s mission?
The destruction of our ocean is arguably the biggest threat known to our planet. Not only does the ocean provide us with more than 50% of the oxygen we breathe, but it also regulates our climate, provides an essential food source for billions of people around the world, and employs hundreds of millions of people — and these are just the tangible benefits. There are also thousands of intangible benefits that are often not factored into the equation. With REV Ocean I believe that we can help find solutions to the issues facing our oceans, which, in essence, come down to three main areas: climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution.
Where will REV Ocean’s maiden voyage take her?
Our aim is for REV Ocean to embark initially on a pole-to-pole voyage, but of course a lot depends on the timing of her delivery. Many of the areas we want to travel to are inhospitable even at the best of times and only accessible at certain times of the year, so where we will go really depends on the delivery date, and it is not yet clear when this will be. However, the overall plan is to be brave and bold in our scientific research and to take REV Ocean to all parts of the world’s oceans; REV Ocean is a global and all-encompassing mission.
How will scientists be able to access REV Ocean?
We have established an independent scientific committee consisting of global experts in their respective fields of climate change, plastics and fisheries to help guide us in our selection process. These global experts, in collaboration with the Research Council of Norway, will be completely independent and objective, ensuring the scientific credibility of REV Ocean. What is certain is that applicants will only be selected if their project contributes to REV Ocean’s mission, and one of our requirements is that all of their findings be openly shared with the scientific community for the benefit of everyone. Many yacht owners are increasingly aware of their responsibility for safeguarding our oceans, but REV Ocean is leading by example.
As a scientific research vessel, how does she compare to a superyacht?
She will have dual roles. Her primary mission is for scientific research, but she will also be used for superyacht charter. Guests will be able to join scientific experts in an immersive, once-in-a-lifetime expedition. We hope that if we set an example and show how this can work then other megayacht and superyacht owners will follow suit, and be encouraged to put their own vessels forward for scientific research purposes. There are some fantastic initiatives available to yacht owners, including marine conservation programs such as The International SeaKeepers Society.
As the largest yacht in the world, how eco-friendly is REV Ocean?
The complex logistics involved in the construction of REV Ocean mean that she will never be truly ‘green,’ and we would not try to pretend otherwise, but we have done our absolute best to integrate sustainability into all aspects of her build and future operations. From the materials used and their sourcing, to the ultra-quiet hybrid propulsion, sustainability has been at the forefront of every decision — otherwise we would already have failed in her mission to protect our oceans before even starting. Everything we use on board has been sustainably sourced, and we have developed specific food, clothing and water programs that eliminate waste. Any carbon that cannot be eliminated for practical reasons is offset through mangrove restoration, and there are no single-use plastics on board.
How important is it that others follow in REV Ocean’s wake?
Our hope is that REV Ocean will be a source of inspiration to the superyacht industry, not only in terms of her build but in the way she is operated. Finding positive ways in which the yachting and boating industry can contribute to protecting the ocean is of vital importance and, certainly, this should begin with the owners, who themselves get so much joy from the ocean that giving back should be a priority. From switching to alternative fuels or energy sources to implementing environmental best practices on board, there are many ways in which a yacht can be run efficiently and sustainably.
What do you believe the future holds for our ocean?
I am optimistic that with great effort and collaboration, we can make a change and over the next decade start to turn the tide on ocean conservation.
This article appears in the 06 Jun 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Summer 2022