This man has spent most of his life benefitting from the abundance of the ocean – but now he believes the seas are in danger and wants to give back to the waves that provided so much to him.

Kjell Inge Røkke, a Norwegian billionaire who made his money from fisheries and off-shore oil investing, is using “the lion’s share” of his $2.7 billion fortune to build a mega yacht that could be a pollution game-changer.

The Research Expedition Vessel (REV) will be a 600-foot ship that will maneuver the ocean’s waters sucking up plastic waste. Capable of accumulating and recycling up to 5 tons of plastic per day, the REV will also double as a mobile laboratory for scientists to monitor and observe the ocean’s ecosystems.

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Because the ship was built in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, the REV has been designed to have the highest environmental standards. Once completed, it will be deemed the world’s largest yacht.

The REV will also be self-sustainable in terms of funding – the facilities can be reserved for private charters, accommodating up to 36 guests and 54 crew members. On a more daily basis, however, the ship will play host to 60 scientists and 40 crew members.

The scientists on board will have some of the most hi-tech research equipment available to them in order to fully observe the seas. Røkke hopes that the team will be able to utilize these facilities to discover new ways to assist and nourish the ocean’s ecosystems.

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“I am a fisherman, and curious by nature,” says Røkke. “Resources in the oceans and on the seabed have provided significant value for society – and also for my family and myself. For this, I am very grateful.”

“However, the oceans are also under greater pressure than ever before from overfishing, coastal pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification, and one of the most pressing challenges of all, plasticization of the ocean. The need for knowledge and solutions is pressing.”

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