Kjell Inge Rokke, one of Norway's richest men, decided to develop a giant vessel capable of collecting and melting up to five tonnes of plastic every day.
The Research Expedition Vessel (REV) is a 182 meter superyacht designed by Espen Oeino to hold 60 researchers and 30 crew members.
The mega yacht - the largest of its kind in the world - nwill be managed by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Norway and equipped with energy management systems, a laboratory, aerial and aquatic drones, an auditorium, two helipads, multiple work boats, and several other scientific facilities.
"We will experiment with ways to catch plastic out of the sea. I want to give back to society the bulk of what I've earned. This ship is a part of it…sea covers 70 percent of Earth's surface, and much is not researched," Rokke told newspaper Aftenposten. Røkke recently declared he plans to give away a significant share of his wealth.
Kjell Inge Rokke has a fortune estimated at $2.6 billion. He built his seafood and shipping empire from scratch, starting out as a fisherman with no secondary or higher education. In 1979, he moved to the U.S. to work on fishing trawlers in Alaska. Working as a fisherman, he saved up enough money to buy his first trawlers. He eventually owned the American Seafoods Company. Røkke was based in Seattle, Washington in the 1980s, owning and operating American Seafoods Company and Resource Group International (RGI), which included Brooks Sports and Helly Hansen. He returned to Norway in the mid-1990s,
The oceans, he said, "have provided significant value for society" and directly to him and his family.
"However," he added, "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."
"I look forward to working with scientists, marine experts, environmentalists, and positive, knowledgeable, solution-oriented people both in Norway and internationally, “he said. “The ship will be offered as an arena for scientists and explorers from all over the world."
The Research Expedition Vessel will be ready to sail by 2020, and all expenses will be paid by the billionaire.