A man who has profited from the abundance of the oceans through his fishing business, now wants to give back to the waters that gave him so much. Kjell Inge Røkke, a Norwegian billionaire, is investing “the lion’s share” of his $2.7 billion fortune to build the Research Expedition Vessel (REV) – a 600-foot ship that will travel the oceans sucking up plastic waste. It is capable of accumulating and recycling up to five tons of plastic per day, and it will also double as a mobile laboratory for scientists to monitor and observe the oceans’ ecosystems.
The ship was designed in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund so that its construction meets the highest environmental standards. Once complete, it will be staffed by 40 crew members and 60 scientists who will use hi-tech research equipment to analyze the oceans’ struggling ecosystems. “The oceans are under greater pressure than ever before from overfishing, coastal pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and plasticization of the ocean,” says Røkke, “The need for knowledge and new solutions is urgent.”