87m expedition vessel OceanXplorer relaunched at Damen

Written by Charl van Rooy

Following an intense two-year rebuild process at Damen in the Netherlands, the 87.1-metre deep-sea research and expedition vessel OceanXplorer (former Alucia 2) was relaunched over the weekend. Gearing up for her maiden voyage to the Indian Ocean, OceanXplorer was rebuilt as the “greatest exploration, scientific research and media platform to ever sail the ocean”, according to project member and renowned filmmaker James Cameron. 

OceanXplorer was built in 2010 at the Freire Shipyard in Spain and spent her life as a deep-sea survey vessel operating from Norway under the name Volstad Surveyor before being acquired by her current owner and brought to the Netherlands for extensive rebuild work in 2018. Along with Gresham Yacht Design, OceanXplorer was developed by some of the most experienced expedition mariners and studio production designers to operate as the most advanced ocean conservation and media platform in the world.Alucia 2 exploration vessel exterior rendering

“With OceanXplorer’s maiden voyage, we will be launching this new series in partnership with BBC and James Cameron that will be airing on National Geographic to venture into some of the least explored parts of the Indian Ocean,” commented Mark Dalio, Co-Founder and Creative Director, OceanX. Alucia 2Photo: OceanX

A 40-ton A-frame at the stern is designed specifically for the deployment of the vessel’s two submersibles which can dive to depths beyond 3,000 feet for up to eight hours. Underwater discoveries will be analysed in the state-of-the-art dry and wet labs on board while OceanXplorer media studio will be able to document and broadcast the groundbreaking discoveries in ultra-high-definition around the world.Alucia 2 yacht submersible hangerPhoto: OceanX

“The project brings together the best scientists, explorers, shipbuilders and media people in the world and it is an unbelievable joy for me to be able to help facilitate this with all these wonderful people and organisations,” said OceanX Co-Founder, Ray Dalio.Alucia 2 yacht wet lab Photo: OceanX

Not only will OceanXplorer be able to scour the ocean surface from below, but with a dedicated helicopter hangar in the foredeck, her team has eyes in the sky at all times; ideal for long-range scouting missions and aerial photography purposes.



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