Blockbuster movie maker, ocean explorer, and New Zealand resident James Cameron had a hand in turning what was a survey ship for oil companies into the most advanced marine research and multi-media production vessel on the planet.
It’s called the OceanXplorer, an 87-metre vessel gutted and retrofitted by Netherlands outfit Damen Shiprepair. It will explore the world’s oceans and bring its research to audiences via a special National Geographic television series titled Mission OceanX. The documentary is being produced in association with the BBC.
The ship’s media studio has been developed by Cameron (above) and production designer N.C. Page Buckner (One Night in Miami, The Amazing Spiderman, Iron Man 2). The on-board studio will also live stream scientific news at the moment of discovery.
Canadian-born Cameron, 66, an environmentalist who owns properties in the Wairarapa, is National Geographic’s Explorer at Large. He will follow the vessel and a team of ocean storytellers and leading scientists.
The OceanXplorer features:
- a resident Airbus H125 helicopter housed in a climate-controlled hangar
- onboard molecular biology, and imaging laboratories, onsite DNA sequencing capabilities,
- two manned Triton submersibles that can reach depths of more than 1000m
- a remotely operated underwater vehicle that can dive to 6000m
- a 40-tonne crane for launching and recovering the submersibles
- the vessel is also the only ship in the world capable of utilizing 8K RED cameras at a depth of 6000m.
Mission OceanX will premiere in 171 countries and 43 languages. The first season will focus on the North Atlantic Ocean and thereafter on the world’s other oceans.