Oceanx: Coming Soon to a Berth Near You!
Written and Videographed by Mahboob Mahmood
Oceanx is a one-of-a-kind vessel: an innovation-packed platform to discover and engage with our incredible oceans and their inhabitants!
Oceanx and her crew — including marine scientists, biologists, data engineers, divers, filmmakers, and ocean discovery technicians — are dedicated to exploring the oceans and sharing their findings with everyone.
Starting in 2024, Oceanx will be based half the year in Singapore from where she will explore our Pacific and Indian oceans.
During the COP 28 summit in Dubai, I had the privilege of meeting Mark Dalio (Founder and Creative Director), Nicole Thomson (VP of Partnerships), Amy Freeland (VP of Communications), and other Oceanx team members. They invited me to explore Oceanx and I gladly took up their offer.
Neptune and Nadir
Colin Wollerman (Pilot and Technician) showed me around the two manned Triton submarines.
Neptune dives down to 1,000 meters to collect samples using both a vacuum tube and a robotic arm.
Nadir dives with a 2-person film crew who operate high-resolution cameras and powerful lights to film the ocean depths.
The Scuba Centre
Mark Ward next took me to the ship’s incredibly well-stocked scuba centre, complete with a dive boat and dive suits for most kinds of temperatures!
The Decompression Chamber
Oceanx has its own decompression chamber. This chamber, and other medical facilities, enables Oceanx to travel far and wide while safeguarding her crew.
The CTD Profiling System
Mark then showed me the CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth) Profiling System. This is an unmanned system that can go down as deep as needed to collect samples of ocean water and tiny life forms.
The Remote Operated Vehicle
Andrew Craig (ROV Team Leader) showed me the ship’s 6,000-metre ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle). Capable of reaching 98% of the ocean, the ROV is tethered to the ship; it collects samples, takes videos, and gathers all kinds of information.
The Remote Control Centre
We then visited the space-age mission control centre, which acts as the brain and control centre for the ROV.
Who said playing immersive video games doesn’t build science skills?!
Other discovery vessels include an Otter Autonomous Surface Vehicle and a helicopter.
Underneath the ship’s hull is a gondola which contains equipment that maps the ocean floor!
Think about the many ways in which Oceanx can collect data on the shallows and depths of our oceans!
The Wet Lab
Mark then took us to the wet lab. In the wet lab, there are three tanks that can create different environments (salinity, temperature, etc.) to keep alive coral and other sea animals for further studies. A dark, cold tank room can recreate environments for creatures that live in the cold, dark, depths of the ocean. And freezers enable the preservation of specimens for later studies.
The Dry Labs
I then met Mattie Rodrigue (Science Program Lead), who introduced me to two of the ship’s three dry labs. The first lab we visited focuses on imaging and microscopy. Among many very cool things, Oceanx is making 3D images of sea life and will share these globally with scientists, educators, students, and people around the world!
The second dry lab — the Molecular Sequencing Facility — is even cooler! It sequences the DNA of specimens. Because the oceans are so underexplored, Oceanx has already started discovering specimens with new DNA structures!
Through the combination of information-gathering tools and labs, Oceanx is able to collect and analyse the oceans and her inhabitants on an almost real-time basis!!
And this is just the beginning: as the ship’s data streaming and community features get going, Oceanx will be sharing real-time information with and obtaining real-time inputs from scientists, educators, students, and observers around the world.
Stay tuned for the many ways Singapore’s scientists, educators, and students can engage with Oceanx — and through Oceanx with the incredible oceans and life around us!