Sea change

This Singapore Based Entrepreneur Wants To Build A Superyacht To Save The Planet

With the Earth 300 superyacht, Aaron Olivera is embarking on a radical quest for climate solutions – you could be invited onboard to the tune of US$1 million.

This Singapore Based Entrepreneur Wants To Build A Superyacht To Save The Planet
The Earth 300 superyacht

There are superyachts and then there is the Earth 300. Not only does this floating phenomenon look amazing, it will also help protect our planet if it is built. That’s the grand vision of Aaron Olivera, a Singapore-based entrepreneur who came up with the concept for this ground-breaking, nuclear-powered ship that will transport an army of scientists and climate change experts, helping them gather vital research; it will also sail for eternity.

At the time of writing, Olivera and his team were speaking to financiers and boat builders to turn this bold concept into reality. Full of positivity, he is confident others will share his vision.

“I am not sure this is a massive feat, at the end of the day, all we are doing is building a boat. It’s going to look like a piece of art and yes, it will look as if it came out of a wormhole, but it is still a ship built with materials that exist, it’s going to float, it’s going to be equipped with frontier technologies and it’s going to have the smartest and brightest and most diverse minds on board,” he says proudly.

The Earth 300 superyacht
The Earth 300 superyacht will be built to last for 300 years and hold 300 private guests.

While some might call Earth 300 a moonshot, he refers to it as an “earthshot”, borrowing the terminology from Prince William who recently launched a multi-million-pound prize to encourage people to find solutions to some of Earth’s major environmental issues. Olivera’s main challenge will be to deliver the project in four years’ time, given its grand design and onboard technology.

“It is going to be built as a floating computer with cutting-edge scientific laboratories; even the interiors will be built to inspire volcanic imaginations of those on board, so they will be completely customised and extraordinary. With such intense attention to detail, it will take a lot of time to plan,” he adds. Covid-19 has caused disruptions across global supply chains and multiple sectors, presenting a further challenge to Earth 300’s timelines.

Floating lab

The Earth 300 superyacht
When built, Earth 300 will circumnavigate Antarctica, a 72-day journey that has only been done twice before.

This will be a superyacht like no other. In fact, calling it a yacht may not do it justice. Having spoken with Olivera, fresh from the COP26 climate change conference in Scotland, he calls Earth 300 “an extreme technology platform for science, innovation and research that will pursue landmark scientific discoveries and act as a catalyst for global adoption”.

The plan is for a community of 425 people comprising scientists, students, experts and private guests to live onboard. Some of the private guests will be paying and, while the price of entry has yet to be finalised, it is likely to be around US$1 million ($1.4 million) per person.

“Bear in mind that 80 per cent of profits are being pledged back into the science, so this is not about luxury. This is about solving global problems. Think of the Starship Enterprise, which could be called a luxury craft but it is for science and to discover new lands and hence futuristic,” Olivera claims.

These wealthy clients will get to rub shoulders with some of the brightest minds working on climate change. Described as “the benevolent and the enlightened”, they will be contributing to the preservation of the planet while engaging in clever and meaningful scientific endeavours.

“Clearly, those who love adventure will be first in line as this will offer them the most incredible experience of a lifetime, where they will be able to participate in the cutting edge of science whilst doing good.”

What’s admirable about Earth 300 is that it will adopt an open science and open innovation platform. This means it will make all of its discoveries and research open and available to the public in real time.

“We want to collaborate with the entire world as that is the only way to dramatically accelerate solutions to market. Our ship will have no less than a million sensors and the most advanced computing capabilities (AI and Quantum) onboard so there is no reason why we cannot share it all with the world.”

Vision for humanity

Singapore-based entrepreneur Aaron Olivera
Singapore-based entrepreneur Aaron Olivera

For its maiden voyage, Earth 300 will circumnavigate Antarctica, a 72-day journey that has only been done twice before. After that it will then circumnavigate the Arctic. This is just the start of its ambitious vision to embark on a non-stop navigation course, which in principle means sailing for eternity.

The name Earth 300 signifies its long-term vision (300 years) and its sustainability. “The ancients used to think ahead in 10 generations, that’s what 300 years represents, as well as the fact that the vessel is 300 metres long, and we will have 300 private guests who every year, will journey on a complimentary basis.” Essentially the number 300 is multi-dimensional.

The ship was actually designed by Ivan Salas Jefferson, Earth 300’s chief design officer. But the inspiration for the design came from founder and CEO Olivera. He wanted the ship to be “designed as an Apple computer on water — beautiful, simple and elegant, but as something that came from another world, something that would immediately arrest the eye and inspire the imagination”.

As you’d expect from such a ground-breaking and technologically-advanced ship, it will cost a bundle to build. Current estimates are in the range of US$500 million to US$700 million. Initial monies will be from private investors and corporations, while the bulk of the funding will be from traditional banking sources.

Underwater inspiration

The Earth 300 superyacht is a nuclear-powered ship that will transport scientists and climate change experts.
The Earth 300 superyacht is a nuclear-powered ship that will transport scientists and climate change experts.

The Singapore-based entrepreneur has worked in a wide variety of industries; from training and development, to publishing, retail, hospitality and yachting. Born in Gibraltar, Olivera’s father worked at its busy port his entire life, so perhaps an ocean-focused career was on the cards from a young age. After studying for two psychology degrees in the UK, he eventually booked himself a one-way ticket to Singapore. “And that became the beginning of an odyssey that has today distilled into Earth 300.”

So how did he dream up this ambitious eco-friendly mission?

“It started back in 2015 in the Maldives, where I was spending a lot of time developing a resort. While there, I went for a dive and instead of colourful corals, I encountered white skeletons. They were dead, due to overheating from excess carbon in the atmosphere, I learnt that the oceans act as a carbon sink and heat up, killing sea life, and that if the oceans die, we die as 70 per cent of the oxygen that we breathe comes from the oceans.”

Soon after, he visited the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco where the famous French explorer and marine conservationist Jacques Cousteau was once a director.

“I thought of his vessel Calypso and of being able to take people on grand scientific journeys, along with the greatest minds, explorers, scientists and industrialists, where they would go on a learning journey together.” This idea stuck in Olivera’s brain until the Earth 300 concept was born, a modern-day Calypso that was originally a minesweeper but adapted into a mobile oceanography laboratory.

“The idea of galvanising humanity by building an iconic object that would inspire was a no-brainer, one that would be built as a scientific sculpture for the seas and capture people’s attention, hearts and imaginations on a global scale. Those were really the three main ingredients.”

Bold and ambitious, this just might work.

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