Cousteau's Calypso could sail again in 2016

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Cousteau's Calypso could sail again in 2016

Wed, 13/01/2016 - 19:44
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The Cousteau Society have announced that they have secured the means to restore the famous vessel and take her back out to sea.

Cousteau refitted the former WW2 minesweeper for oceanographic research and brought marine science to popular awareness with his long-running television series The Undersea World of Jaques Cousteau and the award-winning films The Silent World and World Without Sun.

The Calypso was severely damaged in 1996 when it was rammed by a barge at harbor in Singapore and sank. She was raised a week later, patched and transported to La Rochelle, France, where she remained in the custody of the city's maritime museum for years while a complex custody battle between her owners and Cousteau's family played out.

Stuck in legal limbo

She was supposed to undergo a complete refurbishment in 2009-2011 but the process was once again stalled over issues with outstanding payment to the shipyard. In 2014 the yard's owners sought a court order for her removal, plus payment of 300,000 euros for storage fees and work completed. In March, 2015, after a long legal battle, a French court has ordered Francine Cousteau, the second wife of the late Jacques Cousteau, to settle outstanding yard bills of €273,000 and remove the Calypso from a Brittany shipyard or the shipyard will be allowed to sell the vessel.

The disagreement now appears to be resolved. On 6 January 2016 the Cousteau Society announced that a solution had been found to allow the ship to return to service, complete with the new Volvo engines. Cousteau Society stated that it had been able to gather “... a group of generous and highly motivated international sponsors, whose objectives are compatible with those of the Cousteau Society."