Thursday, December 02, 2004


New lease on life for ocean legend's ship



Bordeaux - The ship Calypso, from which Captain Jacques Cousteau conducted expeditions made famous in cinema and television documentaries, got a new owner and new lease of life on Tuesday when Loel Guinness sold it for a symbolic one euro (R7).

The buyer, United States company Carnival Corporation, has said it will give the boat a new $1,3-million (R7-million) lease of life.

Guinness, who hails from the famous Irish brewing family of the same name, "took a decision (to sell) when he saw the project was serious", his French lawyer Fabrice Goguel said on Tuesday.

Calypso, a converted United States minesweeper, has been rusting for the last six years in La Rochelle harbour on France's Atlantic seaboard where it was towed after sinking in Singapore harbour in 1996.

"The ship is be refitted
at a yard in the Bahamas"

Carnival Corporation has said it would finance plans to restore Calypso, which is expected to be moored in the Bahamas as an exhibit.

Cousteau, who died in 1997 aged 87, was an undersea explorer, photographer, inventor of diving devices, scuba pioneer, writer, television producer and filmmaker.

He co-invented the aqualung, developed a one-person, jet-propelled submarine and helped start the first manned undersea colonies.

The ship is be refitted at a yard in the Bahamas at an estimated cost of $1,3-million, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2005.

Cousteau, with his trademark red wool cap, became a household name through his television series "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.

"Previous attempts to refurbish his famous boat have been frustrated by differences between the Cousteau Society, an association chaired by the late explorer's widow Francine, and Guinness, whose grandfather bought the boat in Malta in 1950 and put it at Cousteau's disposal.

Calypso with the Cousteau crew aboard sailed the seven seas before sinking in Singapore harbour in 1996. It was raised and towed to La Rochelle in 1998. - Sapa-AFP

Calypso page from the Cousteau Society.

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