The legendary marine explorer's pioneering ship Calypso is to relaunch as a touring exhibiton
The Calypso was sunk and badly damaged when a barge in Singapore accidentally rammed it in 1996, a year before his death.
The renovated ship will include the Cousteau-designed mini-submarines, the underwater scooters, aqualungs, diving suits, cameras and other emblematic equipment used during his expeditions.
“It has been many years since this renowned ambassador for the seas and oceans last sailed,” said his wife, Francine Cousteau.
“We need help to complete Calypso‘s refurbishment, but we are extremely pleased and excited by the prospect of her touring again.”
Built at the height of the Second World War in Seattle, Calypso was commissioned as a British minesweeper in 1943.
She was acquired in 1950 by the Irish millionaire and former MP Thomas Loel Guinness, who leased it to Cousteau for a symbolic one franc per year.
It was outfitted to Cousteau’s specifications in 1950, including a mobile lab to support his research and a unique “false nose” used as an underwater observation chamber.
Instantly recognisable by his red cap and gaunt silhouette, Cousteau developed pioneering techniques to capture many of the world’s first glimpses of deep-sea life on his specially modified ship.
His son, Pierre-Yves Cousteau said, “If he were alive today, my father would be gratified by the creation of marine protected areas in many countries and I know he would also be distressed by the ongoing pillage of oceans by industrialised fisheries and by the catastrophes that stem from exploiting off-shore oil resources.”
The public is invited to contribute to an online book of remembrances and appreciation at www.cousteau.org.