“A New Ship’s Mission: Let the Deep Sea Be Seen”

“A giant new vessel, OceanXplorer, seeks to unveil the secrets of the abyss for a global audience.”

“In 2014, when crude oil was selling for more than $100 a barrel, the cost of a new drill ship for oil exploration could run to $100 million.

So when the price of oil crashed, Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, an investment firm in Westport, Conn., saw an opening. In 2016, he bought a lightly used oil drilling ship at a very attractive price and transformed it into his dream — a vessel for big science, big technology and big storytelling. Mr. Dalio’s aim is to help Homo sapiens connect more intimately with the ocean, with what he calls “our world’s greatest asset.”

OceanXplorer is now making its operational debut, after years of rebuilding, upgrading and outfitting. So is Mr. Dalio, 71, as a new kind of entrepreneur. He sees his glistening, high-tech ship as a superstar not only of oceanic research but of video production, nature television shows and livestreaming events that will open the abyss to an unusually wide audience.”

William J. Broad reports for the New York Times September 17, 2020.