RV Calypso, Cousteau Research Vessel

RV Calypso

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RV Calypso is a former British Royal Navy Minesweeper converted into a research vessel for the oceanographic researcher Jacques-Yves Cousteau, equipped with a mobile laboratory for underwater field research. She was severely damaged in 1996, and is undergoing a complete refurbishment in 2009. The ship is named after the Greek mythological figure Calypso.


World War II British Minesweeper (1941–1947)

Calypso was originally a wooden-hulled minesweeper built for the British Royal Navy by the Ballard Marine Railway Company of Seattle, Washington, USA. She was made from Oregon pine.


She was a BYMS (British Yard Minesweeper) Mark 1 Class Motor Minesweeper, laid down on 12 August, 1941 with the yard designation BYMS-26 and launched on 21 March, 1942. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy in February 1943 as HMS J-826 and assigned to active service in the Mediterranean Sea, reclassified as BYMS-2026 in 1944, laid up at Malta and finally struck from the Naval Register in 1947.


Maltese Ferry (1947–1950)

After World War II she became a ferry between Malta and the island of Gozo, and was renamed after the nymph Calypso, whose island of Ogygia was mythically associated with Gozo.


Jacques-Yves Cousteau's Calypso (1950–1997)

The Irish millionaire and former MP, Thomas Loel Guinness bought Calypso in 1950 and leased her to Cousteau for a symbolic one franc a year. Cousteau restructured and transformed her into an expedition vessel and support base for diving, filming and oceanographic research.


Career (United Kingdom)

Class and type: British Yard Minesweeper

Mark 1 Class Motor Minesweeper

Name: HMS J-826

Builder: Ballard Marine Railway Company, Seattle, Washington, USA

Laid down: 12 August 1941

Launched: 21 March 1942

Commissioned: February 1943

Recommissioned: BYMS-2026 (1944)

Decommissioned: 1947

Renamed: Calypso (1947)

Reclassified: Research vessel

Refit: for Cousteau (1950)

Fate: sunk and raised (1996)

Status: Being refurbished under the direction of the Cousteau Society

General characteristics [1]

Displacement: 360 tons

Length: 139 feet (42 m)

Beam: 25 feet (7.6 m)

Draft: 10 feet (3.0 m)

Decks: Three

Installed power: 2× 580 hp (430 kW) diesel engines

Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)

Crew: 27 in Captain's Quarters, Six Staterooms & Crew Quarters

Notes: Photo & Science Labs

Underwater observation chamber

Helicopter landing pad

Yumbo 3-ton hydraulic crane

Minisub storage hold


Wow, never made the connection that it was a former military ship. We used to watch all the specials that he had on. Those were great shows.


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