Blue Titan is the latest luxury yacht to be commandeered for a good cause.
Launched in 2019, the Yachts for Science platform allows enterprising private owners and their crews to team up with marine scientists and researchers for important ocean endeavors. In doing so, the thousands of leisure yachts that are currently traversing the globe can be turned into platforms for vital research. In this instance, Blue Titan hit the seas in support of White Shark Chase. This international collaboration is working to find and protect the last remaining White Sharks in the Mediterranean.
The sailing yacht was used by Virginia Tech professor Francesco Ferretti and his team of scientists to gather more information on the species. It also welcomed a film crew that was tasked with documenting the mission.
“The Mediterranean’s top predator is quickly disappearing from the region,” Ferretti told Robb Report via email. “We must act fast to save this population from extinction.”
Mediterranean white sharks are now critically endangered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. To safeguard the species, scientists need to track and tag sharks to understand more about their migration, eating, and breeding patterns. No easy feat considering locating them is like finding “a needle in a haystack.” Ferretti thought the Sicilian Channel could be a potential hotspot, so Blue Titan and her owner Frank Peeters took the scientists to Tunisia, Lampedusa, and Malta.
The team spent 17 days on board, but much of the work was waylaid by bureaucratic red tape. They did succeed in satellite tagging a Mako shark for the first time in the region, though. They also completed environmental DNA water testing and deployed baited underwater video cameras. More importantly, Ferretti says the trip has laid a path for future expeditions.
“We are close to interacting with these sharks,” he adds. “We now know where they are and the threats they are truly facing. It is a critical moment that needs to be seized with more institutional support, international coordination, and resources in terms of boats and funds. Hence we welcome anybody who is able to help in any capacity.”
The trend of vessels being loaned out to scientists is becoming more common these days, as owners become more focused on sustainability. Cruise lines Viking and Ponant have also started launching ships equipped with high-tech research labs that can be put to use on far-flung expeditions.
Yachts for Science has a catalog of research projects looking for vessel support, from tagging humpback whales in Mexico to plastic debris sampling in Bermuda. If you would like to offer up your yacht or have an idea for a research project, email email@example.com