The sturdy wooden minesweeper has seen many reincarnations - as a ferry, an oceanic research vessel, a television icon and a sad victim of a 1996 collision in Singapore.
Restored, she will sail again as an Ambassador for the Seas and Oceans, as Captain Cousteau wished.
Since the tragic collision in Singapour, Equipe Cousteau has fought to resurrect her as an inspiration for future generations and a platform for Education and Science, carrying the legacy of Captain Cousteau and the Cousteau flag all around the world.
Calypso has been awarded the label Boat of Heritage Interest (Bateaux d'Intérêt Patrimoniaux), by the French Maritime and River Heritage Foundation. The certification awarded for 5 years since January 2012, has just been officially announced by the Foundation. It is a great recognition for this floating legend which have sailed the world's oceans. It is also an opportunity for a reminder on Calypso's situation:
- Purchase by Loël GUINESS, Cousteau sponsor, July 1950
- Certificate of registry (equivalent of the car registration document) drawn up in error in the name of COF (Campagnes océaniques françaises [French Oceanic Campaigns]) which was only the lessee of the ship, due to an error when the files were amended in 1967.
- COF is an association which became obsolete and which was not closed by the Captain.
- When the ship was wrecked in Singapore in 1994 the registration error was discovered.
- Contact with COF with a view to rectification by mutual consent of the title: refused
- Transfer of the ship from GUINESS to the Equipe Cousteau association - July 2005
Clarification of the ownership status of Calypso took long years of legal procedures. In the meantime, no investment in Calypso restoration was possible.
Today, the justice definitely recognized that Equipe Cousteau is the owner of the ship:
Proceedings to claim ownership brought by Equipe Cousteau:
- Paris High Court ruling: Equipe Cousteau is the owner
- Appeal by COF: Paris Appeal Court ruling: Equipe Cousteau is the Owner (Paris Appeal Court, 28/04/2006);
- Appeal to the Court of Cassation by COF: CCASS ruling: confirmation of the appeal ruling (Court of Cassation, 11/12/2007): Equipe Cousteau is the owner of the ship.
The first phase of this challenge has been accomplished on the 12 october 2007, when Calypso arrived at the Piriou shipyard in Concarneau (France), on a dry-dock. Since January 2009, a disagreement between Piriou Naval Service and Equipe Cousteau has stopped the restoration work. Calypso restoration is a great project and adventure, but unfortunately strewn with pitfalls.
Restoration of the ship in Piriou Naval Service (PNS) dry dock:
- 14/09/2007: estimate n° 061205 ER transport of the ship Calypso to PNS, for a sum of 478,400 Euros Including All Taxes; this work was paid for and completed
- 14/12/2007: PNS bid n° 071133 bis, disassembly of the ship Calypso, for a sum of 396,216.86 Euros Including All Taxes; this work was paid for and completed.
- 15/03/2008: commercial proposal for restoration of the wooden hull of the ship Calypso for a sum of 1,452,500 Euros Excluding Taxes.
This proposal included a staggering of the payments and also a 9-month period for completing the said work. Equipe Cousteau accepted it on 15 June 2008.
- 21/10/2008: order for steel construction work for a sum of 199,275 Euros Excluding Taxes
- December 2009: cessation of payments by Equipe Cousteau and TCS on the grounds of poor workmanship observed on the ship, and delays in the work
- January 2009: PNS, giving as its reason to cessation of payments, ceased work.
- 1/12/2009: appointment of Mr GOUZE to undertake an expert appraisal
- January 2011: Expert report confirming the position of Equipe Cousteau and of TCS
"Concerning the observed poor workmanship, it must be repaired…"
The poor workmanship cited and confirmed by the expert report concerns the following items:
1 - Axiality and shapes; 2 – Plating; 3 – Securements; 4 – Ribs; 5 – Stringers; 6 - Main deck beams; 7 - Web frames; 8 - Upper side bulwark stanchions; 9 - Upper deck beams; 10 - Folds of side portholes
"currently, given the state of progress of the work, Equipe Cousteau has paid, from the value of the wood work, assessed at 1,452,500 Euros Excluding Taxes according to exhibit n° 3 of Maitre Renard, 752,508 Euros Excluding Taxes, which includes the work already undertaken (…) i.e. 105,600.29 Euros of steel work.
The sum paid by Equipe Cousteau for the wood work in light of the foregoing is 649,907.71 Euros.
And the wood work is estimated, at the current state of progress, at 503,375.00 Euros, i.e. 35% of 1,452,500 Euros: hence there is an overpayment of 138,532.71 Euros."
We hope to resume the restoration works as soon as possible..!