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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cousteau's Calypso Deep-Sixed

SINGAPORE -- Jacques-Yves Cousteau's ocean research ship, the Calypso, has sunk in shallow waters off Singapore, a spokeswoman for the Port of Singapore Authority said Thursday.


The 20-meter, converted British minesweeper, in which the famous French oceanographer has toured the globe since 1950, went down Jan. 8 in about 5 meters of water at the shipyard where it had been berthed.


It is now resting on its starboard side with only the corner of its bridge, masts and helideck visible above the port's muddy waters.


The Calypso played a starring role in Cousteau's long-running television series, which pioneered interest in the world's oceans and the conservation of marine life.


The port authority spokeswoman told Reuters the port had been informed Monday at 3 p.m. local that the vessel was sinking.


The Calypso's captain and engineer were on board when the ship began to go down, but no one was hurt, Singapore's state television news quoted port officials saying.


In Paris, officials of the Cousteau Society said the vessel had sunk after being hit by a barge, which tore a hole in its hull at the waterline, quickly sinking it.


The Calypso's master, Marc Alain, was unavailable for immediate comment.


The Calypso, which had arrived in Singapore after a research and filming mission in China and Vietnam in 1994, was awaiting its next expedition to China when it sank, the society said in a statement.


Society officials were in Singapore to refloat the ship and bring it to a port where it could be retired, the society said, adding that "numerous cities are already candidates."


Cousteau, 85, has long planned to replace the vessel and has been raising funds in recent months.


"The Singapore accident will speed up the construction of the Calypso II, which could sail within a year," the society said.


Cousteau told Reuters last month that he planned to make the Calypso II a high-technology ship equipped with a marine laboratory and a television studio to help children explore the underwater world.


The $20 million craft will also boast solar energy panels, a helicopter and satellite transmission facilities.