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Octopus in Antibes, July 21, 2009
|Port of registry:||Cayman Islands|
|Class and type:||LR motor yacht|
|Length:||126.20 m (414.0 ft)|
|Beam:||21.00 m (68.90 ft)|
|Draft:||5.66 m (18.6 ft)|
Octopus is a 414-foot (126 m) megayacht owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It is one of the world's largest and most recognizable yachts. Launched in 2003, Octopus is a private vessel that is regularly lent out for exploration projects, scientific research initiatives and rescue missions.
Octopus has two helicopter pads on the main deck, a twin pad and hangars at the stern and a single pad on the bow; and a 63-foot (19 m) tender docked in the transom and a landing craft. There are a total of seven tenders aboard. The yacht also has a pool, located aft on one of its upper decks, and two submarines (one of them operated by remote control and capable of attaining greater depths). The latter was lent to Google Earth for the "Explore the Ocean" project. Side hatches at the water line form a dock for jet skis.
The exterior was designed by Espen Øino Naval Architects and built by the German shipbuilders Lürssen in Bremen and HDW in Kiel. The interior was by designer Jonathan Quinn Barnett of Seattle.
Octopus was built-in 2003 and refitted in 2008. It is owned by Paul Allen, who also owns Tatoosh, another of the world's 100 largest yachts, and RV Petrel, a highly advanced deep water research vessel.
Allen has loaned Octopus, which is equipped with a submarine and ROV, for a variety of rescue and research operations. These include assisting in a hunt for an American pilot and two officers whose plane disappeared off Palau, and loaning his yacht to scientists to study the coelacanth, a "living fossil" that was once believed to be extinct.
In January 2011, while en route to Antarctica, one of its helicopters was forced to make an emergency landing in the waters off the coast of Argentina. While the helicopter was severely damaged, there was no loss of life, with only the co-pilot suffering minor injuries. Allen was not aboard at the time.
In 2012, he loaned the ship to the Royal Navy in their attempt to retrieve the ship's bell from the Admiral-class battlecruiser HMS Hood, which sank to a depth of 9,000 feet (2,700 m) in the Denmark Strait during World War II, as a national memorial. HMS Hood was hit by a shell from the German battleship Bismarck; its magazines exploded and the ship sank in minutes with a loss of over 1,400 lives. The bell was located but not recovered, due to adverse weather conditions.
In March 2015, an Allen-led research team announced that it had found the Japanese battleship Musashi in the Sibuyan Sea off the coast of the Philippines. Armed with 46 cm (18.1 in) main guns and displacing 72,800 tonnes (74,000 tons) at full load, Musashi and its sister ship Yamato were the largest and most heavily armed battleships in naval history.
On 7 August 2015 it was announced that the bell from HMS Hood had been recovered by the ROV operating from the yacht Octopus. After conservation, the bell is due to go on display in 2016 at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth, England.
On 19 August 2017, it was announced that the wreck of USS Indianapolis was discovered by Paul Allen and his crew aboard RV Petrel in the Philippine Sea in 18,000 feet (5,500 m) of water. The same crew members were aboard Octopus in the previous expeditions to search, explore and identify wrecks.
On 4 March 2018, RV Petrel, also owned by Allen, found the wreck of USS Lexington, a US aircraft carrier which sank during World War II in the Coral Sea, "some 3,000 meters (two miles) below the surface more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) off the eastern coast of Australia."
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Media related to Octopus (ship, 2003) at Wikimedia Commons