Damen Yachting sells 55-metre Yacht Support Gene Chaser

Amels and Damen Yachting have sold the 55-metre Yacht Support Gene Chaser. The name of the yacht was unveiled during a private ceremony held at the Dutch builder’s shipyard in Vlissingen. Complete with custom fleet colours and a research laboratory, the Yacht Support will be used alongside the Amels 180 Gene Machine.

Gene Chaser, from Damen Yachting’s YS 5009 Yacht Support range, was originally launched in late 2020 as Blue Ocean. Over the last two months, it has been adjusted to meet the owner’s requirements for setting up the interior as a working research laboratory and hub for ongoing scientific projects.

Also read: Damen launches yacht support vessel Blue Ocean

Wet and dry laboratory

The main salon has been converted into a working wet and dry laboratory, and other interior areas have been designed for conferences and educational purposes. Guest suites allow for eight visiting researchers and experts, while the crew areas can now accommodate a crew of seven and four full-time scientists.

The substantial 225-m2 exterior deck, with a knuckle-boom 13-tonne capacity crane, provides ample space for Gene Machine’s Fjord 42 and a Hatløy Maritime Oxpro AL8 landing craft, as well as additional mission-specific equipment.

Sea Axe hull

Gene Chaser is the eighth Yacht Support to be launched from Damen Yachting’s YS 5009 design. As with all Yacht Supports, of which fifteen in total have already been delivered in the last ten years, it features the successful Damen Sea Axe hull form delivering unrivalled seakeeping capabilities.

What sets Gene Chaser apart from the seven YS 5009s before it is the large multipurpose Main Deck hangar, which can be used for submersibles and dive operations, or as a vehicle garage and workshop. Like its sister ship Gene Machine, Gene Chaser will be outfitted with matching colourful LED name boards in March.

Going after genes

Owner Dr Jonathan Rothberg sums up the motivation behind Gene Chaser. ‘Coronavirus reminded us of the fragility of our world. Whether it’s a global pandemic or global climate change, each of us must rise to the challenges we face, as we are best prepared. For my family, this means Gene Chaser and her onboard Gene Lab – a next generation lab to address mankind’s greatest challenges. Gene Chaser will be the tip of the spear as we deploy never before available technology to characterise, understand, and expand our knowledge of biodiversity, and identify nature’s solutions – within her genes – to the world’s greatest existential threats.’

Dr Rothberg confirms this is also the origin of the name Gene Chaser: ‘We are going to go after genes to combat global warming and clean up the oceans and the air. That’s why it’s the Gene Chaser. In our planet’s very genes lie the answers to our biggest challenges and the key to our salvation.’

Also read: Damen gives preview of 58-metre SeaXplorer expedition yacht

Vessel particulars

  • Length: 55.5 metres
  • Gross Tonnage: 499
  • Speed: 20 knots
  • Range @ 10 knots: 5000 nautical miles

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.