back to article Frenchman eyes ocean domination with floating, mobile Bond villain lair

A French plan for oceanic domination is shaping up nicely with the news that construction is poised to begin on the SeaOrbiter vessel as early as Spring 2014. Artist's impression of the SeaOrbiter SeaOrbiter: Oceanic domination ahoy Described as "the only vessel in the world allowing a 24h/24 exploration on long-term …


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  1. Blofeld's Cat


    Hasn't El Reg already covered the Steve Jobs statue story?

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge


      Wow, a Maginot Line-like thing at sea. Looks great in calm waters. My money is that it won't fare so well in a North Atlantic storm.

      1. rh587

        Re: Maginot

        Have a look at RV Flip.

        Vertical vessels with deep draughts and a small cross-section exposed at wave level are remarkably stable and have some niche scientific applications where you want a really stable instrument platform.

        In terms of "sail area", this is relatively streamlined compared to the slab side of a supertanker.

        1. peyton?

          Re: Maginot


          There's even video of a "flip" in action.

          Mind officially blown.

        2. Marcelo Rodrigues

          Re: Maginot

          This is EXACTLY what bothers me. A vessel of this kind would barely follow the waves. This is great with waves of less than... 10 meters? Above this, and the wave will hit the wind turbines.

          Well, we can say they are not so critical. How about a 25 meters wave? The thing is 18 meters high - and due to the hull format, will not rise with the wave. Could she stand beeing at 7 meters depth?

          And, yes. 25 meters waves ARE far more common than we imagine:

          1. James Micallef Silver badge

            Re: Maginot

            Waves by definition come and go, it's ultimately the buoyancy that determines if it stays up. As long as it's watertight up top, and is designed/built to withstand the pressure there's no problem. Some waves will cover it completely then they will recede.

            Of course certain delicate structures will need to be retractable / removable

        3. IvyKing

          Re: RV Flip

          That's the first thing that came to mind when reading TFA. I first saw RV Flip on a San Diego Harbor cruise in 1965 and came close to scoring a tour of the ship a few years ago.

  2. PerlyKing

    Shurely Shome Mishtake?

    Looks more like Stromboli's lair from The Spy Who Loved me than anything in Dr No.

    1. Alister

      Re: Shurely Shome Mishtake?

      Beat me too it, I was going to say the same. All you need is the helipad under a glass dome.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Shurely Shome Mishtake?

        Looks more like the Operation Hennessey Underwater SeaLab from the film the Life Aquatic.

    2. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: Shurely Shome Mishtake?

      Karl Stromberg.

      Sheesh, these people who can't tell their Goldfinger from their Blofeld..........

      1. PerlyKing

        Re: Shurely Shome Mishtake?

        @Eponymous Cowherd: "Karl Stromberg"

        It could have been worse - I almost typed Moonraker instead of The Spy Who Loved Me :-)

        1. Eponymous Cowherd

          Re: Shurely Shome Mishtake? (Moonraker)

          Ah, the lovely Hugo Drax:

          "Look after Mr Bond, see that some harm comes to him"

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Shurely Shome Mishtake? (Moonraker)

            Though as I recall, Drax did have the requisite weakness for gray nehru jackets, he was missing the all-important white persian feline accessory.

            (No James Bond icon, so I have to go with unflappable British fearless-foe-of-evildoers from a previous era.)

          2. Stevie

            Re: "Look after Mr Bond, see that some harm comes to him"

            But in all fairness he then went on to repair the nearly dead Robert De Nero just because Jean Reno asked him to.

            And he built a killer diorama of the 47 Ronin in action which did not have any reference to wire-fu, dragons or Keanu F***ing Anderson.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    El Reg Kick Funding

    I propose to forward my name as the first person to sponsor the >45k. I would need a little help from the dear El Reg readers.

    I will even wear an El Reg T-Shirt whilst I am stroking the on-board pussy.....

    Cmon guys, think about it, your names would be printed on the back of the TShirt as being part of fthe official sponsors..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: El Reg Kick Funding

      It is actually cheaper than a lot of big "yacht" style vessels being driven by the new rich ~ 1% of the year while spending the rest in port. The average going price for one of those pseudoboats (ones that will not survive a minimal mediteranean storm) is 17M. The distance from there to 40M is a ag of peanuts.

  4. John Jennings
    Thumb Down

    The windage on that sail looks crazy for an ocean platform.

    if there are ROV etc hanging off the bottom of this for exploration etc, the last thing required is a crosswind. It looks to have beefy nacelles for propulsion, but why waste extra fuel keeping still over the trench?


    1. James Hughes 1

      Don't think it's any worse than a supertanker. It smaller certainly. And you can just turn in to the wind if it gets too much - frontal area looks pretty sensible.

      Seems a bargain at 40M Eur tbh. I'd have one. If I had 200M euros (need some spare for the Lambo)

    2. rh587

      As opposed to the windage on the slab side of a conventional vessel?

      All vessels have windage, which is why ROV carriers and Scientific vessels have substantial bow and/or stern thrusters to help maintain station.

      A design like this one with a massive keel and slender above-surface portion will be quite efficient - it'll be subject to ocean currents, but should resist wind effect and wave action quite well (unless it's a really heavy sea).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    VIP deck?

    I'm totally and unconditionally against any VIP room, anywhere. Always. It keeps people get used to bad habits.

    1. James 51

      Re: VIP deck?

      ""VIP cabin" - temptingly below the waterline for visiting dignitaries"

      Oh this way Senator Sceptical to the VIP cabin. *Later that night on deck* Was the sound the window in the VIP cabin giving way? Pity he didn't vote to give us the funding for all those safety measures we asked for....

      1. SolidSquid

        Re: VIP deck?

        Clearly Bond, as a Commander of the British Navy, would be classed as a VIP. As such I would be disappointed if the bed in this room didn't have the obligatory restraints and cutting laser

        1. Matt 21

          Re: VIP deck?

          ...or perhaps a mirror with hidden Chinese spies filming his adventures from the other side of the mirror?

          ....or a walk-in wardrobe so Goodnight can hide in it awaiting her "turn"..............

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: VIP deck?

      Are you sure?

      A VIP cabin under the water line with a watertight seal door. All you need is a couple of check valves to let the water in and a pump to pump it out later.

      Then it becomes a VIP cabin to die for... (or in...)

      Where did my white cat go...

  6. dogged


    Not a chance. Bond wears Omega Seamasters since forever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rolex?

      Your "forever" must be quite short...

      There have been 23 Bond films, in 11 of which Bond wore a Rolex.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rolex?

      Ian Flemming had bond wearing a Rolex in his the movies Sean Connery...many peoples classic bond, wore a Rolex Submariner.

      The production crew changed it to an Omega Seamaster after Connery, but not before hitting the heady heights of a *spit* digital Seiko.

      1. Peter Simpson 1

        Re: Rolex?

        ...hitting the heady heights of a *spit* digital Seiko.

        Even MI6 had to reduce budgets during the fiscal belt tightening of the's all Q could afford, Bond is lucky he got a would have been a Lorus or an Armitron if Q hadn't gone to bat for him!

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Rolex?

        Bond had a few Seikos in the 1980s, between his Rolex and Omega periods. One of them printed out messages, another had a camera and a display - which 007 uses to snap a picture of a lady's décolletage. Looking at the Seiko G757 Sports 100 (device for tracking Fabergé eggs not included), I'm reminded of the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch - especially the four crosshead bolts on the face.

        1. Shonko Kid

          Re: Rolex?

          Wasn't one of the Seiko's he had one of the TV watches they did?

      3. Frank Bough

        Re: Rolex?

        Seiko watches are far superior to Swiss man jewellery. Kinetic is better than any Swiss perpetual.

  7. mIRCat

    And it keeps on ticking.®

    "Agreeably, Rolex is also on the list, one-time supplier of essential kit to the man who will eventually have to storm and sink the behemoth. ®"

    Unfortunately due to budget constraints for fiscal year 2013 Mr. Bond will be limited to the new Q-provided Timex wrist watch.

    "You see Bond, if you press this button it becomes a stop watch. "

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boys own adventure

    I drew basic outlines of such things as a kid.

    But I grew up with Thunderbirds, Joe 90, Voyage to the bottom of the sea, etc...

    1. bombastinator

      Re: Boys own adventure

      yeah. This thing is pretty reality free. For one thing the subsurface hull is shaped as a reverse lifting body airfoil. The thing would sink just by moving. Even a strong current might pull it under.

      Architects are not engineers, they're artists. This has idiot art school fantasy written all over it. I personally am expecting an upcoming indefinite vacation to the Bahamas for the creator, along with all the money.

      Buildings have pretty well known engineering so for them it works, but a boat is a vehicle. This guy is likely totally unqualified to build something like this. Always a bad sign for investment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Boys own adventure

        Proper architects are engineers, and know how to design things for stress, weather, external forces etc.

        Most modern "celebrity" architects are, as you stated, artists who draw pretty buildings for others to work out.

        Source: my dad is a retired (proper) architect. He can draw and do calculations.

      2. Peter Simpson 1
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Boys own adventure

        ...reverse lifting body airfoil. The thing would sink just by moving.

        That's by [Yanko?] design -- it hides while it moves, then pops up where you least expect it!

      3. Jonathan Richards 1

        Re: Boys own adventure

        > Architects are not engineers, they're artists

        And yet the chaps who design ships and draw the lines for shipbuilders to work with are ... naval architects.

  9. returnmyjedi

    Can't see a chute for dispensing unwanted guests to the circling sharks anywhere on the plans. Puzzling.

    1. hplasm


      The shark is lurking in the bath; last place you would expect one.

      1. BOBSta
        Thumb Up

        Re: Ah-

        Will the sharks have frinkin "laser beams" attached to their heads?

      2. CaptainHook

        Re: Ah-

        The shark is lurking in the bath; last place you would expect one.


        Actually, the last place I'd expect a shark is the aircondition duct.

        Think about it, you, being a sauve internationally recognised undercover agent, are casually walk around the room looking for venomous snakes or spiders or scorpions with a lighter and a can of deodorant thinking you're being all cleaver.

        You open the airconditioning ducting and an angry 3000kg Great White slids out of the duct onto your head toothy end first.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      You do not need one - the VIP cabin is below the water line. Just seal the door and open the viewports to the elements.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not ideal for supervillains

    It's very flash, but the navies of the world could hardly imagine a nicer big, fat juicy target bobbing gently on the waves...

    On the open ocean, there's nowhere to hide...

    1. JurassicPark

      Re: Not ideal for supervillains

      On the open ocean, there's nowhere to hide..., how about IN the open ocean?

    2. SkippyBing

      Re: Not ideal for supervillains

      Yeah, but it's a big ass ocean to search.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not ideal for supervillains


      'kin fing's got a massive radar cross section pretty much whatever direction you look at it.

  11. frank ly


    I see an elongated face with glaring eyes, a shouty mouth and sticky-out ears. The shoulder pads and tutu suggest a flamboyant and deranged personality. I don't want to talk about the rest of it.

  12. 7-zark-7

    Looks like 'Mothership' from Homeworld.

    40Meur seems like bugger all for such a project.

  13. Indolent Wretch

    40M Euros?

    That's the least realistic attempt at a budget I've seen. The British government endorses more realistic budgets for large IT projects than that.

    It's a 5x overbudget if ever I saw one.

    And they've missed out the shark pen and the retractable floor in the lift.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      I'm also not sure how well it would weather a Force 12 storm, which it will certainly encounter at some stage, if it is ever to be deployed at sea for as long as the specs say. But good luck to them - it's a daring idea and they deserve a chance to make it work.

      1. Peter Simpson 1

        But good luck to them - it's a daring idea and they deserve a chance to make it work.

        ...or drown trying.

    2. Stoneshop
      Black Helicopters

      Shark Pen

      And they've missed out the shark pen and the retractable floor in the lift.

      You think those would show up on the declassified drawings?

  14. Martin Kerr

    Omega supply Bond watches!

    1. thomas newton

      as noted above, Submariner in most of the early bond films, and an Oyster Perpetual in almost all the books iirc. this is an example of the same marketing that would have us believe he drank Gordon's a few years back.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        It's just assumed that the Rolex in the books is an Oyster Perpetual, since the first book was published a year before the Submariner was released.

        Come the first Connery film, Rolex wouldn't lend the production a watch, so they used a Submariner belonging to the film's producer, Cubby Broccoli.

  15. Elmer Phud

    Value for money

    This represents far better value for money than the poxy Virgin quickie-ship (which may never end up as a commercial venture - just yet another wet dream from Branson).

    The only drawback I can see is if it becomes part of the plastic island.

  16. DropBear

    I don't get it. Where's the docking port for the Yellow Submarine...?

  17. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Where have I seen plans like this before?

    By the way, the nacelles are well above the centre of drag. When you start the engines, the entire thing will tilt forward.

  18. ratfox

    "the only vessel in the world allowing […] long-term missions of the open sea and the abyss"

    How about using a freaking boat?

    I mean, yeah, the design looks cool, but it's hardly the first time humanity has tried to make an object float in the water…

    1. Hairy Spod

      Re: "the only vessel in the world allowing […] long-term missions of the open sea and the abyss"

      I think that's what the pressured living quarters below decks are all about. Presumably divers can spend more time diving and less time pressuring and despressurising?

  19. F111F


    With that draft, where are the divers going to go? Unless they're planning on turning the underside into a coral reef, swimming about in the open ocean gets pretty boring after a while...

  20. Hairy Spod

    turbine effect

    Will someone with some understanding of aerodynamics kindly explain to me what effect the big wind turbine will have on free floating vessel in deep water?

    Will it help to propel it along in the direction of the wind or resist against it?

  21. cmaurand

    It's quite nice actually

    Seriously. It's no taller than a 12 meter yacht (typically 90 feet). 90 ft of draft is a bit much, but it looks like it would be very stable and a smooth ride. A nice design and it looks be a very elegant work platform.

    1. bombastinator

      Re: It's quite nice actually

      but it won't work. It's not about ugly, it;s about non functional.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already been done

    There are already oceangoing, nuclear-powered icebreakers equipped with ROVs. If you get the right ROV you can hit any depth, so yeah- it's deep enough for you, old man.

    A 24/7/365 platform for looking into the deep bits of the sea is already here. And, indeed, has been since about the 80s.

    And divers? Divers serve almost no purpose for subsea exploration these days. They're stuck in the boring bit at the top.

    Still, it looks deceptively stable- with that massive bulge at the bottom it'll need about a billion tonnes of lead to keep it submerged to that degree, keeping it very bottom-heavy even in winds.

    Don't agree with the thruster layout, though. Should have gone for an ROV-like fixed-vector one for maneuverability rather than the two heifin' big props. You'll never go fast in that thing anyway.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Already been done

      Whilst we're all geeking out on things deep:

  23. Anonymous Coward

    That's a very cool looking design...

    But it looks like something from outer space that would invade Earth's oceans. I guess we need to call Rhianna and Liam Neeson to settle it's hash. (Yes, I watched "Battleship", but I swear that it was only on cable!)

  24. Gobhicks


    That's what the 21st century should look like! More futuristic wackiness, s'il-vous plait, mes amis!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shut up

    and take my money

  26. SkippyBing

    Bit League Division 2

    I mean any self respecting evil genius would have a heli-pad on their aquatic lair. Certainly I'm not stumping up 40 Million Euro unless they add one.

  27. southpacificpom

    Apple to sue?

    They surely must, this thing has rounded corners...

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. John Brown (no body) Silver badge


    Must be long, boring weeks at sea. They feel like they last for 24 days each.

  30. M Francis

    All he has to do is make sure his wife is not talking or hanging around with someone who drinks martinis.

  31. brother451

    Sea Sickness Lair

    AKA the Sea Sickness Lair. Don't they know that this design will result in a maximum of sway at the top deck? Talk about a barfmachine.

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