INTO THE DEEP

Guests at an exclusive, island resort in Vietnam can now view the region’s colourful aquatic life in unparalleled clarity thanks to a new 24-person submarine with panoramic windows that takes tourists to depths of 100m in air-conditioned comfort.

Built by Florida-based Triton Submarines, the 15.4m DeepView 24 sports large, 140mm-thick acrylic windows, a radical design departure from the limited views provided by more conventional submarines.

This one is more akin to travelling in a clear, elongated tube, with enough headroom for passengers to stand. It was commissioned by luxury resort chain Vinpearl as an additional experience for guests staying at its resort on Vietnam’s Hon Tre Island in Nha Trang.

Thanks to its electric propulsion and steering systems, the sub is virtually silent. It’s powered by two 20kW main thrusters and four 12.6kW Vertran thrusters, all serviced by a 240kWh bank of lead-acid batteries. This keeps the sub operational for up to 14 hours, gliding along at a top speed of three knots.

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And to offset the darkness and lack of colour in the depths, the vessel’s fitted with ten 20,000-lumen LEDs. To control descents/ascents, the sub uses around 1,800kg of variable ballast in addition to 4,000kg of fixed main ballast.

The vessel is also the first of a range of Triton’s DeepView tourist submarines that can be built in different lengths to customer specifications, able to accommodate between 12 and 66 passengers. As a modular design, additional sections can be added six seats at a time.

If you think the Triton name sounds familiar you’d be correct: the company is arguably the world’s leading manufacturer of deep-sea exploration submersibles. Last year its Limiting Factor submersible made a record-breaking dive to 10,927m – the planet’s deepest point called Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench.

Triton says DeepView 24 was developed in response to the rising demand from travellers and tourists for adventure and experience-based holidays. “This ‘sub-sea tourism’ has grown exponentially as interest in our oceans has developed, driven in part by the popularity of internationallyrecognised programmes such as Blue Planet II.”

Company co-founder and CEO Bruce Jones says with its panoramic views DeepView 24 represents a quantum leap forward in submarine technology, providing a vastly improved, fully-immersive guest experience.

“Of the near 60 tourist subs that have operated in the past 34 years, the DeepView 24 is competitively superior in all respects. It is the most significant commercial tourism submersible to be brought to market in the past two decades.”

The pilot drives the sub with a joystick and touchscreen. There are manual overrides in case of malfunction, and the vessel is certified to International Classification Standards by DNV-GL.

SPECIFICATIONS

Operational depth 100m

Passengers 24 Crew Pilot & Co-pilot

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Speed 3 knots

Endurance 14 hours

Main ballast 4,000kg

Length 15.4m

Beam 3.6m

Height 3.6m

Weight 55,000kg

Acrylic thickness 140mm

Battery system Dual supply & emergency Main battery 240kWh

Main thrusters 2 x 20kW

Vertran thrusters 4 x 12.6kW

Controls Joystick, touch screen, plus manual override

External lights 10 x 20,000 lumen LED

Life support Oxygen & CO2 scrubber