Kjell Inge Røkke, a Norwegian billionaire, one of the richest men in his country has promised to give away $2.7 billion of his fortune help clean plastic from our oceans.

Previously known as “a ruthless corporate raider”, Rokke made his billions in off-shore drilling and shipping companies, but has now had a change of heart, doing a full 360 and wants to help the planet, not destroy it. He wants to clean up the plastic that is suffocating marine life and killing vast numbers of animals.

Røkke is planning to build a 596-foot vessel, called the REV, capable of cleaning more than 5 tons of plastic trash every day from waters. He then plans to melt it down, Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper reported.

The vessel is said to be large and efficient enough to travel around the world, making autonomous expeditions to harvest floating trash whilst simultaneously measuring the ocean’s health.

Røkke states:

“The oceans are also under greater pressure than ever before from overfishing, coastal pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification, and one of the most pressing challenges of all, plasticization of the ocean. The need for knowledge and solutions is pressing.”

The Arctic Ocean, is a the end of the road for billions upon billions of pieces of plastic and non-degradable trash every year. Boyan Slat is the 22-year-old who originally set out to combat this with his own Ocean Cleanup Project. He plans to launch sometime in 2018 to determined the state of our oceans with his brave expeditions.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, over five trillion pieces of plastic are already contaminating our oceans, and by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, by weight.

Polar Bear rescued from plastic-polluted habitat. (Source)

The plastic trash affects animals big and small.

Røkke started out as a humble fisherman and says that the oceans gave him so much, with society reaping the rewards. He now felt it was time to give back and that is certainly something he is doing! The cost of the vessel alone would be the bulk of his net worth, estimated to be around $2.7 billion.

Business Insider has stated that the yacht has the capacity to carry 60 scientists and 40 crew. It would occasionally be used by Røkke and his family as well as possibly carry as many as 36 guests and a crew of 54 — a model that will allow him to generate extra funding for further oceanic research.

It would also become the largest yacht in the world by gross tonnage at 16,000GT, overtaking Alisher Usmanov’s Dilbar by 100GT according to the project’s website.

Røkke told Business Insider:

“The REV will be a platform for gathering knowledge. I would like to welcome researchers, environmental groups, and other institutions on board, to acquire new skills to evolve innovative solutions to address challenges and opportunities connected to the seas.”