When the builder decided to build a new live-aboard, he decided to build her locally, in Phuket, because that is where he lived and because everyone said that it couldn’t be done. We built Ocean Rover in 18 months, using only local labour under western supervision.

The general lay-out and specifications were based on his previous experience in operating M/V Fantasea but the actual design was by naval architects from Waconda Yard Team in Singapore. Design parameters were to build a stable, seaworthy commercial motor yacht that can safely and economically operate luxury diving cruises in remote offshore locations.

Wherever possible, Ocean Rover was designed in accordance with U.K. Flag Administrations “Code of Practice for Safety of Large Commercial Motor Vessels” (MCA Code). However, due to practical reasons of building and registration in Thailand, the vessel has not been classed.

Structurally Ocean Rover was designed to Lloyd’s classification of Special Service Craft G3, for commercial pleasure yachts operating 150 nautical miles from safe haven. Throughout the construction period we adhered as closely as possible to Lloyd’s classification requirements. Approved Japanese shipbuilding steel has been used throughout. All the steel was sandblasted and coated with zinc primer in Bangkok and subsequently trucked to Phuket by a convoy of trailer trucks.

Stability standards for both intact and single compartment damage satisfy MCA Code requirements. Computer generated hull damage scenarios have shown that the vessel will stay afloat even with a completely flooded engine room. The forward half of the hull is a double bottom, which, together with the six watertight compartments, makes Ocean Rover an extremely safe vessel.

Ocean Rover’s machinery installation, wherever practical, meets MCA Code requirements. Fire fighting and bilge pumping systems are plumbed in steel and have secondary pumps outside of the engine room, to maintain systems if the engine room is compromised. The vessel has three main engines, giving extra redundancy in case of engine failure.

Ocean Rover is fitted with a pre-fabricated “Simpac” interior system. All wall and ceiling panels, doors, windows, watertight & weather-tight doors are approved for fire and safety by the American Bureau of Shipping, Lloyds & Bureau Veritas.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of Ocean Rover’s construction is that she was built by her own crew. From captain to cook, from dinghy-driver to deck-hand, all her crew members were people with special skills: welders, fitters, machinists, electricians, air-conditioning technicians, painters and diesel mechanics. Nearly all of them served on M/V Fantasea in the past and their input and experience during construction was invaluable.

To say that the crew knew the vessel intimately is an understatement; they know every centimeter, every weld, each nut and bolt. They are rightly proud of their creation and we are proud of them, the finest crew in all of the Andaman Sea.

And fast forward 23 years later, the Indonesian crew of Ocean Rover loves and is proud of her, like the Thai crew was!