The History Of Ocean Rover

Ocean Rover was built by Fantasea Divers in Phuket, Thailand and launched in August 2000. The vessel operated in the waters of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, Indonesia and the Andaman Islands until May 2008 when she changed ownership and was moved to Manado in North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Ocean Rover was the first purpose-designed luxury liveaboard to be built in Thailand. The conceptual design was by Jeroen Deknatel, the owner of Fantasea Divers. The object was to build a comfortable, safe and solid liveaboard dive boat that would offer optimal ease of operations for both her passengers and her crew.

Naval architect Simon Jupe then produced detailed construction plans in accordance with the U.K. Marine Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Lloyd’s specifications for commercial pleasure yachts Category 1, operating up to 150 nautical miles from safe haven.

The vessel was built at Ratanachai Slipway in Phuket by a team made up from locally hired welders and Fantasea Divers staff, all of whom had served on Ocean Rover’s predecessor, mv Fantasea. Their input and experience were crucial to the success of the project and resulted in a vessel that was built by the same people that would later serve on her as crew.

The hull was constructed using approved and certified extra-thick steel plating. All the steel was sandblasted and coated to offshore specifications in Bangkok before being trucked to the shipyard in Phuket. The interior was fitted with a pre-fabricated Simpac system that is Lloyds and ABS approved for fire and safety.

Ocean Rover carries a full set of international certificates, including the Passenger Ship Safety Certificate. This enabled her to operate in many different countries, taking divers to all the best reefs of South East Asia.

It was during one of those voyages, while anchored in Indonesia’s famous Lembeh Strait that Ocean Rover was spotted by Roman Szalay, a locally based dive operator and underwater photographer. One might say that it was love at first sight. One thing led to another and in May 2008 Ocean Rover made a final departure from Phuket and headed for her new home port in Manado from where she will continue to bring divers to the diverse and plentiful reefs of Indonesia for many more years to come.