AE Expeditions has christened its newest purpose-built small ship, the Sylvia Earle.

The vessel’s namesake and godmother, Dr Sylvia Earle, did the honours during a ceremony in Antarctica in recognition of the ship’s pioneering nature.

AE Expeditions is part of Aurora Expeditions Group, headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

Dr Earle is a world-renowned marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer. She was the first female chief scientist of the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998.

“Thank you, Aurora, for the approach that you use to keep people inspired about the ocean,” Dr Earle commented. “Exploring the ocean, using knowledge to take care of all this on our planet. This is an experience that I am happy to share with everyone here and I’m looking at Aurora as the voice of the ocean.”  

Named by Time magazine as its first ‘Hero of the Planet’, her own conservation initiative Mission Blue is creating a global network of marine protected areas known as ‘Hope Spots’.

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With its strong focus on education and conservation, the new Sylvia Earle is designed to accommodate an average of 132 passengers per voyage in an atmosphere of equality, fun and informality.

A highly experienced Expedition Team guides passengers in small groups on excursions by water and land, with exciting activities ranging from Zodiac cruises to walks and hikes, sea kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, paddling, skiing, photography, and birdwatching, among others.

A dedicated Science Centre is the hub for a variety of participative and educational Citizen Science programs.

“We are privileged to have Dr Earle as the namesake of our stunning second purpose-built expedition ship,” said Aurora Expeditions CEO Michael Heath. “I thank Sylvia for joining us on board to officially christen the ship and be on board for the inaugural Antarctic Climate Expedition.”

Currently Dr Earle, in partnership with Aurora Expeditions and Ocean Geographic, is leading a world-first ‘Antarctic Climate Expedition’ on the ship to raise public and government awareness of the environmental importance of the Antarctic.