Cousteau’s “Calypso” up for Auction


The famous vessel that brought you the Wonderful Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau is due to be auctioned off by a Breton shipping company

The Piriou shipbuilding company have issued a seizure order on the Equipe Cousteau which, they say, will “end with a public auction sale” of the Calypso. The famous oceanographic ship was owned by Commandant Cousteau and has been kept in one of Piriou’s hangars in Concarneau since 2007.

The announcement from the company comes one day after the expiration of a court-set date for taking away the ship. Following a long-running legal battle, the court of appeal in Rennes ruled on the 9th of December last that the Equipe Cousteau had until the 12th of this month to remove the Calypso and to pay Piriou the balance of money owing for works carried out on the vessel – amounting to €237,000.

“Equipe Cousteau has not taken any concrete or significant steps, leaving Piriou with no choice but to fulfill the judgement handed down by the court of appeal of Rennes,” said the shipyard in a communiqué, adding that they were going to “issue to Equipe Cousteau a seizure order that will lead to the sale by public auction of the Calypso.

“We will do whatever is necessary within the law to find the best solution that will allow us to recover the sum of money owed to us, to vacate our facility, but to also (and I deeply and sincerely hope this) give to Calypso a future worthy of its legendary status,” declared Pascal Piriou, CEO of the shipyard.

The Calypso was the mother ship of the late undersea explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Along with the Americans, his team was one of the leading lights in undersea exploration and his long-running show “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” was an award-winning documentary series charting his adventures with his family and crew.

For those who can’t remember what the TV series from teh 1960s was like, here’s a taster…

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