NEOM announced the results of the joint mission it carried out in cooperation with Ocean X, as part of its unique and ambitious initiative to explore the northern Red Sea, which lasted for six weeks on board the OceanXplorer, one of the most advanced exploration and research vessels in the world. The mission presented scientific research on marine ecosystems, groups of mega-organisms that live on the seabed, and saltwater aquariums, in addition to a study on how coral reefs are preserved and regenerated.
The CEO of NEOM, Eng. Nazmi Al-Nasr, explained that the efforts of the joint mission achieved its most important goals by identifying a natural area that was far from global interest and highlighted a number of unprecedented global scientific discoveries, represented in: The discovery of a sea summit with a height of up to 635 meters (higher than many skyscrapers). Clouds in the world) and the discovery of the largest deep sea saltwater aquarium in the world, in addition to an area of more than 600 square kilometers of sites attracting biodiversity of fish and coral reefs.
He added: With regard to marine organisms, two camera observations of a giant squid that had not been seen before in the region were documented, in addition to confirming the presence of 12 species of huge creatures in NEOM waters, including sharks, whales, dugong, turtles and dolphins, and identifying 341 species of marine creatures. The fish in NEOM, including 8 new species, 68 endemic species, and 18 rare and endangered species worldwide, noting that the expedition was able to document new settlements of rare coral reefs characterized by their resistance to climate change, and made detailed surveys of three unexplored islands, And the discovery of three marine sites and wrecks of ancient ships.
Engineer Al-Nasr stressed that choosing the NEOM site is not an ordinary matter, as all the goals of Vision 2030 have been carefully and carefully studied, and the most important of these goals is sustainability and the balance between urban development and environmental preservation. NEOM, being the cornerstone of Vision 2030, had to offer humanity a new global destination that possesses all the ingredients for a new future for cognitive societies that preserve the environment and elevate people and place.
For his part, the head of NEOM’s nature reserves, Dr. Paul Marshall, praised these discoveries and their results, noting that the global ocean system is suffering from an environmental crisis, but the damage is repairable, and this partnership with OceanX will enhance NEOM’s commitment to preserving and protecting life on the planet, He pointed out that preserving and improving the integrity of marine ecosystems, especially coral reefs, is a basis for ensuring the future and success, as this expedition, the first of its kind in the world, paves the way for the ambitious NEOM program to preserve the environment, which looks forward to accelerating our transformation into societies that live in complete harmony with Nature around us.
He stated that the results of this expedition go beyond the borders of the region, as it will support global efforts to protect and preserve marine ecosystems around the world, and shed light on the biological characteristics and conditions necessary for the flourishing of life in the seas and oceans, in light of the changes caused by the global climate change crisis, explaining that The results of the mission will be used to advance the design and development of marine protected areas in order to fulfill commitments made to allocate 95 percent of NEOM’s area to nature conservation.
In the same context, Chief Scientist and Co-CEO of Ocean X, Dr. Vincent Pierpon, emphasized that Ocean X is committed to exploring previously unknown sites and sharing them with the world, noting that the important results of this joint mission are not limited to the interest in preserving ecosystems in northern The Red Sea also includes a number of important scientific discoveries at the regional and global levels.
“Ocean X” combines science and technology to explore the oceans and raise awareness about them, and by creating a community that participates in protecting them. The stages of discovery were documented using advanced tools for underwater film production, and the mission’s developments were shared with scientific and academic bodies in the surrounding areas, as well as the “Ocean X” audience. This merging of scientific exploration missions and visual story presentations contributes to enhancing knowledge of the oceans, and complements NEOM’s ambitions to build a new model for the sustainability and prosperity of life.
It is worth noting that the mission carried out more than 960 hours of underwater research, which included a three-dimensional mapping of an area of more than 1,500 square kilometers of the seabed with high accuracy, and setting a reference scale for biodiversity and the vitality of environmental habitats that will enhance NEOM’s efforts to achieve its goal of preserving the safety of surrounding ecosystems and their improvement.
The staff included 30 world-renowned oceanographers and researchers, including four experts from NEOM, five others from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, 11 experts from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), in addition to five Explorers from National Geographic.
NEOM will also be releasing a nine-part documentary covering the expedition on its YouTube channel and on OceanX’s social media channels.