- The third and final session of SUTUS by Les Roches featured marine expeditionary Rob McCallum, founder of EYOS Expeditions, “This is an example of what happens when you move away from established engineering principles (…) Safety is a basic obligation. If you offer a platform where people pay to have a unique experience, you have a responsibility to make it as safe as possible”.
- Fabien Cousteau, a visionary marine explorer who has offered more details of his PROTEUS™ ‘Ocean Space Station’: “I think it’s a mistake to bypass the certification process – safety – because the rest of us have spent our entire careers fulfilling and reinforcing very solid approaches that are pragmatic in nature and that allow us to explore the ocean world in a relatively safe way.
Marbella, 28 September 2023
The third and final day of SUTUS by Les Roches Marbella was full of inspiration and knowledge, with many of the speakers taking the opportunity to talk about the Titan submersible tragedy last summer, in which 5 people lost their lives while trying to reach the wreckage of the Titanic at the bottom of the North Atlantic.
On this day when the fourth edition of SUTUS concludes, we also learned new details of the soon-to-be-realised PROTEUS™ ‘Oceans Space Station’. Or how to feed 5-metre tiger sharks face-to-face, defying all limits of bravery and connection with marine life.
The renowned speakers from the underwater tourism and science world who joined us today were: Rob McCallum, Founder of EYOS Expeditions; Fabien Cousteau, Founder & CEO of Proteus Ocean Group; Karlos Simón, CEO & Founder of Karlos Simón Viajes y Expediciones; Lola Higueras, Underwater Archaeologist and Adblue 5 Oceans Award; Michele Stefanile, Underwater Archaeologist at the University of Naples; and Carlos Díez de la Lastra, CEO of Les Roches.
Marine expeditionary Rob MacCallum calls for responsible engineering
Founder of EYOS Expeditions, and former UN technical advisor, Rob McCallum was very clear at SUTUS by Les Roches on basic safety, referring to the Titan disaster: “This is an example of what happens when you stray from established engineering principles (…) Safety is a basic obligation. If you offer a platform where people pay to have a unique experience, you have a responsibility to make it as safe as possible”.
MacCallum claims that what happened is the result of “a trap caused by people starting to believe their own hype”. A statement about the importance of not over-publicising what is on offer, and focusing more on maintaining integrity in private marine exploration.
The intrepid explorer summed up the work of his company, EYOS Expeditions, by saying that it is dedicated to “satisfying the curiosity of the world’s most curious people about their planet“.
“We have become the world’s leading provider of private expedition services. People who have been very successful in their lives are still curious about their planet and want to explore it,” says MacCallum.
“We organise around 80 private expeditions every year, and they are always to remote, challenging and complex locations,” he says. In addition, “we mitigate the risks with a lot of hard-won experience,” he says.
Fabien Cousteau, strong advocate of Safety Certifications
The eldest grandson of legendary French explorer Jacques Cousteau, and Founder & CEO of Proteus Ocean Group, Fabien Cousteau, has not only commented on the latest details of his soon-to-be-realised ‘Ocean Space Station’ PROTEUS™, but also had words for last summer’s event with the implosion of the bathyscaphe Titan.
“This is an extreme environment and there are risks. The professionals fully understand this and are prepared for it. But those risks should never be taken by citizens or tourists, let alone on platforms that are not certified and are experimental“. “My heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones and to all the crew. They will live with this horror for a long time to come.”
“I think it’s a mistake to bypass the certification process – safety – because the rest of us have spent our entire careers fulfilling and reinforcing very solid approaches that are pragmatic in nature and that allow us to explore the oceanic world relatively safely,” Fabien Cousteau concludes, showing his great discomfort.
“We partner with U-Boat Worx, which is an extremely professional submersible construction company – Dutch – with decades of experience, and their submarines are certified to the highest standards. So they are very safe and have a perfect track record,” he concludes.
Cousteau also gave more details of his PROTEUS™ ‘Oceans Space Station’: “We will have a state-of-the-art live broadcast production studio, like Hollywood, so we can reach anyone in the world 24 hours a day and share with them what is happening in real time.
“It is designed to be modular and to be constantly upgraded according to the needs of the people who will reside in it, of which there will be about 12. They will reside for much longer periods of time than has ever been done before in an undersea base,” says Jacques Cousteau.
This large underwater platform will be submerged in the Caribbean waters of Curaçao, at a depth of 20-25 metres, and scientists and tourists will be able to start visiting it in 2027.
Diving among temples and ancient shipwrecks
Lola Higueras, Spain’s first underwater archaeologist and winner of the MadBlue 5 Oceans Award, is something like our own ‘Indiana Jones’ of the seas, with more than 2,000 documented Spanish shipwrecks. An expert deep-sea diver who has also made her own reflection on the Titan submersible: “Either you go down with total safety or it is very risky; and from my point of view it did not make sense in this specific case (…) it was a death foretold”.
On another note, the renowned archaeologist highlights the possibility of new underwater tourism projects, such as deep-sea museums showing sunken shipwrecks: “It would be very interesting, as there are many sunken ships off the Spanish coast”. However, she explains that “the problem is the lack of funding (…) in addition, the conservation of materials soaked in water is very complicated, as wood decomposes quickly”.
Michele Stefanile, an underwater archaeologist from the University of Naples, also participated in SUTUS by Les Roches. He was one of the architects of the historic discovery of the Temple of the Nabataeans earlier this year: “A 2,000-year-old temple that was practically on the beach, but completely hidden and lost for centuries (…) in front of a place full of industrial activity with hundreds of people working every day,” he says enthusiastically.
Stafanile is currently focused on the underwater archaeological study of the Port of Puetoli, one of the most important Roman commercial ports of the whole Empire: “I have been working there since 2021 with some friends and colleagues, and we are trying to study and understand the topography and the articulation of the buildings of the ancient coastline of Puteoli”.
Would you dare to feed 5-metre Tiger Sharks?
The adventurer Karlos Simón, Founder & CEO of Karlos Simón Viajes y Expediciones, has told us about the exclusive trips that his agency organises, always with him as a companion and instructor. We are talking, for example, about extreme dives with 5-metre long tiger sharks, in an exclusive place like the Bahamas.
Simón stresses that there is absolutely no need to be afraid of diving with sharks, because “of the 500 different species that exist, only about 8 can be dangerous. But not because of the sharks, but because of the humans themselves, who can generate conflictive situations.
“We differentiate ourselves because we go to exotic destinations that are little exploited by humans,” says Simón. His new and outstanding tourist product is different because the only protagonist is the client, without immersions in groups of 10 or 12 people. Just him and Karlos Simón. “I can take you on the best adventure you could ever dream of in your life, face to face with the biggest predators in the ocean.
“A boat, a crew, a camera operator and me, just for you,” says Simón, looking into the camera and talking to his potential client. “It’s a 5 or 6-day trip that will be divided into three phases: observation, training and, finally, interaction with the tiger sharks,” continues this experienced Spanish adventurer.
Plus,” he adds, “if you want to extend your trip even further, we will visit giant hammerhead sharks, with their huge heads up to 1 metre long touching your chest”. It’s a unique and fascinating tourist experience. The price can vary between 80,000 and 100,000 euros.
Karlos Simón and his 35 years of experience diving among sharks and his more than 250 trips and expeditions all over the world are a seal of guarantee and safety for all his clients.
We look forward to seeing you at SUTUS 2024!
Carlos Díez de la Lastra, Global CEO of Les Roches Marbella, brought this final day of SUTUS by Les Roches Marbella to a close. He emphasised the success of the event, its international expansion, the importance of innovation and anticipation, and the challenges and opportunities ahead.
“We have become, as in those great explorations of the past, explorers of these two new segments of tourism: space and underwater,” said Díez de la Lastra proudly.
“We promise that we will continue to grow in speakers and attractiveness (…) and there will be some new developments for next year,” said de la Lastra. “Spain and Switzerland will be the venues for SUTUS 2024, which is no small challenge for us, but it’s a nice challenge.
SUTUS 2023 by Les Roches
All SUTUS by Les Roches conferences could be followed through its virtual platform, powered by ‘The Observatory’ of Medina Media Events. Here, attendees can schedule video meetings with other participants and speakers, as well as visit exclusive online demos.
SUTUS 2023 by Les Roches, under the slogan “Beyond natural borders”, has the support of the Andalusian Regional Ministry of Tourism, Tourism and Planning of the Costa del Sol, Marbella Town Hall, Fundación Progreso y Salud de la Consejería de Salud y Consumo de la Junta de Andalucía, HALO Space, Marchica Med, ABOVE SPACE, Karlos Simón Viajes y Expediciones and Alanda Marbella Hotel 5*.
All SUTUS by Les Roches conferences could be followed through its virtual platform, powered by ‘The Observatory’ of Medina Media Events*, and will be available on Video on Demand (VOD) throughout the year.