Megayacht News Leadership Series: Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Living Oceans Foundation

Prince Khaled bin Sultan is not your ordinary yacht owner. Besides being a member of the Saudi Arabia royal family, he is a passionate conservationist. “As a young boy in Riyadh, I spent some time wandering the desert, and was surprised to find the fossilized remains of sea creatures,” he explains. “I realized then that much of the flat, endless desert of Arabia was in fact an ancient seabed.” Many years later, as he enjoyed cruising and diving trips, he began learning more about the threats the oceans and ocean life faced. He founded the Living Oceans Foundation in 2000.

In this interview exclusive to Megayacht News, His Royal Highness explains how the Living Oceans Foundation supports preservation efforts, and how a variety of his megayachts play a vital role in scientific expeditions. He also gives insight into a five-year world cruise that he and the organization have just embarked upon, to study coral reefs.

Q: Why did you form the foundation? And, why establish it in the United States, rather than your native Saudi Arabia or another nation?

A: In the 1990s, Golden Shadow was being built in San Diego, California. Golden Shadow is known as a “shadow boat” in the yachting industry; hence the origin of her name. She is 219 ft in length overall and serves the role of a logistical support vessel for my yacht, the Golden Odyssey (below, with Golden Shadow visible to top left). When Golden Shadow was being designed and built, my advisors realized that the potential of this very capable and unique ship went well beyond the role of just a shadow boat. We contacted Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SCRIPPS), located just north of San Diego, and asked the operations manager if their institution might have an interest in using the Golden Shadow as a supplemental research ship as opportunity allowed. Of course SCRIPPS was very interested because research ship availability is never sufficient to satisfy scientific needs. I was pleased to be able to provide another opportunity to advance oceanographic research, since I have had a love of the oceans since I was a small boy. Many people falsely believe that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a land-locked nation. This is far from reality, and Saudi Arabia is flanked by both the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea. Over these early years of Golden Fleet operations, the Golden Shadow hosted many oceanographers and contributed to the advancement of science. However, I wasn’t fully satisfied with simply allowing various scientists to use the ship and wanted more focus and structure. That was my incentive for establishing the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. Now I am able to be personally involved in deciding which area of oceanography to focus on and which projects we choose to pursue. I decided to base the Foundation in the United States to foster relations between the USA and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and I wanted the Foundation to have a global impact.

Q: Explain the idea behind “Science Without Borders.”

A: I have always admired Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which you probably are aware is an international medical humanitarian organization. When I established the Living Oceans Foundation, I thought that we could extend that concept to the world of science so we registered the trademark Science Without Borders in the USA, EU, Australia, and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All of the Foundation’s operations involve international and local scientists working side by side to advance scientific progress. Science Without Borders is registered to the Foundation for financial sponsorship of marine-conservation programs and scientific research and to promote public awareness of the need to preserve, protect, and restore the world’s oceans and aquatic resources.
(story continues on next page; please click Page 2 hyperlink beneath Related Posts)

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Comments

  1. Hello Prince Khaled Bin Sultan. November 6 2014
    I read your interview with Megayacht News and was particularly interested in the story of you as a young boy and what you learned wondering in the desert. I have extracted that part of your interview and include it here. The Extract: “As a young boy in Riyadh, I spent some time wandering the desert, and was surprised to find the fossilized remains of sea creatures,” he explains. “I realized then that much of the flat, endless desert of Arabia was in fact an ancient seabed.” Of course that is exactly what the Arabian desert is: ancient seabed. Incidentally that is what every desert in the world is: ancient seabed. But Prince Khaled that is just the start of the story and I would like to see your Living Ocean Foundation pay more attention to that lesson you learned so many years ago. You could take your work so much further if you could influence your foundation to look at what has been happening to our seas since then. You are from Arabia the cradle of civilization and this presents a wonderful opportunity for your foundation to undertake meaningfull work in the area of “The Mysterious Receding Seas”. Are you aware that Nineveh, the Capital of the Assyrian Nation was once at the mouth of the Euphrates River when the Gulf waters lapped the shore of Niniveh. Niniveh is today 1000 feet above the Arabian Desert and 700 miles from the Gulf waters. Did you know that Babylon was also, once, at the mouth of the Euphrates River but today the ruins of Babylon are 400 miles from the Gulf and 125 feet above sea level. History also tells us that Ur of the Chaldes was once a busy teeming seaport on the Gulf but today Ur is 250 miles from the Gulf and approximately 100 feet above sea level. Baghdad had an harbour on the Gulf in ancient times but today is 350 Miles inland and 135 feet above sea level. So Prince Khaled I just want to show that the desert floor you walked on as a boy is indeed ancient seabed. I also want to let you know that as you walk through your Palace the highly polished floor on which you walk is laid on ancient seabed. Which brings me to the purpose of this treatise. Reef protection and rehabilitation of shoreline marshes are well intentioned and worthwhile efforts but they miss the most obvious lesson you learned as a boy. The same regression of the seas that made the Arabian desert, and all the deserts of the world, is still ongoing and destroying reefs and coastal wetlands but we fail to see the forest from the trees. One major reason is the rising sea hysteria which is pre-eminent in the media. The sea is not rising and will not because of what I am trying to show. Wetlands are suistained by inshore sea levels. As sea level ebbs lower it drains the wetlands and they dry up and disappear. They no longer can sustain growth because their water source has departed with the receding sea. The EPA in New York is attempting to replant Jamaica Bay by dredging and flooding the Marsh but it is a temporary and futile effort: the area is going dry because the sea level is falling.
    So Prince I hope my words have not fallen on deaf ears. Our increasing arid lands is because of this phenomenon which we adamantly refuse to recognize; I hope you will with your influence?. I have a YouTube series “The Mysterious Receding Seas” also on Google. My Tel: 867-445-8012 and email: richardguy9@gmail.com
    Richard Guy P.Eng.
    Read more: Megayacht News Leadership Series: Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Living Oceans Foundation – Megayacht News http://megayachtnews.com/2011/05/prince-khaled-bin-sultan-bin-abdulaziz-living-oceans-foundation/#ixzz3IKAs222H

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