A new £25m carbon-neutral “party boat” has arrived in London - where owners hope it will bring a huge boost to the city.
Oceandiva is now berthed in the capital’s Royal Docks, where it is set to undergo a £1.8m fit-out, and is due to be in full service from next month.
Following tests and regulatory checks, events company Smart Group hopes it will soon open for events, and claim it could add £77m to the capital’s economy in the next five years.
Smart Group says Oceandiva is “set to become the most sustainably advanced, carbon neutral ship on the River Thames, set to revolutionise London’s hospitality sector”.
Expected to accommodate up to 1,000 people at a time, the ship spans three decks and measures 86m in length - equivalent to around seven double-decker buses, and 15m longer than a Boeing 737 airliner.
Once newly fitted, it will feature event spaces suitable for hosting everything from conferences and product launches to exhibitions and gala dinners.
It will be powered by two lithium battery packs, keeping carbon emissions to a minimum, while on board cooling and heating systems will use the temperature of the Thames water. It will also feature a zero land fill policy, while owners have pledged to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Despite its green credentials, the “party boat” has been met with concern from a large number of Londoners, with fears noise pollution could disrupt thesleep of those living by the Thames.
Kathleen Ehrlich, chair of Shad Thames Residents Association, said: “This will be an eyesore of a vessel impacting on the world famous views along the Thames. It will bring a huge disruption and disturbance to riverside communities.”
Ralph Hardwick, from the River Residents Group, added: “It looks like a floating Prisoner of War camp. Is this what we want for the Thames?”
Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrats at the Greater London Assembly, told The Times it “could be the most controversial licensing application London has ever faced”, adding: “There’s a basic right to be able to get a decent sleep.”
Chloe Jackson, Managing Director of Smart Group, said: “We are thrilled to have the vessel arrive in London, and we look forward to sharing our vision of revolutionising the events industry with a sustainable, carbon neutral venue on the River Thames.
“Our commitment to consultation with the communities in which we will operate is a top priority, and we are excited to work together to create a project that benefits London and everyone in the community.”
She added: “Consultation with riverside communities, local groups, and responsible authorities is critical to our approach. Our ambition is to create a project that delivers real benefits to the communities in which we operate and that we can all be proud of.
“We are also pleased to be launching a pilot programme of events, which will support our consultation and development of new plans. Residents and other interested parties are invited to get in touch with us via the OceandivaConsultation.co.uk website to find out more and get involved.”
Pru Ashby, Head of Sustainability for London & Partners, added: “We are excited to be welcoming the launch of this one-of-a-kind venue in London. Oceandiva London is a fantastic reflection of London’s ability to innovate and commitment to sustainability and is hugely important to us as a city that is aiming to reach net zero by 2030.”