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French explorer Jacques Cousteau's Calypso to sail again

A rusting Calypso in La Rochelle harbour, France Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Left rusting for years, the famous Calypso will now be renovated to a seaworthy state

Calypso - the iconic ship of the late French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau - will sail again in a few months, its owners have revealed.

In an online statement, the Cousteau Society said the ship would "be getting a whole new life".

The ship featured in the documentary series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau in the 1960s and 70s.

It was badly damaged in 1996, when a barge accidentally crashed into it in the port of Singapore.

The Cousteau Society, founded in 1973 by the explorer, announced the ship would be fully refurbished and ready to leave Concarneau's shipyard in "the first trimester of 2016".

"She will be seaworthy and powered by her own two motors, as was Captain Cousteau's wish," the society's president, Francine Cousteau, said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Calypso has been docked in Concarneau, west Brittany, since 2007
Image copyright AP
Image caption Jacques Cousteau - here seen in his distinctive red hat - explored undersea life on board the ship

Calypso was originally a British minesweeper but was adapted into a "mobile oceanography laboratory" in 1950. Cousteau - a former naval officer - caught some of the first glimpses of deep sea life on board the vessel.

Due to be repaired in 2007, it was left docked in Brittany after a dispute over payment meant its owners had to pay the shipyard 300,000 euros (£224,000; $328,000) - money which it raised from public donations.

In June 2010, to mark 100 years since the birth of Cousteau, who died in 1997, the society announced the ship was being repaired.

It says it is now working to get the ship out of Brittany in three months. It will take between 12 and 18 months for them to be able to navigate the ship.

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