Interview: Herve Jaubert, Exomos A former French naval officer launched a venture in Dubai to build submarines for tourism and law enforcement. Proteus, ordered by a private client for $6m, is capable of turning into a submarine and going to depth of 20 m under water. Exomos aims to design and build futuristic looking submarines and submersible vessels that can be used for Coast Guard and law enforcement, leisure trips or simply as toys for the rich. The company began operations in March of last year with an initial capital of $15-million from the Port Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), the Dubai government entity that oversees the city's ports including Jebel Ali. It has secured an order for 10 black Submersible Patrol Vessels, which is the law enforcement version of the Proteus, at $15-million each, from the government of Indonesia to combat sea pirates. Exomos is now building Nemo, a submarine in the shape of a Megalodon -- a prehistoric shark -- that looks as if it came from Verne's era. It will be used for underwater rides for tourists. MTR recently caught up with Herve Jaubert to discuss his company's vessels. Describe your management philosophy? HJ A good leader is someone who can keep together people in a same direction, whom authority is best based on example and competence. What are three significant changes that have occurred within the industry in the last five years? HJ Most significant is in the battery technology with the Lithium - ion cells breakthrough, then electric thrusters technology, new software's and hardware's for underwater navigation and controls, also gas turbines for the marine industry and my submarines as well. How has Dubai's ever-growing economy and status affected Exomos? HJ The Dubai government with its forward thinking and efforts to attract new technologies is detrimental in the decision to establish a business in Dubai, there is no bureaucracy and no taxes What investments are Exomos making today that are intended for the long-term health of the company? HJ We are investing in facility, tooling and expert staffing to exceed industrialization requirement, efforts in 40 MTR R&D to be in the best position to offer the vessels of tomorrow What do you consider the most important trends in the submersibles-industry to be? HJ The huge development of real estate beach front properties in exotic countries, which includes the UAE indeed, represent thousands of opportunities to market small private submarines. Such Jet skis and other hi speed water craft are not allowed. Mini submarines in crystal water offers an enjoyable experience, with no impact on the environment and neighbors. What do you consider the top priorities- project wisefor your company in the coming 12 to 24 months? HJ World wide marketing of the newly developed submersible patrol boat for the law enforcement What's the market for submersibles in Dubai? HJ Dubai sees a growing number of tourists who need activities, one them consist in underwater exploration in shallow waters. Soon, Exomos will offer the rides and the submarines to the public. How did the Nautilus submersible came about? HJ I wanted to match entertainment and exploration. Since Jules Vernes, people have been fascinated by the underwater world. The Nautilus, with its 100-year-old metal dinosaur look alike design, not only offers a travel under the surface but a travel back in time as well. I wanted to do much more than taking people into a can to go under the water. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org January 2007
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