Ocean Empire was planned as a reimplementation of the excellent trading simulation Ocean Trader, which was released in 1995 by Software 2000. The balance between solid game play and real-world economy makes this game one of the best economic/trading simulation games ever.
You can get addicted to it quite fast, in contrast to other economic simulation games, such as Capitalism (with a high complexity and realism) or The Patrician (a far too simple simulation model), which are weared out quickly, due to the slight imbalance between game play and simulation approach.
At its current state, Ocean Empire is merely a prototype, one of the projects that tend to stay forever in such a state without any hope to be developed further.
One of the key issues are a missing planning phase with strict rules to be applied (what to be done until when) and nitpicking about the back-end functionality (wrote a complete UI framework with tons of features to be never used, implemented various event systems, which will never be used).
It will have to be started (best from scratch) again, with a planning phase and fixed iteration cycles, so it won't run into the same dead end again and again.
See the status information above.