Jeff Bezos’ Superyacht Flees Rotterdam Shipyard Under The Cover Of Darkness

Flying the coop.

Jeff Bezos’ Superyacht Flees Rotterdam Shipyard Under The Cover Of Darkness

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After locals threatened to pelt it with eggs, Jeff Bezos’ 500 million superyacht – Y721 – took an alternative route to another shipyard (in the middle of the night), so that authorities didn’t have to dismantle a historic bridge that was (on the originally planned path) blocking its way.

Y721, Jeff Bezos’ $500 million superyacht, is set to be (once completed), the biggest superyacht in the world. But with great size comes great capacity to piss off Rotterdam bridge lovers.

As reported back in February, Bezos’ yacht – Y721 – was set to have a section of a historic bridge dismantled upon its exit of the shipyard. The bridge was called The Koningshavenbrug, and is known to locals as De Hef. It was renovated in 2017 and the council promised at the time they wouldn’t dismantle it again.

Naturally, some Rotterdam locals were infuriated when news broke of the plan to (temporarily) dismantle the bridge so Bezos’ new yacht could pass through (Y721 is a three-masted yacht, with each mast measuring 70 meters, while The Koningshaven bridge, a former railroad bridge that was the first to be rebuilt after the Nazis bombed the city, offers clearance of just 40 metres).

The request outraged historians, politicians, and some Rotterdam residents, leading the issue to become politicised. This culminated in one resident organising a Facebook event to pelt eggs at it when it passed through (4,000 people reportedly said they would attend, while another 13,600 people indicated they were “interested”).

Things have been quiet on the Rotterdam front for a while, with the last Y721-related news occurring in early July, when reports emerged suggesting Y721 could be stuck in Rotterdam. Fast forward a month though and it seems the super schooner has snuck out.

Autoevolution reported yesterday that Y721 has snuck out of its Dutch shipbuilder Oceanco’s yard under the cover of darkness, taking an alternative “longer and less used route” so that The Koningshaven bridge was not required to be meddled with (and, it seems, to avoid scrutiny).

Yacht enthusiast Hanco Bol, from Dutch Yachting, told Spiegel Business that instead of taking the bridge dismantling route, transport company Koninklijke van der Wees towed Y721 along another, significantly longer route, taking it to another shipyard in the middle of the night.

Bol, who followed the ship’s journey in his car, told Spiegel Business the preparations for the transport of the ship began at 1 a.m., and the towing started at 3 a.m. He said the yacht was taken to the Greenport shipyard in just three hours, when it would usually take about 6 hours. 

Bol said he reckons the covert nature of the trip wasn’t accidental. “I think that was intentional,” he told Spiegel Business. “When I was standing on one of the bridges, they shined a searchlight on me, so it wasn’t easy for me to take pictures.”

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Y721 – the magnificent 127-metre monstrosity – is still a fair way off being ready for its alleged owner (Bezos hasn’t fessed up to it being his, but industry wide it’s pretty well accepted that it’s Bezos’, Autoevolution reports), but at least it’s now one step closer.

Y721 was supposed to be ready in 2022, but whether it really gets finished before 2023 will depend on how its sea trials go. This is made more complicated by the fact that taking it back and forth between the open ocean and shipyards is trickier for Y721 than other vessels due to its size.

Still: there are worse problems to have. This one probably requires the world’s smallest violin…

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