Jeff Bezos' Superyacht Sneaks Away Under Cover of Darkness After Bridge Dismantling Backlash
Last year word got out that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had commissioned a $500 million sailing yacht with Oceanco, a Dutch shipbuilder who crafts many of the world's elite superyachts.
With Bezos' wealth jumping by $75 billion in 2020 alone, the new vessel is a testament to what's possible with a sailing yacht. While the order was placed long before his recent windfall, it carries a length of 417 feet (127 m), has three masts, and at least 3 decks. The most notable feature is that it does not have a helipad -- because of the masts -- so a secondary 246 foot (75 m) 'support yacht' is being constructed with its own helipad to support the main ship.
As the project nears completion, both Bezos and Oceanco caught some major flak for requesting that a bridge in Rotterdam be dismantled to allow the yacht to launch from its shipyard within the city's canal system.
The Koningshaven Bridge, known locally as 'De Hef,' serves as a historic landmark post WWII. The original bridge was bombed by Germany in 1940, and was subsequently rebuilt in earnest as part of the Dutch economic recovery post- war.
After Oceanco made its request, some local government officials called the idea of dismantling the bridge for a yacht passing as impractical. Others were content to generate revenue for the local economy.
"I think it’s good that we can still get some money out of Bezos and put it in the region" said Labor Party (PvdA) politician Dennis Tak to news outlet RT.
The idea never sat well with locals, however, who initiated a massive public awareness campaign to egg the vessel as it passed under the disassembled bridge.
In a Facebook group that organized the egging, the group's founder posted- "‘Take a box of (rotten) eggs with you and let’s throw them en masse at Jeff’s superyacht when it sails through De Hef in Rotterdam. Rotterdam was built from the rubble by the people of Rotterdam, and we don’t just take that apart for the phallus symbol of a megalomaniac billionaire. Not without a fight."
A few weeks later, Oceanco withdrew its request to disassemble the bridge.
Then around 3 am on August 2nd, a local yachting enthusiast named Hanco Bol with Dutch Yachting captured the Bezos yacht leaving Rotterdam under cover of darkness with the help of a fleet of tow vehicles.
In addition to the covert departure, the yacht also took a longer circuitous route that avoided going through the city core on its way to the other shipyard. There is some speculation the timing and route could be related to water levels as determined by the tides. The ship will now have its masts installed at the new shipyard where there are no bridges to further delay its completion and launch.
Check out the video below from Dutch Yachting to see the massive vessel leaving town: