We’ve all been there before: your super yacht is almost done being built, but in order for the company to deliver it to you they have to take apart a historic bridge. That’s totally normal, right? Well – normal if you’re Jeff Bezos, maybe. The Amazon founder and former CEO is just a few months from delivery of his brand new super yacht, but in order for the vessel to leave the shipyards and be delivered, the company who created it – Oceanco – will have to dismantle the center part of a bridge in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It’s just too tall to fit under the bridge, which has a clearance of 130 feet and is not currently in use.
Just Taking Apart a Historic Bridge for My Boat, Don’t Mind Me
Bezos’s brand new vessel will be the largest in the world – at around 417 feet. The New York Times reports, “The superyacht Mr. Bezos commissioned is likely to cost more than $500 million to build, Bloomberg reported. Mr. Bezos is the world’s second-richest person, after Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk.
The bridge, which has a boat clearance of 130 feet, is not currently in use. A Rotterdam tour guide, Eddy le Couvreur, said that the bridge, designed by the Dutch architect Pieter Joosting and a fixture in the Rotterdam skyline, was once used for railway traffic. A vertical lift bridge, it was the first of its kind in the Netherlands and was copied from examples in the United States. The modern industrial aesthetics of the bridge inspired a short film in 1928, he said.”
Normally, the vessels would pass under the bridge before assembling their masts. However, the city of Rotterdam didn’t fight this too hard, because of the jobs that will be created to disassemble and reassemble the bridge. Bezos and Oceanco will foot the bill, not the city. But that doesn’t mean that everyone is on board.
Per Bloomberg, “‘This man has earned his money by structurally cutting staff, evading taxes, avoiding regulations and now we have to tear down our beautiful national monument?’ Rotterdam politician Stephan Leewis wrote on Twitter. ‘That is really going a bridge too far.’”
Puns aside, some are calling it an obvious case of billionaire entitlement. However, plans are moving forward.
Speaking of Super Yachts…
Super-yachts are probably something the average person doesn’t even realize exists. After all, most of us won’t ever own a yacht – much less one of their ostentatious bigger sisters. Yet the super-yacht industry is booming, especially as the wealth gap increases and those in the market for super yachts find themselves with even more disposable income.
Bloomberg adds, “Surging levels of personal wealth pushed superyacht sales to record levels last year. A total of 887 such ships were sold in 2021, a 77% jump from a year earlier and more than double the number in 2019, according to a report from maritime data firm VesselsValue. Boat builder Burgess reported more than 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in superyacht sales last year.”
The different between a regular yacht and a superyacht – after all, aren’t all yachts by nature luxury vessels? – is pretty objective. Forbes attempted to define a super yacht in 2019 but pointed out that there’s no solid definition that everyone agrees upon. However, they added, “All superyachts are opulent enough to be equipped with an object that represents the epitome of luxury…”
So maybe that object is a helipad, an on-board limousine, your very own nightclub – who knows. Either way, what sets super yachts apart from regular yachts seems to be that they are opulent and over-the-top. And because we’re all curious, here were the top 3 super yachts from 2021:
- Azzam: The world’s largest yacht, this luxury vessel was built by Lürssen for around $600M. Not only does this super yacht accommodate 36 guests in 18 cabins, but has room for 60 crew throughout 30 cabins. In addition, it’s rumored that Azzam has a bullet-proof master suite and missile defense system. And – that single over-the-top luxury item? It’s a submarine. Azzam was first launched in 2014 for her owner, the ruler of Abu Dhabi.
- Eclipse: Blohm and Voss created this luxury vessel for around $700M for her owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich. Like Azzam, Eclipse has room for 36 guests in 18 cabins and carries a crew of 70 across 35 cabins. Rumors suggest that this vessel contains an anti-paparazzi system that uses a laser system to detect and blind cameras and overexpose any attempts to photograph the vessel, but there’s some doubt as to whether this technology exists.
- Dubai: Dubai’s legacy is almost a combination of the top two: it was created as a collaboration between Lürssen and Blohm and Voss originally for Prince Jeffrey of Brunei, but legal troubles led him to sell it before it was even complete and the ruler of – you guessed it – Dubai bought it in 2006. 48 Guests can be accommodated across 24 cabins, and the crew fits 88 across 44 cabins. The vessel contains a large pool, a disco club as well as a garage – for her submarine.
Over-the-top? Absolutely. The world of super yachts is one that most of us can only imagine – but it’s fun to do so.
Jeff Bezos’s Semi-Retirement
Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon last year, and the question has been on everyone’s mind: what has he been up to since? What does a billionaire do when they no longer have an empire to run? The answer, of course, is anything he darn well wants to. This is evident in the fact that Bezos’s first act after retirement was going to space – briefly. And since then, he’s paid $200M to name a new branch of Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum.
It would appear that Bezos is in the legacy-building portion of a billionaire’s life. Bezos seems to be focusing on humanity’s lofty goals of space travel and making sure to tie his name forever to the story of when humanity moved from our little blue marble out into the great unknown.
Then of course on the flip side you have the yacht story – something that seems shocking and unfathomable to most people, Bezos just sees as a necessary annoyance. So will Bezos’s legacy be what he hopes, as a visionary who helped propel humanity into the unknown – or will he forever be tied to controversies over worker treatment, poor pay, and dismantling history for his convenience? Time will tell.