Jeff Bezos’ superyacht gets stuck in Rotterdam

Nautical Channel
06 Jul 2022
NEWS | Yachting

The luxurious shipyard Oceanco has decided not to dismantle the bridge in Rotterdam after criticism received from the Dutch people. This was the only passage to the ocean for Jeff Bezos’ $500M superyacht. 

Following public criticism and protests that included the tossing of rotten eggs at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Dutch firm has now decided not to dismantle the historic bridge in Rotterdam.

Jeff Bezos was even ready to buy the middle part of the ‘Koningshavenbrug De Hef’ in order to take it down and allow the 127m sailing yacht named ‘Y721’ pass to the ocean. This will be the largest in the world, but its launching will have to wait a bit as Oceanco finds a new way to get it into the water. 

Koningshaven Bridge

Although its official name is Koningshaven Bridge, it is also referred to as De Hef. It is a vertical-lift bridge that elevates above the Koningshaven (Kings Harbour) channel at the port of Rotterdam, Netherlands. 

Built in 1927, the bridge is today a Rijksmonument heritage site. Before this bridge there used to be one dated from 1878, but its configuration was an obstacle for shipping, and therefore replaced with the lift bridge in 1927. This was the first of its kind in western Europe. 

Although in February 2022 it was announced that the middle section of the bridge would temporarily be removed to allow the Y721 superyacht to pass, Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb stated it had no permit applied for yet and the proposal to dismantle the bridge was shelved. 

Not  practical to move somewhere else

Marcel Walravens, manager of the renovation project, has told RTV that it was “not practical” to finish the vessel partially while completing the construction somewhere else. 

“If you carry out a big job somewhere, you want all your tools in that place. Otherwise, you have to go back and forth constantly. In addition, this is such a large project that there are hardly any locations where this work is finished.”
“From an economic perspective and maintaining employment, the municipality considers this a very important project. Rotterdam has also been declared the maritime capital of Europe.” 

Jeff Bezos’ yacht is being built in the Netherlands by the same company that created other luxurious vessels as the Black Pearl, still the largest DynaRig sailing yacht in the world. 

Related article: Jeff Bezos is building a yacht that needs its own yacht

Opposition from the Rotterdammers

Meanwhile, hundreds of Dutch Facebook users signed a petition asking everyone to egg the yacht during its inauguration. 

“Calling all Rotterdammers take a box of rotten eggs with you, and let’s throw them en masse at Jeff’s superyacht when it sails through the Hef in Rotterdam” -Pablo Strörmann, organiser of the event.

There was a strong opposition from Dutch citizens to dismantling the 140-year-old bridge to provide a way for the $500 million vessel. This criticism has been heard by the Dutch council that has pledged it would not let the landmark be dismantled due to its historic significance. 

Currently, Oceanco has informed officials of the city that it will be cancelling its current logistic plans. According to the organisation's news, the company’s staff “felt threatened” and feared being vandalised. For the moment it is not clear how the yacht will be moved from the construction spot to the ocean. 

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