Roman Abramovich’s $1 billion Eclipse yacht refused mooring on the Med because Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom KR5 boat has already parked up
The Russian oligarch had wanted to moor his 533-ft. yacht Eclipse, the world’s largest in private hands, at the the so-called Millionaire’s Quay in Cap d’Antibes, but arrived to find the only available spot had just been snatched by Saudi Arabian royal Prince Aziz al Saud. Antibes is the largest yachting harbour in Europe with more than 2,000 moorings – but only one spot big enough for Eclipse, already taken by the 265ft long Kingdom 5KR.
Mr Abramovich has a villa in the town, and is, of course, always welcome to disembark with his family, but with a yacht this size it was not possible, a source at the port said. Mr Abramovich had applied to Antibes council three years ago to build his own pontoon at the villa, but the plans were rejected. A spokesman for the Antibes International Yacht Club said: The only space where it could fit is already taken, though there are plans to build another large berth in the coming coming years.
The last space in Europe’s biggest yachting harbour simply wasn’t big enough for the two superyachts. So the Chelsea FC owner was left with little option but to drop anchor several hundred feet out at sea – and then travel to his villa on the shore by motorboat.
The yacht has its own missile defence system and an escape submarine, two helipads, a luxury spa, a swimming pool, cinema, a hair salon and sauna. When it was ordered the initial cost was estimated at around £330 million, but by the time Mr Abramovich took delivery last year it was spiralling towards the £1 billion mark because of the extra luxury fittings and security measures.
Prince Al-Waleed’s boat, though smaller, has a fascinating history of its own.The vessel, which can carry 22 passengers and 31 crew, was built in 1980 and bought by Saudi billionaire, Adnan Khashoggi under the name Nabila. It featured in the 1983 James Bond film Never Say Never Again, as The Flying Saucer, owned by villain Maximilian Largo. Its other owners have included Donald Trump, who named it the Trump Princess. Prince Al-Waleed bought the yacht in 1991, and renamed it Kingdom 5KR after his investment company Kingdom Holdings, his lucky number 5 and the initials of two of his children.
Prince Al Waleed is the world’s 26th richest man with £12.3 billion ($20.1 billion), according to Forbes magazine, while Abramovich is 53rd with a fortune of £8.4 billion ($13.7 billion).