Russian business tycoon Roman Abramovich’s yacht, considered the largest boat in the world, docked in New York City on Valentine’s Day for no apparent reason, stunning residents and onlookers.
A spokesman for publicity shy Abramovich, 46, refused to comment on the nature of the Chelsea Football Club owner’s business in New York – the ship usually docks in Europe and St. Barts – but that it may have something to do with his girlfriend’s pregnancy.Dasha Zhukova is expecting the couple's first child together in the spring and dock workers have revealed the boat is due to remain parked at the Midtown pier until mid-April.
Named Eclipse, the ship is 557 feet long and cost $1.5 billion. Its ultramodern design is by Hermidas Atabeyki. Similar to Abramovich’s other yacht, the 337-foot Pelorus, it has even more aggressive lines and a tri-color scheme, with an interior by Terrence Disdale. Built in Germany by Blohm + Voss, the vessel was floated out in September 2009. Abramovich was due to take delivery of the yacht in December 2009, which was delayed for almost a year after sea trials. It is presently the world’s largest privately owned yacht as of 2009. The specification includes at least two swimming pools, a cinema, two helicopter landing-pads, a disco, a Jacuzzi, several on-board tenders, and a submarine. It also has armor-plating and bullet-proof windows around Abramovich’s master suite.
When it was ordered, the initial cost was estimated at around $500million, but by the time Abramovich took delivery last year it was spiraling towards the $1.5billion mark because of the extra luxury fittings and security measures.
In addition to owning several other ships, Abramovich also has three planes and three helicopters.
Abramovich’s parents both died before he was four, and he was thereafter raised by his extended Jewish family in Ukhta, later moving to Moscow. He is a chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, and donates money to the Chabad movement.
According to The Guardian, “By 1996, at the age of 30, Abramovich had become so rich and politically well-connected that he had become close to President Boris Yeltsin, and had moved into an apartment in the Kremlin at the invitation of the Yeltsin family. In 1999, and now a tycoon, Abramovich was elected governor of Russia's remote, far eastern province of Chukotka, and has since lavished £112 million (€132 million) on charity to rebuild the impoverished region.”
Abramovich is known for his lavish New Year’s Eve parties in St. Bart’s, which last year included such guests as Sean Combs, Calvin Klein, and Vera Wang.
He is currently the 5th richest person in Russia and the 50th richest person in the world, according to the 2012 Forbes list. According to Forbes, as of March 2011, he had a net worth of US$13.4 billion up from US$11.2 billion the previous year.