Jeff Bezos’ superyacht gets towed without having to dismantle Dutch bridge

The masts of the ship built for the owner of Amazon were too high for the historic De Hef in Rotterdam, and will finally be installed elsewhere following a public outcry

The yacht built by Jeff Bezos at a pier near Rotterdam, in October 2021.
The yacht built by Jeff Bezos at a pier near Rotterdam, in October 2021.Guy Fleury (AP)

The height of the masts of the superyacht being built for the billionaire US entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, founder of the online retail giant Amazon, is no longer a problem for the city of Rotterdam.

The 417-foot vessel was under construction at a shipyard in Alblasserdam, and once finished, it would have been impossible for it to safely sail under Koningshaven Bridge, a landmark site in the port of Rotterdam dating back to 1927 that is popularly known by local residents as De Hef (The Lift).

In light of the public outcry over a request made by the shipbuilder, Oceanco, to have the bridge dismantled to let the vessel through, the company decided to transfer the superyacht to the Greenport shipyard in Rotterdam without its masts. The operation took place before dawn on Tuesday, presumably to avoid public scrutiny, according to the German news outlet Der Spiegel.

Image of the Koninginnebrug bridge, known as De Hef, in the city of Rotterdam.
Image of the Koninginnebrug bridge, known as De Hef, in the city of Rotterdam.Thierry Monasse (Getty Images)

Royal van der Wees, the transportation company in charge of the operation, confirmed it but has declined to comment further.

The passage of large ships from the port of Rotterdam under De Hef is normally a spectacle that attracts large crowds. But in the case of Jeff Bezos’ $500 million vessel, named Y721, the backlash had included social media campaigns encouraging people to pelt the ship with eggs upon its passage.

Oceanco is a shipbuilding company with a shipyard in the Netherlands, whose owner and president is Mohamed al Barwani, a businessman from Oman.

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