Basrah Breeze was built in 1981 by Danish shipyard Helsingor Vaerft for then president of Iraq Saddam Hussein and was launched as Qadissiyat Saddam (the name is a reference to a 7th century battle in which Arabs triumphed over Persia). The yacht's current captain - Hussein Ghazi Khalifa said the cost of yacht at that time was $25 million, but now it would cost approximately $100 million to build such a superyacht.
Saddam Hussein’s 82-metre superyacht Basrah Breeze was recently used by Iraqi marine researchers from the University of Basrah’s Marine Science Center to explore the changing Persian Gulf. The Basrah Breeze came to Basra in 2010 with the government ownership, but she was rarely used since then. In the year 2014 professors at the university asked the government to allow them to use the yacht as part of their research fleet.
The Basrah Breeze was fitted with marble-tiled bathrooms, numerous guest cabins and a large presidential suite. The superyacht’s indulgent interior then has been modified to accommodate Iraqi scientists but much of the original decor still remains. Saddam Hussein was never able to enjoy the yacht because of the war with Iran and she was left moored in Oman for many years. In the middle 1980's Hussein gave her as a gift to King Fahd bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. The yacht then changed hands several more times before ending up under the ownership of a Cayman Islands company. Following the execution of Saddam Hussein the Cayman Islands company tried to sell the yacht in 2007, but documents were discovered that legally confirmed it to still be an Iraqi vessel. Following a difficult legal battle the Iraqi government was able to claim ownership.
The king size bed in Saddam Hussein's superyacht is made, the silk curtains around it have been drawn back and, in the gold-rimmed bathroom next door, a barber's chair awaits its occupant. But then Iraqi president never boarded the 82-metre "Basrah Breeze" built for him and now its amenities will be enjoyed by the pilots who guide shipping in and out of the port of Basra, the main southern city.
Equipped with a presidential suite comprising Saddam's private quarters, dining rooms and bedrooms, as well as 17 smaller guest rooms, 18 cabins for crew and a clinic, the opulently equipped and decorated vessel was put on the market for $30 million. The government failed to find a buyer, and for the past two years the Basrah Breeze has served Basra University, hosting researchers on trips to study marine life. "The presidential yacht is in a very good condition. Its two engines and generators are functioning," said Abdul-Zahra Abdul-Mahdi Saleh, its captain. "It only needs periodic maintenance."
But authorities have now decided to moor it permanently as a hotel and recreation facility for the southern port's pilots, many of whom live in distant cities. "The port needs the boat to be a station where sea pilots can rest," said Basra port spokesman Anmar al-Safi.
While the Basrah Breeze survived the turmoil of Saddam's decline and demise, its sister ship "al-Mansur" - which he also never boarded - suffered a different fate, sinking in the Shatt al-Arab waterway that passes through Basra after it was hit by U.S. planes and then stripped bare in the chaotic aftermath of his overthrow. As regards Basrah Breeze, Basra museum has not given up hope of persuading the port to allow it to dock the vessel next to its exhibition halls in one of Saddam's former palaces overlooking the Shatt al-Arab.
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The iconic sailing yacht Maltese Falcon has been revitalized through an extensive refit. This 88-meter superyacht, commissioned by Tom Perkins and built in 2006 by renowned Perini Navi, with naval architecture by Gerard Dijkstra and interior design by Ken Freivokh, has undergone an impressive transformation at Lusben Shipyard. The meticulous refit, involving over 80 dedicated professionals collaborating seamlessly with the yacht's crew, spanned more than six months.“It was a challenging project for all of us, not least because the sheer size of this sailing yacht required us to design and build a special system to accommodate the vessel in dry dock. We worked in synergy with the various teams involved in the refit work and with the customer, satisfying their wishes and at the same time suggesting improvements with a view to increasing efficiency and energy savings. It was an honor for all of us to be able to carry out this modernisation work on such an iconic boat, one that has made international yachting history,” said Gianni Paladino, Lusben Commercial Director.Lusben successfully transformed the owner's vision into reality by orchestrating a range of aesthetic and functional enhancements. One of the most challenging tasks was the meticulous repainting of the entire hull, restoring the distinctive 'Perini Blue' color to its former glory.Following the hull's transformation, Lusben's expert teams meticulously carried out maintenance work on the yacht's intricate onboard systems, including generators, main engines, and propellers. Notably, the mast handling system received careful attention and a delicate overhaul.Embracing the growing significance of sustainability in the boating industry, Lusben prioritized eco-conscious upgrades during the refit process. The generators were replaced with superior-class units that boast enhanced efficiency and reduced fuel consumption. Additionally, the main engine mufflers were exchanged, resulting in considerable environmental benefits and reduced noise levels for the comfort of guests. The propellers were inspected, with the shafts, blades, and bearings disassembled and serviced to optimize fuel efficiency for years to come, reflecting the collaborative efforts between Lusben, the captain, and the crew.The most vital and delicate system of the Maltese Falcon, its sail rig, underwent extensive work to ensure optimal performance. Developed by UK-based Insensys, the pioneering Dynarig system features three rotating carbon fiber masts capable of deploying an impressive 2,396 sqm of sail. This remarkable rig allows the yacht to reach top speeds of 25 knots with a displacement of 1,240 tonnes. During the refit, the teak deck was replaced, and the interiors were refurbished, with a particular focus on the cabins and bathrooms to enhance comfort and provide a more welcoming night area. The galley was also fully appointed to meet the highest standards. Energy-efficient LED lighting was installed, resulting in substantial energy savings. Routine maintenance, including hull cleaning and valve overhauls, was also diligently executed as part of the commission.The yacht now returns to its captain and crew as a testament to exceptional craftsmanship and a commitment to sustainability in the yachting industry. “It was a challenging job and an effort that involved everyone, because of the high expectations around the project and the complexity of its planning and execution, but the result is more than satisfactory thanks to the support of the yard and Lusben’s team. The Maltese Falcon can now return to the sea in all her splendor, regaling her guests with new and unforgettable experiences,” said Pierfrancesco Cafaro, captain of Maltese Falcon.Lusben was founded in 1958 in Viareggio. The shipyard has over 60 years of experience in the yacht refit sector. Credits: Lusben
June 2, 2023
Van der Valk Shipyard has announced the commissioning of two new superyacht projects: Project 111.11 and Project Samba. These vessels, based on the proven hull design of Lady Lene, will embody the vision and preferences of their respective owners, with every detail meticulously tailored to their desires.35m Project SambaThe 34-meter Project 111.11 and the 35-meter Project Samba will feature distinct exterior profiles, expertly crafted by the esteemed designer Guido de Groot. Guido de Groot will also lend his creative touch to the interior of Project Samba, while the interior design of Project 111.11 will be skillfully executed by Carla Guilhem. The clients for Project Samba were introduced to Van der Valk by Will Noftsinger from Denison Yachting.34m Project 111.11Both yachts have been ordered by experienced owners. Project 111.11 will be full displacement with twin Volvo Penta 750 hp continuous duty engines and a top speed of 14.4 knots. In contrast, Project Samba’s fast displacement hull and twin MAN 1450 hp diesels will ensure top speeds around the 17-knot mark.Project 111.11Project 111.11 will have the sky lounge with an asymmetrical semi-full-beam layout in order to stay under 300 GT volume. This allows the vessel to be built under full commercial charter class without requiring a rescue tender/davit and also gives a sidewalk from bridge to aft deck to avoid crew having to go through the lounge. The full beam master suite will have a large walk-in wardrobe aft that includes a chute which leads directly to the laundry station on the lower deck. The lower deck has a very large washer/drier capacity and a walk through from the laundry into the guest corridor, requiring a watertight bulkhead door for damage stability reasons.Project SambaProject Samba will have a large aft deck that includes a relaxation lounge zone featuring an aft-facing sofa and a formal dining table for alfresco lunches and dinners. The lower deck will feature a beach club with a chill-out area, sauna, day head and lots of washer/drier capacity for towels. Extra space will become available in the garage once the William Sportjet 395 tender is launched. Van der Valk is a family-run company building comfortable, innovative and efficient (semi) custom motor yachts from 18m to 45m. From its humble roots in the 1960s, Van der Valk today has a global fleet of over 1000 motor yachts. Credits: Van der Valk
June 2, 2023
Azimut Benetti Group and Eni Sustainable Mobility Lead the Way in Sustainable Yachting with Biofuel Partnership
Eni Sustainable Mobility, a trailblazer in sustainable energy solutions, has joined forces with Azimut Benetti Group in an unprecedented partnership aimed at revolutionizing the yachting industry's environmental impact. The collaboration centers around the supply and use of HVOlution, an innovative biofuel made entirely from renewable raw materials.S7HVOlution, derived from 100% Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO), is produced at Eni Sustainable Mobility's state-of-the-art biorefineries in Venice and Gela. This advanced biofuel is manufactured using waste raw materials, vegetable residues, and non-food crop oils, adhering to a circular economy model that promotes sustainability. HVOlution offers remarkable emissions reductions of up to 90% compared to traditional fossil blends, depending on the specific raw materials utilized.Azimut Benetti Group will introduce HVOlution as a substitute for conventional fossil fuels in various aspects of yacht production and operation. Beginning in summer 2023, HVOlution will power the technical testing, sea trials, and prototype handling of new Azimut and Benetti models. Moreover, owners will have the opportunity to receive their newly acquired Azimut yachts with HVOlution biofuel already in the tank.HVOlution EniThe collaboration will be inaugurated in early June with the inaugural voyage of Azimut's highly anticipated Magellano 60, which will journey from Savona to Taormina for its international debut at the prestigious "Yachting Gala" event, hosting over 600 esteemed yacht owners from around the world.Stefano Ballista, CEO of Eni Sustainable Mobility, expressed his enthusiasm for this significant milestone in the recreational boating sector's decarbonization journey. He highlighted the partnership with Azimut|Benetti Group as an initial stride towards broader integration of HVOlution in the maritime industry.“For Azimut|Benetti Group, this agreement is a tangible step forward on the course we have charted out to reduce CO2 emissions. It is a result that enables us to extend our area of action in emissions reduction by involving the supply chain, with a focus on energy decarbonisation. At the present time, over half of Azimut’s fleet is made up of Low Emission Yachts, while Benetti has built the world's largest hybrid yacht as well as winning the ‘Green yacht of the year 2022’ award with the 37-meter B.Yond,” said Azimut Benetti Group President Giovanna Vitelli.Magellano 60As the partnership progresses, Azimut Benetti Group and Eni Sustainable Mobility plan to expand the distribution network, providing yacht owners with enhanced access to HVOlution and the opportunity to refuel with this eco-friendly biofuel. Initially, Azimut|Benetti Group marinas across Italy will serve as primary supply points for private individuals, with future plans to extend the network globally.Azimut|Benetti Group was founded in 1969 by Paolo Vitelli, who is still the main shareholder today and Giovanna Vitelli is the President. The Group’s Azimut Yachts and Benetti brands produce over 45 models of yachts and megayachts. With value of production of €1 billion in 2021/2022 and 1.2 billion in 2022/2023, over 2,000 employees, six shipyards and a network of 138 points of sale and service worldwide, Azimut|Benetti Group operates in the European, American, Middle Eastern and Asian markets. Credits: Azimut Benetti Group
June 2, 2023
Sunreef Yachts has announced a new 33-meter electric Sunreef Explorer Eco yacht. The Polish shipbuilder called it ‘a game changer with bold architecture and a fresh approach to travel’. The vessel has been designed to take owners to the most remote places in complete silence without any smoke and vibrations.The 33m Sunreef Explorer Eco is a transoceanic electric superyacht made from aluminum and advanced composite materials. Its design is aimed at maximizing the use of solar energy: solar panels are integrated into the hull, superstructure, bimini roof and bow deck across the entire width of the vessel. The photovoltaic system of the catamaran provides a power of 50 kW/p.Inside catamaran has spacious and light-filled interiors that can be adapted to any navigation plan and lifestyle, including an indoor cinema, spa, library or gym. She features a large master suite with private terrace and spacious guest staterooms. Decors are custom made using an endless variety of recycled and recyclable materials and fabrics.The 33m Sunreef Explorer Eco has state-of-the-art water heaters, water-saving faucets, a rainwater harvesting system and an ultra-efficient heat recovery boiler, the catamaran provides the best possible water management.She also has space for e-bikes, e-reels, sailing dinghies and tenders. This space connects to the yacht's full-beam aft cockpit, where there are plenty of sunbathing areas and a spa pool with panoramic ocean views.Sunreef Yachts was founded by Francis Lapp in 2002 in Gdansk, Poland. Since then, the shipyard has been designing and manufacturing luxury sailing and power multihulls. Credits: Sunreef Yachts
June 2, 2023
The GTX116#1 and her owner arrive in Monte Carlo for the Monaco GP, an exciting encounter between the racing spirit embodied by the Pershing GTX Series and adrenaline-pumping high speed.The shipyard has shared the first photographs of this first unit of the new Pershing model – Caffeine is the name chosen by the owner – featuring a sleek, streamlined profile that encapsulates the brand’s sporty character. The yacht is painted a new shade of gray, with a special shade of blue for the deckhouse, while the generous glazed surfaces flood the interiors with natural light.The hull over 35 meters in length and 7.70 meters in the beam, has a 150 sqm of outdoor areas seamlessly connected to the water, taking liveability to the next level. The first Pershing GTX116 is equipped with a triple water jet propulsion system, which can be paired with three MAN V12 2000 engines each rated 2,000 mhp (optional) for a top speed of 35.5 knots and a cruising speed of 29.5 knots. The Ferretti Group, led by Chief Executive Officer Alberto Galassi, is now one of the world’s leaders in the construction and sale of luxury yachts and pleasure vessels, with a unique portfolio of brands: Ferretti Yachts, Riva, Pershing, Itama, Mochi Craft, CRN, Custom Line and Wally.Credits: Ferretti Group
June 1, 2023