The recent seizure of a staggering $330 million worth of cocaine aboard the sailing yacht Raj in Vanuatu made headlines worldwide, with Australian police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and various South Pacific nations coordinating to capture an estimated 1,600 pounds of the white powder. The drug dealers had concealed the coke in engine-room compartments as well as in the yacht’s keel, sealing it in with concrete and rocks that took hours for investigators to chisel through.
All of that effort got us to thinking about how boats are built, which led us to wonder what, exactly, the dealers might have been dreaming of building or buying with their $330 million haul. They would have been in great yachting company, as a $330-million superyacht is uncommon even in the rarefied ocean playgrounds beloved by the world’s billionaires.
Here are three superyachts that the crooks could’ve made a potentially successful bid to buy with their $330 big ones:
• The 390-foot Blohm + Voss A reportedly cost about $300 million to build (leaving the new owners an extra $30 million for refit, secret-compartment upgrades and safe rooms aboard the 2008 launch).
• The 290-foot Oceanco Nirvana, a 2012 launch shown in the photograph at right, is currently for sale at about $300 million with Edmiston and Company. (But her top speed is just shy of 20 knots, not nearly fast enough to outrun a patrol boat.)
• The 440-foot Fincantieri Serene, built in 2010, reportedly cost about $300 million. (And her owner is Russian vodka tycoon Yuri Scheffler, so the coke dealers would’ve had some nice, chilled Stolichnaya as chasers.)