Jeff Bezos’ new yacht is so large that a bridge needs to be dismantled in order to let it pass.
Rotterdam’s historic Koningshaven Bridge will have to have the middle section removed to make way for Bezos’ superyacht, Euronews reported.
The yacht that is being built for the billionaire by the Dutch firm Oceanco is a record-breaking vessel, reported to be 417 feet long, according to the BBC.
The bridge is 95 years old. Its proposed temporary dismantling has sparked controversy, since Rotterdam’s city council promised to not touch the bridge after its restoration in 2017. It is considered a national monument.
After recent news stories, Rotterdam officials this week began walking back their arrangement with Bezos’ shipbuilder. The New York Times reported Thursday that a subsequent announcement by the city said they “had not yet approved the plan.”
Those in charge said there would be no structural changes to the bridge. There is a chance that the bridge would actually be restored the same day, once the yacht passes through.
Bezos’ yacht should be able to fit under all the other bridges, a spokesperson said.
The mayor’s office said that the building of the yacht has had the positive benefit of providing jobs.
Do you think Bezos should just have built a smaller yacht?
Rotterdam’s local authority project leader Marcel Walravens agreed and said that it was not realistic to finish the ship construction anywhere else just to save the bridge from being dismantled.
“Shipbuilding and activity within that sector are an important pillar of the municipality,” Walravens said.
Since the benefit is clear, taking out the middle of the bridge is then necessary since it is the “only route to the sea,” the BBC reported.
But the president of the Rotterdam Historical Society Ton Wesselink said that this project is risky for the bridge.
Even though “the risk of damage to the structure can be reduced to almost zero because the work will be done by professional people, the risk will always be there,” Wesselink said, as Euronews reported.
To the people of Rotterdam, the bridge is an important historical structure, since much of the Netherlands’ historic buildings and sites were destroyed during the war.
“We don’t have many historic buildings in Rotterdam. Many monuments were lost during the war, and we like this bridge very much. It has been restored a few years ago and the promise was made not to touch it, so it is not understandable that now, just because a ship wants to pass, we have to dismantle it,” Wesselink told Euronews.
Known as Y721, this vessel will be the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. It outsizes the “Sea Cloud” vessel, which Boat International previously ranked as the largest sailing yacht in the world.
“Sea Cloud” is 109.5 meters long, while Bezos’ vessel will be about 127 meters.
Y721 is also rumored to have a “support yacht” with a helicopter landing pad, the BBC reported.
“Hopefully Bezos will pay the municipality enough money so that we can invest it in maintaining our national heritage,” Wesselink told Euronews. “These things just can’t be done.”