Moving away: Superyacht industry explodes during Covid pandemic | Coronavirus
In an age of environmental awareness and remarkable displays of sustainability, you can’t expect an increase in the number of people who can afford and have an appetite for a Â£ 50million Lonely Floating Fortress.
But, in part because of the coronavirus crisis, the superyacht industry is booming – and the number of ships under construction or on order around the world has hit a new record. According to figures revealed in the latest edition of Boat International’s global order book, more than 1,200 superyachts are expected to be built, a 25% increase from last year.
âThe market has never been so busy,â said Will Christie, a superyacht broker. âAnd I’ve been in the industry for 20 years. Many people say they value the safety of being on a yacht during the pandemic. But it’s also because, whereas previously people with enough cash were too busy in the office to justify the purchase, today they can work from anywhere.
“I had a client who airlifted his trading terminals for him to use on board – he was kitesurfing in the afternoon, then going back to his office.”
Christie said shipyards’ order books were generally full until 2025, meaning customers are willing to pay a premium to take over someone else’s niche if it can be delivered for years. earlier. He argued that the ability to transport your vacation home to a different location at any time was very appealing.
âEveryone just wants freedom, and the very wealthy can afford it,â he added. âThe ability to escape anywhere is very appealing in today’s climate. They think I don’t need to be stuck in the office, and if you’re worth billions, why should you be? “
Critics of the superyacht boom point to the grossly disproportionate environmental damage produced by the super-rich. “Whether it’s that, private jets, or space travel, they’re just pointing two fingers at the rest of society,” said Peter Newell, professor of international relations at the University of Canada. Sussex. âIt’s decadent. They are not comfortable with the constraints that come with accepting collective responsibility for the fate of the planet.
Newell, the lead author of a Rapid Transition Alliance report that called on policymakers to target “the polluter elite” to limit their carbon consumption, said industry claims about adoption of a more sustainable model were not convincing. He called for government action. âYou can’t just rely on people’s empathy – it has to be taxation and regulation,â he said. “But it’s very, very difficult with a mobile elite who can move their money and their goods.”
Of the 1,200 superyachts ordered or under construction, 27 are estimated to be over 100 meters long, according to the Global Order Book. The REV Ocean, built by Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge RÃ¸kke, will measure 183 m, making it the tallest in the world. It has a “lunar pool” through which a submarine will be deployed for ocean research.
Some of the more attractive features of existing superyachts include helicopter landing pads, open-air cinemas, and, in the case of UFC fighter Conor McGregor, a “jousting platform.”
Economic anthropologist Richard Wilk, distinguished professor at Indiana University in the United States, said: âOf course if you add all the superyachts together, it’s just a small hit on the total production. greenhouse gases. But it is symbolic – and the global impact of the estimated 2,000 billionaires on the planet is very significant. So it’s part of a pattern of overconsumption of the upper crust.
While researching with his colleague Beatriz Barros, he found that the average billionaire has a carbon footprint thousands of times that of the average person. The average global CO footprint2 emitted per person is just under five tonnes, while they estimated that Roman Abramovich – the biggest polluter according to their list – was responsible for around 33,859 tonnes of carbon emitted in 2018. More than two-thirds were the product of his yacht, the 162.5-meter Eclipse.
In addition to fuel when the vessel is in service, said Wilk, “even when [the owners] are not on board, they usually have a large permanent crew there, using all kinds of relatively inefficient systems. They could call the captain and ask him to take the yacht from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean to meet them. So you can bleach it, but that doesn’t make much of a difference.
Sympathy for superyacht owners may not have been bolstered by a recent intervention by Australia’s richest woman, mining tycoon Gina Rinehart. In a video recorded from the deck of her own ship in front of an emerald sea, she complained that there was not enough space to moor superyachts in Queensland.
âFor example, we’ve just been through days of very rough water from the southern border of Queensland to the Capricorn Coast,â she said. âThen when we got to the coast we didn’t feel very well after two very difficult sleepless nights and one difficult day there were a lot of yachts outside the marinas given the lack of marinas.â
Queensland could suffer as overseas superyacht owners would be less likely to visit, she added. âThese superyachts also need marinas, which is sorely lacking for vessels over 50 meters. It’s time to have more marinas big enough to accommodate not only small and medium-sized yachts, but also larger ones.