THIS is the dramatic moment a US billionaire’s £38m superyacht sank a 160-foot gas tanker near the Bahamas.
Retail tycoon JR Ridinger's yacht, Utopia IV, rammed the tanker, the Tropic Breeze, off the coast of New Providence Island on Christmas Eve.
Images of the crash show the tanker falling towards the ocean floor and the crew members getting into life boats.
Maritime Management, which owns the Tropic Breeze, told the Caribbean National Weekly: “The catastrophic force of the collision pierced the stern of the tanker causing the tanker to sink to the ocean floor at an estimated depth of 2,000 feet.”
They added that all “non-persistent materials”, such as liquefied petroleum gas, marine gas, and automotive gas, “are lighter than water and will evaporate if exposed to surface air”.
Another superyacht, the Amara, passed the sinking ship and rescued the crew members.
It is unclear at what speed the Utopia was traveling when it struck the tanker.
“The Port Department has begun a formal investigation into the incident, and the Department of Environmental Health is also conducting a review of the environmental impact. These activities are currently underway,” the Bahamas Ministry of Transport and Housing said in a statement.
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The 207-foot Utopia IV was built in 2018 at the Italian shipyard Rossinavi and has engines from Rolls Royce to power it along.
It can host 12 sleeping guests, with the interior featuring brands such as Hermes and Armani. The owner’s quarters also have a jacuzzi and a pool with a glass bottom.
Maritime Management added in their statement that the tanker was inspected this month “and was found by the authorities to be fully compliant with all national and international safety and vessel integrity standards”.
“Due to the depth of the ocean at the location of the sinking, it has been determined that the tanker cannot be safely salvaged,” they said.
It’s unclear if Mr Ridinger, the 65-year-old CEO of Market America and Shop.com, was on the yacht at the time of the crash.
Mr Ridinger and his wife Loren put their West Chelsea duplex apartment up for sale in July 2020, which was close to the parking space for their ship at Chelsea Piers.
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