Billionaire's yacht in for a Kiwi paint job
A stunning white $350 million superyacht is now high and dry in a sea of navy grey in the drydock at Auckland's Devonport base being prepared for a $30 million re-paint.
The Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko has dry-docked his 119-metre long and 5959 gross tons ship called simply "A", in the Calliope Dock.
It's a case of history coming full circle - the dry-dock was built in 1888 to service Royal Navy ships amid New Zealand fear that imperial Russia was going to invade.
The superyacht slipped into Auckland last month after a paint job that went wrong in the United States.
Melnichenko was so peeved by the "lines and sags" in the earlier job he has filed a suit in New Jersey against Akzo Nobel - the company that owns the US version of Dulux paints – for US$100 million (NZ$120m) in damages, Britain's Daily Mail reported.
Part of Melnichenko's claim included the cost of a replacement vessel charter while his yacht was re-painted.
Documents filed at the court state: "In addition to attorney's fees and costs, these damages represent over US$100m in ascertainable losses on the part of the plaintiff," the Daily Mail reported.
"A" is a metre longer than New Zealand's frigates Te Kaha and Te Mana which weight in at 3600 tons each.
"A" was named after Melnichenko's Serbian model wife Aleksandra.
It has 23,600 square feet of living space, and the ship, which looks like a cross between a stealth destroyer and a submarine, was designed to be in harmony with the sea and nature.
It can reach speeds up to 23 knots, has a range of 4250 nautical miles, and sports all the latest navigation and entertainment equipment.
"A" could accommodate 14 guests in one owner's suite and up to 37 crew members onboard. It had six guest suites.
Calliope Dock is part of the Devonport naval base but is managed by leading British marine engineering firm, Babcock International.
It can accommodate vessels up to 170 metres in length and 22.5 metres beam. It carries out 25 dry-dockings each year with the range of vessels including cargo and cruise ships, fishing vessels, superyachts as well as navy warships and support vessels.
One of the first ships to use it was HMS Calliope, the only naval ship to survive Samoa's 1889 cyclone which sank or destroyed seven American and German warships in Apia harbour.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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