End of the controversy: Jeff Bezos’ superyacht will leave the port of Rotterdam without having to dismantle the De Hef bridge | people

The height of the masts of the superyacht whose order is attributed to the American millionaire businessman Jeff Bezos, founder of the company Amazon, is no longer a problem for the city of Rotterdam. 127 meters long and built in the Netherlands, it was to be dismantle a 1927 bridge, called De Hef (The Elevator), located in the city’s harbour, so that the huge ship could cross it and reach the North Sea with its masts already in place. In view of the criticism and threats of vandalism triggered by this possibility, the construction company Oceanco decided to transfer the ship without the masts to a shipyard in the port complex from where it will sail without problems to open waters. The transport took place this Tuesday and it will no longer be necessary to seek permission from Rotterdam City Council to dismantle the central section of De Hef, which goes up and down and is one of the city’s landmarks.

The code for the yacht is project Y721, and Royal van der Wees, the transport company in charge of the voyage, confirms the move, but declined to comment further when requested by this newspaper. The ship was in a shipyard located about 28 kilometers from its current destination: Greenport Rotterdam. It is an installation where the final touches will be made, “in a phase of work carried out regularly in the port of Rotterdam for all types of boats brought from different countries”, specifies René Quist, director of the nautical journal. Schuttevaer.

The exit at sea of ​​the large ships from the Dutch quay is a spectacle which generally attracts a large public. In the case of Jeff Bezos’ ship, which will be the largest served by Oceanco to date, the tour would have been very eye-catching and beneficial from a public relations perspective. However, Quist believes “that the controversy sparked on social networks [donde se llegó a animar a lanzar huevos al paso del buque] It has to do with the conflict between the historical weight of the De Hef Bridge, and its symbolic value for the city, and what you might call the new rich who pull out the checkbook without a problem”. Bezos is the second richest man in the world with an estimated fortune of 159 billion euros, according to the magazine’s 2022 list. Forbes. The Bloomberg agency estimates the cost of the ship at 430 million. For its part, Oceanco is a construction company with a shipyard in the Netherlands, whose owner and president is Mohamed al Barwani, a businessman from Oman.

Image of the Koninginnebrug bridge, known as De Hef, in the city of Rotterdam.
Image of the Koninginnebrug bridge, known as De Hef, in the city of Rotterdam.Thierry Monasse (Getty Images)

De Hef is the colloquial nickname for the bridge that seemed in danger, although it is actually called Koningshavenbrug (something like King’s Harbor Bridge) and is a national monument. Erected to allow the circulation of trains, it was damaged during the bombardment of rotterdam, in May 1940, during World War II. It was one of the first structures to be later restored and although it lost its function decades ago when a railway tunnel was opened, today it is one of works of art which gives its appearance to the Dutch city and connects the island of Noordereiland to the district of Feijenoord. Its central part has a considerable headroom of 46 meters, which is not enough for Bezos’ yacht to pass with its masts upright. Despite the fact that the Town Hall is considering the possibility of issuing a dismantling permit for this bridge twice a year under strict conditions and although the costs would be borne by Oceanco, the company ultimately preferred to avoid the risks. She also does not comment on it for reasons of confidentiality. At the end of June, city councilor Vincent Karremans reported that De Hef’s centerpiece would not be dismantled in the short term, as Oceanco had not applied for the corresponding permit. It is not necessary any more.

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