Rotterdam may dismantle historic bridge for superyacht reportedly owned by Jeff Bezos

Rotterdam officials said the shipbuilder still needs to apply for a permit. They would also pay for the bridge to be dismantled.

ByAnna Cooban and Charles Riley, CNNWire
Friday, February 4, 2022
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Rotterdam is considering a request to dismantle part of a historic bridge to allow a yacht reportedly owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to leave the shipyard where it is being built.

The Dutch city has received a request from a local shipbuilder to remove the central section of the historic Koningshaven Bridge so that a superyacht can sail to the sea, it said in a statement to CNN Business on Friday.

Rotterdam officials said the shipbuilder still needs to apply for a permit. The city said it would consider the preservation of the bridge's structure along with the impact on the environment and local economy, including jobs in the shipbuilding industry, before approving the permit.

The shipbuilder would need to pay for the bridge to be dismantled, the city added. An extensive renovation of Koningshaven Bridge, known to locals as "De Hef," was completed in 2017 and municipal officials promised it would never again be dismantled, according to Dutch public broadcaster Rijnmond.

Other bridges on the route between the shipyard and the sea would not have to be altered, city officials said.

Rijnmond identified the shipyard as Oceanco, which builds custom yachts. Oceanco is constructing a 127-meter long ship known as Y721 in Rotterdam, according to Boat International. The ship, which has three masts, will be the world's tallest sailing yacht when completed delivered later this year, the specialist publication reported.

The superyacht was commissioned by Bezos, according to Dutch media and journalist Brad Stone, who reported in his book "Amazon Unbound" last year that the billionaire's future plans include a 127-meter schooner being constructed by Oceanco.

Oceanco said it was unable to comment on its projects or clients "because of privacy and strict confidentiality reasons." Blue Origin, the spaceflight services company founded by Bezos, did not respond to a request for comment.

Bezos is the world's third richest person, with a net worth of $164 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. News that a historic bridge may have to be temporarily dismantled later this year on his behalf angered some Rotterdam residents.

"I think it's one of the few more examples ... that the more money you have, the more power you get," resident Matthias Van Der Wilt, 20, told Reuters. If the city approves the permit after "Bezos offers some nice money," it would show that officials "don't have character," he added.

- AnneClaire Stapleton and Wayne Chang contributed reporting.

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