Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich rose from obscurity and successfully navigated the shady world of early Russian privatization to become one of the world's wealthiest self-made billionaires. His 40-man private army of security personnel make him one of the best-protected businessmen in the world, and when his private gigayacht the Eclipse
is handed over in time for Christmas this year, it will be the largest (at a staggering 560ft) and most expensive (at US$1.2 billion) private yacht the world has ever seen. Security will be as tight as you'd expect, with missile defence and intruder detection systems - but the Eclipse's most notable feature is a privacy system that can detect the digital cameras of snooping paparazzi and blind them with laser bursts, ruining spy photos.
The recent incident involving a the seizure of a Ukranian ship carrying 33 tanks off the coast of Somalia has turned the spotlight on the problem of international piracy. Roman Abramovich is paying attention. The Chelsea soccer club owner is spending a £200 million (USD$340 million) chunk of his £11.7billion personal fortune on a mega-yacht
that will be well equipped to deal with such a threat: armor plating, bullet-proof windows, a missile-detection system and an escape submarine. Oh yeah, and at a massive 550ft long it will also be the largest private yacht ever built.
February 7, 2005 In recent weeks we've written about several of the world's largest megayachts: the 118 metre Phillipe Starck-designed Sigma, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Octopus and the 138 metre Rising Sun owned by Oracle Software founder Larry Ellison. Now there's a new megayacht on the drawing boards that will be bigger than all of them if it gets built - a 147 metre palace on water which sets new standards for design and functionality including its own cinema, disco, swimming pool, helicopter, integrated tender vessel and, would you believe, an integrated submarine.