Billionaires ‘disappointed’ after Naples bans superyachts
Megayacht owners are “thoroughly disappointed” that they won’t be able to dock in Naples this summer after the southern Italian city restricted entry to vessels over 75 metres in length.
The harbourmaster at Naples’s Mergellina port has implemented the new rules for security reasons, stemming from concerns over limited space available in the busy port, which has been at capacity for the past two months.
Megayachts have been able to dock in Naples for two decades, and the change has sparked an outcry from business leaders concerned about the impact the changes will have on the city’s tourism landscape.
Corriere della Sera reports media tycoon Barry Diller, owner of 93-metre Eos, has already changed his plans to holiday in Naples. A yacht belonging to the world’s second-richest man, LVMH boss Bernard Arnault, was also blocked from entering — leaving the 101-metre Symphony adrift off the coast.
Reports claim the ban came as a surprise to the tycoon, who had previously docked the six-deck vessel in the port.
A source at the port tells the Guardian that the move is “incomprehensible”, and that Naples — which “often makes the news for negative reasons” — will miss out on valuable tourism from high-net-worth individuals as a result of the ban.
“I am getting many letters from magnates saying they’re thoroughly disappointed that they can’t dock in Naples any more,” the source adds.
One of the letters, from a company that charters a yacht owned by a Turkish billionaire and is registered in the Cayman Islands, reads: “Our boat measures 85 metres and I have seen larger ones moored there without any problem. Why is this no longer possible? Big yachts bring money, they bring jobs, and it’s really regrettable that they can no longer stop in Naples.”
The changes have been criticised by business unions, who are concerned about the economic implications and the potential loss of prestige for Naples, which has been a destination of choice for the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lopez and Jeff Bezos.
This is not the first time that Arnault has faced impediments to his travel plans. Last year, the French businessman sold his private jet after being tracked by Twitter climate activists.
“Indeed, with all these stories, the group had a plane and we sold it,” Arnault told France’s Radio Classique. “The result now is that no one can see where I go because I rent planes when I use private planes.”