By: John Berthelsen

The notorious 91.5 meter motor yacht Equanimity, built for Malaysian fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, described as one of the most opulent vessels ever built, has been renamed Tranquility and gone on sale by the yacht brokers Camper & Nicholsons International in Monaco for an undisclosed price rumored to be US$200 million.  

The yacht, built in 2014 at an estimated cost of US$250 million that prosecutors say was stolen from the government-backed 1Malaysia Development Bhd, was seized in 2018 by US officials in Bali and turned over to the Malaysian government, which sold it to Genting Resorts Ltd in May for US$126 million. 

With the threat of confiscation looming from the US Justice Department in 2017, the yacht made a half-year run for it on the high seas, with the crew turning off its transponders, which send radio location signals, to slide unobserved from port to port, appearing off New Zealand, then South Korea, Phuket and finally Bali, where investigators ran it down. 

A source in London told Asia Sentinel the vessel is likely to be difficult to resell because of its notoriety stemming from the US$4.8 billion collapse of 1MDB, and also because the interior, which has been described as unbelievably expensive, is rather tacky in billionaire terms, according to the source. Genting reportedly had the vessel refitted at Grand Banks, their own yacht yard in Singapore. 

Grand Banks yachts are said to be very popular in the US — small, normally between 45 feet to 85 feet, and said to appeal to nouveau rich or upper middle-class Americans. But, according to the London-based source, prospective buyers are likely to be Russian or Middle Eastern oligarchs who will want the interior completely redone, at a cost expected to run US$25 million or more. 

Although books about the scandal have described the interior as having been designed to please the alleged mastermind behind 1MDB, actually the materials were said to have been selected by Rosmah Mansor, the wife of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is on trial in Malaysia for his part in the scandal.

The yacht, under its new name Tranquility, made headlines this summer when it was chartered by billionaire businesswoman Kylie Jenner, reportedly at a cost of more than US$1 million per week, who was celebrating her 22nd birthday off the coast of Capri, according to promotional materials produced by Camper & Nicholsons.

Genting is one of the world’s biggest cruise and resort operators through its Hong Kong holding company, operating Crystal Cruises, headquartered in Los Angeles, Star Cruises, headquartered in Hong Kong, and Dream Cruises, headquartered in Guangzhou.

Established in 1965 by ethnic Chinese tycoon Lim Goh Tong with a license to operate a huge casino in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in mountains east of Kuala Lumpur – in a majority Muslim country where gambling is verboten — Genting has always been close to the government. Genting employs 62,000 people worldwide and operates casinos and other gaming operations in the United States, Latin America, Australia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and United Kingdom.

Tranquility requires a crew of 28 and features a deck-level Jacuzzi, a sauna, helicopter pad, swimming pool, beach club, beauty salon, zero-speed stabilizers, gym, spa, elevator, movie theatre, tender garage, swimming platform, air conditioning, steam room, Turkish bath, beauty salon, underwater lights and owner’s stateroom study. It can accommodate 18 to 22 guests in 9 or 11 staterooms depending on configuration. 

Launched in the Netherlands in 2014, the vessel was the first super-yacht to be built to the new PYC standard, according to a prior sales brochure. Her twin 4,828 hp diesel engines propel her to a top speed of 19.5 knots. When trimmed back to her cruising speed of 16 knots, Tranquility boasts a globetrotting range, according to the brochure thanks to her total fuel capacity of 271,000 liters, which helped to keep her out of government hands for months before officials caught up with her.

They have not caught up with Jho Low, however, who is believed to be in hiding in China, and is believed to still have plenty of money to spend from the US$4.8 billion believed to be missing from Malaysia.

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