Royal Yacht Serene Hits the Rocks

Fears are growing that a Superyacht belonging to Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is doing untold damage to a reef in the Red Sea having run aground upon it in late August

The 134 metre superyacht Serene grounded on 22nd August, some 20 nautical miles east of the popular Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm El Sheikh in the Red Sea close by Tiran Island.

The yacht is reportedly hard aground on the rock and as well as causing environmental damage has also sustained damage to her bulbous bow and hull in the forward sections.

The hull has reportedly been punctured forward and even though there was no water ingress at the time of the accident, concerns remain locally that she may sustain further damage that could lead to fuel oil being spilled into the water.

The reef is a popular dive site known for its hard and soft corals including nudibranches hidden in caves and crevices. The reef is teeming with fish and divers visit the island to see White Tip Reef Sharks and Eagle rays. The reef is home to Octopus and many different species of eel including Moray, Peppered and Gold edged morays. Other reef residents include schools of large barracuda and tuna.

A navigation track error coupled with propulsion failure is reportedly the cause of the incident, although that information has not been confirmed by us.

A marine salvage team is in position at the site and have already attempted to pull the yacht free from the reef. Weather and the fear of causing further damage to both yacht and reef are factors hampering success.

The salvage fee is likely to be in the region of £15 million and repairs will cost an estimated £20 million on top of that.

Serene was built by the Italian shipyard Fincantieri and was delivered in 2011 for Russian vodka tycoon Yuri Scheffler and was rumoured to cost then £250 million. In the summer of 2014, Bill Gates was said to have charted the yacht paying around £3.5 million per week. She was sold to her current owner for an undisclosed price in 2015.