The Emirati royal family now rule the waves after it was revealed they own the world’s biggest mega-yacht, knocking Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s off the top spot.
The Chelsea owner’s vessel Eclipse had been the world’s biggest yacht for the past three years, but it has now been usurped by Azzam which is 54ft (16.5m) longer – the length of a football field penalty area.
The 590ft (180 metre) super-yacht is set to launch a new round of one-upmanship among the world’s super-rich.
More story, pictures and video after the cut.
Ownership of the £390million craft has been shrouded in secrecy, but Yachts France, which creates the annual mega yacht league table, revealed it belongs to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nayan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi.
Longer than 12 double-decker buses, not only is Azzam the biggest superyacht, it is also expected to be one of the fastest.
The 94,000 horsepower vessel could reach speeds of more than 30 knots, or 35mph.
The size of superyachts has grown as billionaires compete to own the largest and its builders boast that Azzam, which means dedication in Arabic, is the ‘most complex and challenging yacht that has ever been built’.
It was designed by Nauta Yachts and constructed in Bremen by Lurssen – she was floated out in April.
The firm’s Peter Lurssen said: ‘She truly represents another milestone in yachting history.’
The yacht requires a staff of 50, and interior features include a 29ft salon and a stunning, open-plan interior.
French interior designer Christophe Leoni was briefed to produce a sophisticated and yet timeless interior with a turn-of-the-century, Empire style.
It is likely to match the luxury of Abraovich’s Eclipse, which features an armour-plated master suite, two swimming pools, two helipads, a hall, a cinema, a mini-submarine and even its own missile defence system.
Abramovich has owned Eclipse, which is valued at £740million, since it was launched in 2010.
It took the title of world’s biggest private yacht from the 454ft Rising Sun, owned by American businessman Larry Ellison, which in turn took over from the 414ft Octopus, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
Azzam’s design suggests it has been built for a buyer in the Middle East as it has about 50 suites but no large open spaces on deck, said TheYachtPhoto’s Peter Seyfferth.
‘I have never seen an Arab-owned yacht with big parties and girls round the pool like the Russians have,’ he said.
‘It is unlikely it will leave its dock very often. It is more of a question of prestige, to have the world’s largest yacht.’
Of the top 100 yachts featured in the list, 31 were owned by people from the Middle East, 19 were Russian owned, and 17 belonged to Americans.