The yacht of billionaire JR Ridinger no longer exists. A collision in the waters of the Bahamas caused the yacht to sink, rendering it irretrievable and worthless. The Utopia IV superyacht was worth a staggering $51 million.
A Look at the Accident
The superyacht dropped to the bottom of the ocean as a result of a rear-end collision with a gas tanker that occurred on Christmas Eve in the Bahamas. The gas tanker dubbed “Tropic Breeze” was struck by the superyacht, sending both vessels to the bottom. Early reports state the Utopia IV collided with the gas tanker’s stern. The accident occurred at 10 p.m. by New Providence Island.
The owner of the ship, Maritime Management, reported to the Caribbean National Weekly that the impact of the collision pierced the tanker’s stern, and it sank to the bottom of the ocean floor. It is estimated that the ocean floor is at a depth of 2,000 feet.
There is a chance that the collision will result in considerable environmental damage. However, the silver lining is that the tanker’s non-persistent materials, including gasoline, are lighter than water, meaning it will evaporate when subjected to air along the surface of the water.
The Rescue Effort
The individuals on the superyacht survived the collision. Crew members from another superyacht passing by at the time of the collision lent their assistance. However, at the time of this publication, it is unknown if Ridinger, the billionaire who owns the superyacht, was on board at the time of the collision.
Ridinger, 65, is the CEO of Shop.com and Market America. Media members who reached out to Ridinger did not receive any response to their requests for more information. Media members also made an effort to obtain additional information about the crash and rescue effort from the Bahama’s Ministry of Transport and Housing yet, no information was provided.
An Inside Look at the Utopia IV
The Utopia IV is one of the world’s most lavish yachts. The massive vessel had four Rolls Royce hydro jets to reach incredibly fast speeds. All in all, a dozen individuals could sleep inside the Utopia IV. The boat’s interior contained upscale materials from the likes of Armani and Hermes. The yacht’s master suite had a jacuzzi along with a gorgeous pool with a glass bottom.
Media outlets have revealed Ridinger and his wife put their West Chelsea home up for sale in the summer of 2020. The property included space for docking a boat at Chelsea Piers. It is unknown as to whether the couple transitioned to their superyacht as a full-time home. Furthermore, there is no word as to how many people were on the superyacht at the time it went down. It is possible Ridinger and his wife were on the boat since it has more than enough room for a couple to live. The Utopia IV had 207 feet of living space.
The tanker will not be salvaged since it suffered significant damage and is simply too large to retrieve. It was traveling toward the Great Stirrup Cay at the time of the accident. The massive ship was carrying Guyanese nationals along with crew members at the time of the collision. The passengers were rescued by the same yacht that also rescued those from the Utopia IV. It is interesting to note that several eyewitnesses took pictures of the Tropic Breeze as it sank to the bottom of the ocean floor. Several images have been published to social media.
The Cause of the Crash
The speed of the Utopia IV at the time of the collision has not been revealed. However, it has been revealed that the yacht slammed into the back of the gas tanker. At first glance, it appears as though the yacht operator was traveling at an egregiously high rate of speed, lost track of the boat’s proximity to the gas tanker and collided with it. The superyacht is capable of reaching a top speed of 33 knots. The boat’s average cruising speed is 26 knots.
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It is possible that Ridinger will face criminal charges stemming from the event, especially if police determine he was inebriated at the time that he slammed into the back of the gas tanker. Authorities found the Tropic Breeze to be in full compliance with all international and national safety standards in the context of vessel integrity. The Bahama Ministry of Transport is conducting an investigation into the crash, and is consulting with the Attorney General for assistance. The Department of Health is taking a close look at the collision to gauge the extent of the environmental impact.