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'Floating palace' visits Isle

Le Grand Bleu mega yacht at Sheerness
Le Grand Bleu mega yacht at Sheerness

by Gemma Constable

Sheppey has had its fair share of famous visitors - Nelson, Henry VIII and Jade Goody’s mum Jackiey Budden to name a few.

But last week it was a celebrity yacht that put in an appearance.

Setting tongues wagging at Sheerness Docks on Friday was Le Grand Bleu (big blue).

It is the mega yacht dubbed a 'floating palace’ that was at one time owned by Chelsea FC’s Roman Abramovich.

Its value has been estimated at £75million.

More used to the shores of Monaco, New York and other glamourous locations, Le Grand Bleu was reportedly in Sheerness to take on fresh water before setting sail.

One Islander, who has a relative who works at the Docks, said it had been in Sheerness for a few days and the crew had been shopping in Tesco.

The 370ft yacht was built in 2000 and has a crew of approximately 50.

There is a helicopter landing pad and a 74ft sailboat and 67ft speedboat stored on deck.

Another person who had seen the craft said: “It was just huge, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Russian billionaire Abramovich bought the yacht from American businessman John McCaw Jr in 2002 and had her lengthened and refitted.

Then in 2006, he gave the craft to old friend and colleague Eugene Shvidler, who is the current owner.

It is not known if he was on board at Sheerness last week.

Its latest dry dock and refit was in Port Canaveral, Florida, in 2008, which included a new “green” wastewater treatment system being added.

The system allows the ship to reuse the wastewater after treatment rather than discharging it into the sea.

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