ROTTERDAM – It was the talk of the town for months but the uproar over dismantling part of an old bridge so superyacht builder Oceanco could move a colossal superyacht seaward has quietly fizzled out.
The City of Rotterdam has said Oceanco will “for now not apply” for a special permit to dismantle part of a 95-year-old bridge so it can pass a 417ft (127m) long sailing yacht, reportedly owned by Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos, through the port. Neither the city nor Oceanco would comment on the development.
The old bridge lacks the clearance to allow the sailing yacht to pass from the Oceanco yard in the Port of Rotterdam toward the North Sea. The bridge opened in 1927, is no longer in use, and still holds a warm spot in Rotterdam hearts. The latest Oceanco yacht has not been shown yet and is 21m longer than the 106m (348ft) Black Pearl, the yard delivered in 2016 (photo).
The plan to temporarily remove the bridge’s top span triggered a lively public debate, with some locals inviting Rotterdammers to throw eggs at the yacht.
But civil disobedience also elicited a heartfelt defense of Rotterdam’s vast port and maritime history. The story of a bridge too short was fodder for media worldwide.
“I talk to a lot of residents of Rotterdam,” one councilwoman told the New York Times. “They’re incredibly proud that these kinds of ships sail through our city. This is the Netherlands at its best. It’s about the image of the port, and you should be proud of that.”