Blog Archives

Billion Dollar Themed Mega-yachts

These days, owning a yacht is NBD. Like how McDonald’s supersized is now large, a mega-yacht is a super-yacht and a super-yacht is now a regular yacht. So what can these poor billionaires do to actually impress their friends? Buy one of these billion dollar themed mega-yachts of course!  Yacht Island Design has designed two themed mega-yachts. The first is “The Streets of Monaco” based on the Principality of Monaco on the French Riviera. The second is modeled after a tropical island paradise.

“The Streets of Monaco” themed mega-yacht

For those not familiar with Monaco, it’s essentially the most “balling-est place on earth”. A popular tax haven, it is the top vacation spot for the world’s richest. It’s located on the beautiful French Riviera and is home of the Monaco Grand Prix and the famous Mote Carlo Casino. It’s only one square mile big and has the highest GDP in the world, with 2000+ millionaires and 5 billionaires as permanent residents. It has a monarchy with Prince Albert II as head of state. I had the chance to visit a few years back and I can confirm the Bentley Continental GT is their equivalent of a Honda Civic.

So for any billionaires who want to take a slice of Monaco with them, this 500 foot design is just what they need. It’s built on a much wider platform than your run-of-the-mill mega-yacht and features actual buildings instead of ship decks. It has three main zones. The “Oasis” is modeled after the gardens of Monaco, which features a full-featued spa and multiple pools and waterfalls, cascading into each other.The “Grand Atrium” is the main living area and suites. Features included a theater, library, casino, dance hall, wine cellar and Havana room. Most suites include their own reception room, dressing room and balcony.

The highlight is the “Streets of Monaco”. It has a scaled down version of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit that you can race on with actual F1 style go-karts. Yep, you heard me. It takes you on a tour of other famous Monaco locations, including the Hotel de Paris, Cafe de Paris, La Rascasse Hotel, Loews Hotel and the Monte Carlo Casino. There also is a tennis court and helipad. Yeah there’s a bunch of pool with swim up bars and Jacuzzis, you know the regular boring stuff you find on mega-yachts.

It also has two large sea-level garages for smaller yachts, its own submarine and “beach” level decks to let you swim and enjoy the ocean.

“Tropical Island Paradise” themed mega-yacht

This is their second and smaller theme at 300 feet long. Here you can play the opposite of the Survivor reality show on faux-tropical island with all the luxuries of a mega-yacht.  The main feature is the top deck, which features a cove with cabanas and palm trees surrounding a large main pool. The pool is deep and even allows viewing out the front of the yacht through a large glass wall. The volcano doesn’t gush lava, it just creates a waterfall for the pool.

Underneath the pool, there is a recreation area for a assortment of expensive water toys, such as jet skis, kayaks and boats. Another fun yacht toy I’d add for an extra $100k would be the JetLev water jet pack. There is also a obligatory helicopter pad. When I get mine commissioned, my volcano will only flow with Cristal 24/7.

Yacht Island Design has two more designs in the works: one will be Oriental themed and the other Middle Eastern. They also will design a themed mega-yacht to your imagination. Maybe an Inception-themed yacht within a yacht. With the top deck all water with another smaller yacht on top? What kind of theme would you chose for your yacht?

Posted by on Sep.08, 2011

Billion Dollar Themed Mega-yachts | Celebrity Net Worth.

This Central American Nation Is Spending Roughly 50% Of Its Entire Economy On Infrastructure

image

by Simon Black, Sovereign Man

March 8, 2012

Panama City, Panama

I had dinner the other night with a bank executive in charge of government finance who told me that the aggregate spend of all the infrastructure projects in Panama totals more than $13 billion. This is roughly 50% of the entire Panamanian economy.

The equivalent in the United States would be the government announcing a ‘Rebuild America’ infrastructure spending initiative in the range of $8 TRILLION! No doubt, it’s a lot of money for this small country.

Panama (and particularly Panama City) has been in a seemingly perpetual state of construction for nearly 10-years. The long boom in residential construction created an impressive skyline of condo towers along the new Cinta Costera. But residential demand peaked and petered several years ago.

In an effort to keep the party going, the government has essentially swapped a residential construction boom for an infrastructure boom.

There are so many projects here, you’d think you were in Chonqing, China. And it’s made life miserable for anyone who has to get into an automobile– Panama City’s already dismal traffic has now become utterly hopeless.

The real issue is that Panama’s debt has been steadily rising to finance several projects. In many cases, the debt increase has outpaced the country’s dizzying GDP growth. For example, Panama’s debt rose 10.3% in 2010, while GDP only increased 7.5%.

According to some of my local attorneys who work on the deals, many of these infrastructure projects are now being creatively financed: selling bonds of off-the-books quasi-government entities that own securitized future cash flows.

It’s all an elaborate process to keep the debt from hitting the government balance sheet and obfuscating Panama’s true fiscal status. Official debt is now hovering near 50% of GDP, but the actual figure is much higher.

It’s possible that some of these projects will prove to be good investments– it’s not the same as Chinese ghost cities down here, Panama has legitimate infrastructure needs and is building accordingly.

What remains to be seen, though, is what happens after the infrastructure projects are complete in, say, another 5-years. The hope is that the real economy will have grown enough to absorb the loss of infrastructure spending. This supposition is not out of the question… but it’s definitely not guaranteed.

For now, nobody seems to mind. People are working, they’re making money, the country is improving… and except for the obvious and ridiculously high inflation rate, life is good.

To be clear, Panama is definitely a good news story. It has had one of the most resilient economies in Latin America over the past few years, and perhaps more than anywhere else in Central America, Panama has a very clear (and growing) middle class.

When you go out at night, you see Panamanians out on the town spending their discretionary income… and I mean regular Panamanians, not just the Porsche-driving 20-year olds who inherited papi’s business.

A strong middle class with disposable income is important in any healthy economy, and its emergence marks the transition from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’ nation. Panama still has a -long- way to go, but it’s moving in the right direction.

When I think back to how this place used to be 10-years ago (and all the years in between that I spent here) versus today, the positive change is overwhelming. When I think about how places like the US and Europe used to be 10-years ago, the change is resoundingly negative.

It’s this trend, by far, that’s most important.

Read more posts on Sovereign Man »

Source

Cuba drills for oil, but U.S. unprepared for spill

image

By William Booth, Published: March 1

As energy companies from Spain, Russia and Malaysia line up to drill for oil in Cuban waters 60 miles from the Florida Keys, U.S. agencies are struggling to cobble together emergency plans to protect fragile reefs, sandy beaches and a multibillion-dollar tourism industry in the event of a spill.

Drawing up contingency plans to confront a possible spill is much more difficult because of the economic embargo against Cuba. U.S. law bars most American companies — including oil services and spill containment contractors — from conducting business with the communist island. The embargo, now entering its 50th year, also limits direct government-to-government talks.

image

“We need to figure out what we can do to inflict maximum pain, maximum punishment, to bleed Repsol of whatever resources they may have if there’s a potential for a spill that would affect the U.S. coast,” Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) told in January a congressional subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Coast Guard.

An unusual coalition of U.S. environmentalists and oil industry executives have joined forces to push the White House to treat the threat of a spill seriously, while tamping down the anti-Castro rhetoric.

“There is no point in opposing drilling in Cuba. They are drilling. And so now we should be working together to prevent disaster,” said Daniel Whittle, Cuba program director of the Environmental Defense Fund, who has been brokering meetings between Cuban and U.S. officials.

Environmentalists applauded the announcement last week of an agreement between the United States and Mexico to allow for joint inspection of rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico and the establishment of a common set of safety protocols between the two countries.

Nothing approaching this exists with the Cubans.

Because of the embargo, the talks between Cubans, Repsol and the Coast Guard are taking place in the Bahamas and Curacao — not Havana or Miami — under the auspices of the U.N. International Maritime Organization, paid for by charitable donations from environmental groups and oil industry associations.

A single Florida company is licensed to deliver oil dispersants to Havana. But there are no U.S. aircraft with contracts or permission to fly over Cuban waters. The current plan is to retrofit and deploy aging crop dusters from Cuban farms to dump the dispersants.

Obstacles to a cleanup

Repsol operates leases in U.S. waters in the Gulf of Mexico and has a staff of 300 based in Houston. But because of the embargo, none of the Houston staff is permitted to have anything to do with the Repsol operation in Cuba. Any assistance would have to come from Madrid.

Because of the embargo, and to protect Repsol from economic sanctions, no more than 10 percent of the components on the Scarabeo 9 drilling rig may be manufactured in the United States.

One of those components is the blowout preventer, a vital piece of safety equipment manufactured by National Oilwell Varco in Houston — whose employees cannot service the equipment while it is in Cuban waters.

If a blowout occurred, Repsol would have to await delivery of a capping stack, which would have to travel from Scotland to Cuba and then out to the rig. Experts predict it would take a week at minimum.

Cleanup crews arriving from the United States would be allowed to skim oil from the water and collect surplus oil gushing from the rig, but they’d have to take it someplace. The question is where? The U.S. tankers can’t enter Cuban territorial waters, and if they do, they are prohibited from returning to the United States for six months. The recovered oil would belong to Cuba, and so it can’t travel to the United States.

Modeling of ocean currents by the USGS suggests a spill at the Repsol exploratory well site probably would not affect the Florida Keys but would be swept north by the powerful flow of the Gulf Stream and then begin to deposit oil on beaches from Miami to North Carolina.

“If anything went really wrong out there, I believe there would be a quick political response,” said William K. Reilly, co-chairman of the national commission on the Deepwater spill and head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush.

But a lot can happen in a couple of days, Reilly said. “It’s time to face reality. It is, completely, in the interest of the United States that we get this right.”

“This is a disaster waiting to happen, and the Obama administration has abdicated its role in protecting our environment and national security by allowing this plan to move forward,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Ros-Lehtinen and her colleagues sponsored legislation to deny visas to anyone who helps the Cubans advance their oil drilling plans. They have also sought to punish Repsol.

“We need to figure out what we can do to inflict maximum pain, maximum punishment, to bleed Repsol of whatever resources they may have if there’s a potential for a spill that would affect the U.S. coast,” Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.) told in January a congressional subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Coast Guard.

An unusual coalition of U.S. environmentalists and oil industry executives have joined forces to push the White House to treat the threat of a spill seriously, while tamping down the anti-Castro rhetoric.

“There is no point in opposing drilling in Cuba. They are drilling. And so now we should be working together to prevent disaster,” said Daniel Whittle, Cuba program director of the Environmental Defense Fund, who has been brokering meetings between Cuban and U.S. officials.

Environmentalists applauded the announcement last week of an agreement between the United States and Mexico to allow for joint inspection of rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico and the establishment of a common set of safety protocols between the two countries.

Nothing approaching this exists with the Cubans.

Because of the embargo, the talks between Cubans, Repsol and the Coast Guard are taking place in the Bahamas and Curacao — not Havana or Miami — under the auspices of the U.N. International Maritime Organization, paid for by charitable donations from environmental groups and oil industry associations.

A single Florida company is licensed to deliver oil dispersants to Havana. But there are no U.S. aircraft with contracts or permission to fly over Cuban waters. The current plan is to retrofit and deploy aging crop dusters from Cuban farms to dump the dispersants.

Obstacles to a cleanup

Repsol operates leases in U.S. waters in the Gulf of Mexico and has a staff of 300 based in Houston. But because of the embargo, none of the Houston staff is permitted to have anything to do with the Repsol operation in Cuba. Any assistance would have to come from Madrid.

Because of the embargo, and to protect Repsol from economic sanctions, no more than 10 percent of the components on the Scarabeo 9 drilling rig may be manufactured in the United States.

One of those components is the blowout preventer, a vital piece of safety equipment manufactured by National Oilwell Varco in Houston — whose employees cannot service the equipment while it is in Cuban waters.

If a blowout occurred, Repsol would have to await delivery of a capping stack, which would have to travel from Scotland to Cuba and then out to the rig. Experts predict it would take a week at minimum.

Cleanup crews arriving from the United States would be allowed to skim oil from the water and collect surplus oil gushing from the rig, but they’d have to take it someplace. The question is where? The U.S. tankers can’t enter Cuban territorial waters, and if they do, they are prohibited from returning to the United States for six months. The recovered oil would belong to Cuba, and so it can’t travel to the United States.

Modeling of ocean currents by the USGS suggests a spill at the Repsol exploratory well site probably would not affect the Florida Keys but would be swept north by the powerful flow of the Gulf Stream and then begin to deposit oil on beaches from Miami to North Carolina.

“If anything went really wrong out there, I believe there would be a quick political response,” said William K. Reilly, co-chairman of the national commission on the Deepwater spill and head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush.

But a lot can happen in a couple of days, Reilly said. “It’s time to face reality. It is, completely, in the interest of the United States that we get this right.”

Source

%d bloggers like this: