The arrogance is as impressive as the yachts themselves. Rather than paying for dockage, in recent years, billionaire Russian oligarchs have taken to anchoring their yachts in the public anchorage in front of the Statue of Liberty while in New York Harbor. This summer, Le Grand Bleu, a 370-foot long luxury yacht owned by Evgeny Markovich Shvidler, took up residence for weeks at a time between April and June in front of the statue, effectively blocking the view of the iconic landmark for tourists and residents alike. And it is not just the Russians.
After Le Grand Bleu raised anchor and departed, Swiss-Italian Ernesto Bertarelli dropped the hook of his 318-foot Vava II. He was followed by German billionaire Reinhold Würth in 280-foot Vibrant Curiosity in early August.
New Jersey State Senator Richard Cody is fed up with the rich kids getting a free anchorage while blocking the view for everyone else. He will introduce legislation at the next Senate session, likely this fall, calling on the U.S. Coast Guard to ban the long-term anchorage of boats near Liberty Island.
As reported by USA Today: “When Emma Lazarus wrote about America welcoming ‘your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ it was not an invitation to billionaire oil tycoons to use the waters surrounding the Statue of Liberty as a parking lot for their yachts,” State Sen. Richard Codey said in a statement Friday. “It is unsafe for navigation, unfair to others and completely antithetical to the spirit of one of the world’s most compelling symbols of freedom and equal opportunity.”