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Yachts and cruisers in Saint-Tropez harbour.

St-Tropez lifeboat crew say luxury boat owners too mean to help out

Tycoons moored on Riviera branded uncaring as lifeboat appeal ‘sinks without trace’

The wealthy tycoons and oligarchs enjoying summer on their luxury yachts in Saint-Tropez have been warned: cries of SOS, reports of fires, accidents or persons overboard may take a while to answer.

The French Riviera town’s lifeboat is out of action awaiting repairs while its volunteer crew accuse rich yacht captains of being too mean to stump up a few euros to pay for a replacement.

Resort Lifeboat officials said their ageing vessel, the Bailli de Suffren II, in service for more than 30 years, needed a spare part from Italy, and that it would not be putting to sea in the next two weeks.

The Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer (SNSM) at Saint-Tropez has ordered a new €1.4m lifeboat, which is now under construction in Brittany with a delivery date for next spring. But it needed another €200,000 to pay for it to be equipped with high-tech electronic devices and for its delivery, the society said.

The SNSM wrote this year to wealthy individuals and companies owning luxury yachts moored at Saint-Tropez, asking them to put their hands in their pockets. The town is a playground of the global super-rich.

Pierre-Yves Barasc, the president of the Saint-Tropez lifeboat station, said the appeal sank almost without trace. The owner of one modest boat sent a €10,000 donation but the tycoons and oligarchs failed to come up with a centime.

Barasc told the local edition of the news outlet Var-Matin: “They said it wasn’t their problem. That’s not true. On the bigger boats last year we saved an eight-month-old baby. We also saved three youngsters caught on rocks – not a word of thanks, even from their father. Nothing! It’s almost as if it’s their right. It’s great to shower the young ladies with a bottle of €50,000 Cristal champagne, but they could be a little more restrained and help us a little more.

“We asked all the owners of important boats. No reply, except one promise never kept. A lone boat, far from being the biggest, gave €10,000. If 30 people had done the same we could have had our new lifeboat quicker.”

Frédéric Saveuse, the deputy president of the Saint-Tropez lifeboat station, said: “We sent a personal letter to the 100 biggest businesses in the Var [department]. We sent another letter to the 10 richest French people, owners of both a vessel and a property here. In total we had two replies. It’s frustrating.”

Barasc said he hoped his “angry outburst” had made people realise that the lifeboat service needed donations. “We are run by volunteers and we have to find the money ourselves to run the service from A to Z. It’s not just saving people at sea, we get called to fires, evacuations, and we do training in schools and address pollution issues.

“We have wasted two years to change the lifeboat because we didn’t have the money and the result is our old boat broke down and is out of action for seven weeks. It’s distressing.”

Last year, the port’s lifeboat went out 87 times, and 78 of the rescues (90%) happened between 15 June and 15 September, the popular holiday season for the French Riviera. The immobilised lifeboat is the only vessel in the area capable of taking to sea in all conditions to pull in bigger vessels.

The SNSM said it had a semi-rigid boat and could call on neighbouring lifeboats in a serious emergency.

A member of the organisation said they had been looking at the UK’s Royal National Lifeboat Association for inspiration on how to raise funds.

Barsac said: “In France , only 3% of boat owners donate to the lifeboat service, unlike in the UK where I believe it is 85%. People don’t realise it’s different. Now my outburst seems to have woken up people and things are moving. Hopefully, now we will come up with the money for the new boat.”

  • This article was amended on 1 August 2018. An earlier version referred to the news outlet Var Martin. That should have said Var-Matin.
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Var: a person missing after a fire on a docked yacht

2022-04-17T16:00:43.684Z

var matin yacht

The boat of about thirty meters, moored in the port of Saint-Mandrier, caught fire around 2:30 am this Sunday. The fire broke out

A person is missing following a fire on a yacht moored in the port of Saint-Mandrier (Var) near Toulon, on the night of Saturday to this Sunday, said the maritime prefecture of the Mediterranean in a press release.

[# Press release] This morning, fire on board yacht docked at the IMS 300 shipyard in St Mandrier (83).

Intervention means @MarineNationale in reinforcement land means, in particular for the fight against pollution risk.

See attached press release.

pic.twitter.com/aIxqM2Kztr

— Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean (@Premarmed) April 17, 2022

The fire broke out "from 02:30 on board the yacht

Lady Amethyst

(about thirty meters), docked at the IMS 300 site in Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer (83)", specified the prefecture, adding that the flames spread "rapidly to the whole ship".

The latter was flying the Austrian flag, according to Var Matin.

Around 5:20 a.m., it was completely destroyed and "three-quarters sunk", according to the press release, despite the intervention of Toulon firefighters.

It was not until around 11 a.m. this Sunday that the fire could be completely extinguished, noted France bleu.

Searches don't turn up anything

Four people, bothered by the fumes, were taken to hospital.

According to France bleu, it would be three people present on the boat and a port security officer.

A fifth person "deemed present on board the boat is still missing", added the prefecture.

According to Var matin, a dive was carried out by the firefighters around 4 a.m. to check if this person had not drowned while trying to escape the flames, but the searches yielded nothing.

The boat will be refloated within 48 to 72 hours in order to continue the excavations inside, for its part indicated France bleu.

The intervention, according to the newspaper, mobilized 37 firefighters, two ambulances, four fire engines, rescuers from the SNSM and a shuttle from Toulon firefighters.

“At this stage, the effects of the disaster on the environment have been contained”, indicates the prefecture, in particular thanks to the intervention of an anti-pollution detachment from the Toulon naval base.

A car parked nearby on the wharf also burned, and a barge and a nearby yacht were damaged.

Var matin learned from Denis Carabin, director of the IMS 300 and 700 shipyards, that the Lady Amethyst, formerly owned by a Frenchman, had just been sold this Friday April 15, probably to an Austrian.

Source: leparis

All tech articles on 2022-04-17

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Cruising the Moskva River: A short guide to boat trips in Russia’s capital

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There’s hardly a better way to absorb Moscow’s atmosphere than on a ship sailing up and down the Moskva River. While complicated ticketing, loud music and chilling winds might dampen the anticipated fun, this checklist will help you to enjoy the scenic views and not fall into common tourist traps.

How to find the right boat?

There are plenty of boats and selecting the right one might be challenging. The size of the boat should be your main criteria.

Plenty of small boats cruise the Moskva River, and the most vivid one is this yellow Lay’s-branded boat. Everyone who has ever visited Moscow probably has seen it.

var matin yacht

This option might leave a passenger disembarking partially deaf as the merciless Russian pop music blasts onboard. A free spirit, however, will find partying on such a vessel to be an unforgettable and authentic experience that’s almost a metaphor for life in modern Russia: too loud, and sometimes too welcoming. Tickets start at $13 (800 rubles) per person.

Bigger boats offer smoother sailing and tend to attract foreign visitors because of their distinct Soviet aura. Indeed, many of the older vessels must have seen better days. They are still afloat, however, and getting aboard is a unique ‘cultural’ experience. Sometimes the crew might offer lunch or dinner to passengers, but this option must be purchased with the ticket. Here is one such  option  offering dinner for $24 (1,490 rubles).

var matin yacht

If you want to travel in style, consider Flotilla Radisson. These large, modern vessels are quite posh, with a cozy restaurant and an attentive crew at your service. Even though the selection of wines and food is modest, these vessels are still much better than other boats.

var matin yacht

Surprisingly, the luxurious boats are priced rather modestly, and a single ticket goes for $17-$32 (1,100-2,000 rubles); also expect a reasonable restaurant bill on top.

How to buy tickets?

Women holding photos of ships promise huge discounts to “the young and beautiful,” and give personal invitations for river tours. They sound and look nice, but there’s a small catch: their ticket prices are usually more than those purchased online.

“We bought tickets from street hawkers for 900 rubles each, only to later discover that the other passengers bought their tickets twice as cheap!”  wrote  (in Russian) a disappointed Rostislav on a travel company website.

Nevertheless, buying from street hawkers has one considerable advantage: they personally escort you to the vessel so that you don’t waste time looking for the boat on your own.

var matin yacht

Prices start at $13 (800 rubles) for one ride, and for an additional $6.5 (400 rubles) you can purchase an unlimited number of tours on the same boat on any given day.

Flotilla Radisson has official ticket offices at Gorky Park and Hotel Ukraine, but they’re often sold out.

Buying online is an option that might save some cash. Websites such as  this   offer considerable discounts for tickets sold online. On a busy Friday night an online purchase might be the only chance to get a ticket on a Flotilla Radisson boat.

This  website  (in Russian) offers multiple options for short river cruises in and around the city center, including offbeat options such as ‘disco cruises’ and ‘children cruises.’ This other  website  sells tickets online, but doesn’t have an English version. The interface is intuitive, however.

Buying tickets online has its bad points, however. The most common is confusing which pier you should go to and missing your river tour.

var matin yacht

“I once bought tickets online to save with the discount that the website offered,” said Igor Shvarkin from Moscow. “The pier was initially marked as ‘Park Kultury,’ but when I arrived it wasn’t easy to find my boat because there were too many there. My guests had to walk a considerable distance before I finally found the vessel that accepted my tickets purchased online,” said the man.

There are two main boarding piers in the city center:  Hotel Ukraine  and  Park Kultury . Always take note of your particular berth when buying tickets online.

Where to sit onboard?

Even on a warm day, the headwind might be chilly for passengers on deck. Make sure you have warm clothes, or that the crew has blankets ready upon request.

The glass-encased hold makes the tour much more comfortable, but not at the expense of having an enjoyable experience.

var matin yacht

Getting off the boat requires preparation as well. Ideally, you should be able to disembark on any pier along the way. In reality, passengers never know where the boat’s captain will make the next stop. Street hawkers often tell passengers in advance where they’ll be able to disembark. If you buy tickets online then you’ll have to research it yourself.

There’s a chance that the captain won’t make any stops at all and will take you back to where the tour began, which is the case with Flotilla Radisson. The safest option is to automatically expect that you’ll return to the pier where you started.

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Inside the billionaires' compound on the French Riviera that set up its own private testing center while the rest of the country struggles to obtain coronavirus tests

  • Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez is a gated neighborhood in Saint-Tropez where numerous billionaires — among them Bernard Arnault, the third-richest person in the world — own villas.
  • On April 13, local newspaper Var-Martin reported that the president of the neighborhood, Jean-Louis Oger, had set up a private testing site for its residents, causing uproar in the local community.
  • Oger said the community was only conducting antibody testing on those who had already had the virus.
  • The reports have ignited a wave of anger towards Les Parc residents who were given private testing and preferential treatment at a time when most of France — and the world — struggles to obtain tests.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

Insider Today

The seaside town of Saint-Tropez has for decades been known as a summer vacation hotspot for celebs and the "see and be seen" crowd. Its beaches have been ranked as the best in France, and the area is so popular with the wealthy that it's been dubbed " billionaires' harbor ."

Within Saint-Tropez lies the wealthy, 180-home gated community of Les Parc de Saint-Tropez, which is currently under scrutiny for the preferential treatment its wealthy residents have been receiving in the age of the coronavirus.

The average home value in the community, as reported by The Telegraph's Henry Samuel, is about $13 million. Among the global elite who own homes in the compound are LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault , who is the third-richest man in the world, and Mohamed al-Fayed, the owner of the Ritz Paris.

On April 13, local newspaper Var-Matin reported that the enclave's residents had gained access to a private testing site in the compound. According to the report, the president of the gated neighborhood, Jean-Louis Oger, had set up the testing site for residents and their friends.

As Samuel reported for The Telegraph , Oger said that the labs in the community were only conducting blood tests and that they were only being conducted on people who had already had the virus in order to track their immunity levels.

"We have not done any nasal tests, which is how one determines if a patient is sick," Oger said, according to the Washington Post, though the publication also reported that residents in neighboring communities had heard otherwise.

After the reports emerged, Saint-Tropez residents slammed the billionaires' enclave for access to testing at a time when French medical systems — including the city's local hospital — are overwhelmed by the influx of coronavirus patients and testing is almost nowhere to be found.

As of April 21, France has nearly 160,000 cases of the coronavirus , with over 20,700 reported deaths. The region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, where St. Tropez is located, has reported 13,000 positive cases of the virus.  

Keep reading to learn more about Saint-Tropez and the scandal that is taking over the local news.

Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez is a gated compound located in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera, in the south of France.

var matin yacht

Saint-Tropez is a popular seaside vacation spot on the Mediterranean that sees a massive spike in tourism in summer months.

The history of Saint-Tropez dates back centuries, but it started to be recognized as a jet-set destination after World War II.

var matin yacht

After the war, artists from the French New Wave Movement began coming to Saint-Tropez, and the town became a backdrop for many famous French films, including Brigitte Bardot's 1956 film " And God Created Woman. "

According to The Telegraph, Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez was founded in 1951 by a builder named Robert Geffroy.

var matin yacht

His yacht had reportedly broken down in the area.

Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez has since become known as a billionaire hub. It spans 270 acres, consists of 180 homes, and boasts an array of wealthy homeowners including Mohamed Fayed , owner of Ritz Paris, and Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman  and the third-richest man in the world.

The Telegraph's Henry Samuel reported that the average price of a home in the community is nearly $13 million.

Among real-estate listings currently available in the gated community are a four-bedroom, $10 million apartment that features a series of ornate towers, and an enormous $12 million villa replete with seven bedrooms, a pool house, and a hammam.

The town has gained international renown as a playground for the rich and famous. Billionaire David Geffen is known to love Saint-Tropez — and he's not the only one.

var matin yacht

Geffen was  caught in his own coronavirus controversy when the billionaire shared an Instagram photo of himself social distancing on his $590 million yacht in the Grenadines. The photo received fierce backlash and prompted him to delete his Instagram account. 

And as Vogue reported in 2017, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rihanna, and Ivanka Trump are just a handful of the celebrities who have been spotted vacationing in Saint-Tropez in recent years.

But on April 13, Saint-Tropez entered the news scene for a different reason altogether when local newspaper Var-Matin reported that Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez was home to a private testing site for its wealthy residents.

var matin yacht

According to the Var-Matin report, a doctor and a lab technician were administering tests to residents and residents' friends in the compound's medical unit. The report indicated that the tests had been arranged by Jean-Louis Oger, the president of the neighborhood.

On April 20, The Washington Post reported that Oger said the tests were blood tests for a clinical trial that would assess immunity in people who had already been infected. They were not, Oger said, nasal coronavirus tests, but the Post report noted that residents claimed to have heard otherwise. It remains unknown whether or not the community has had any confirmed coronavirus cases.

On April 21, local authorities launched a probe into how the billionaire enclave was able to access tests while surrounding areas are still struggling to obtain any.

The news comes at a time when French medical systems are overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.

var matin yacht

As of April 21, there were nearly 160,000 coronavirus cases and more than 20,700 reported deaths in France. In the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, where Saint-Tropez is located, there are nearly 13,000 reported cases of the virus.

According to the Washington Post , Saint-Tropez's local hospital, Pôle de Santé du Golfe de Saint-Tropez, has been overwhelmed with patients. "It's not normal that we have nothing — no tests — and that it is a nightmare for us to get ahold of one," a doctor told the Post.

According to the Post, when told that the Saint-Tropez hospital had no coronavirus tests, the president of the neighborhood, Jean-Louis Oger, replied, "That's not my concern."

var matin yacht

Oger went on to say that if the trial proves successful, he will give the tests to locals after France's lockdown ends on May 11.

Saint-Tropez Mayor Jean-Pierre Tuveri also weighed in, backing Oger and calling the scandal "as unfounded as it is useless."

var matin yacht

Tuveri furthered Oger's claim that the neighborhood was conducting "experimental" tests on volunteers. He clarified that, because the tests were not authorized by French health authorities, they could not be extended to hospitals outside of the compound.

Paris' Pasteur Institute, which is developing France's authorized tests, said it doesn't recommend "doing wild studies" and found the mayor's statements to be "suspect."

var matin yacht

"We don't recommend doing wild studies," the institute told 20 Minutes, according to The Telegraph . "They should be done using reference test results. We work with the (blood) plasma of patients collected within the legal framework of clinical trials and with plasma that has been verified."

Residents in the local Saint-Tropez area were infuriated to find out about the secret testing site, and expressed their discontent in interviews with Var-Matin.

var matin yacht

"So much for solidarity," one local told the Var-Matin. 

Les Parcs de Saint-Tropez is the latest wealthy enclave to come under fire for the preferential treatment its wealthy residents have been receiving in the age of coronavirus.

var matin yacht

Business Insider previously reported that people in the UK have been sneaking out of big cities and into the countrysides , while wealthy people in the US are heading toward areas such as the Hamptons, Nantucket, and Cape Cod , causing food supply shortages and irritating locals.

Many celebrities have also come under fire for being able to access tests before the general public. The New York Times published an article on March 18 with the headline that read " Need a Coronavirus Test? Being Rich and Famous May Help. " The article documented the celebrities, politicians, and athletes who had able to find coronavirus tests as the US faced its own testing shortage. The report noted that many of these celebs refused to explain how they got access to the tests.

The story also closely echoes that of America's richest ZIP code, Fisher Island.

var matin yacht

In March, the wealthy community off the coast of Miami purchased 1,800 coronavirus antibody tests — enough for every resident and staff member — for $30,000 while the rest of the US struggles to obtain any tests at all.

The first people on the island were tested on April 6. Residents told Business Insider that the system was extremely well set-up and involved nothing more than a finger prick.

In the days after the Fisher Island story broke, outrage spread across social media. People took to Twitter to compare the situation to a dystopian movie and to slam the island's purchase as a shameful example of disparity in the time of global crisis.

var matin yacht

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Le yacht d'un célèbre oligarque russe saisi a... disparu du port après une rocambolesque "exfiltration"

L'aldabra, yacht appartenant à l'oligarque russe dmitri mazepin, a disparu du port d'olbia en sardaigne où il avait été saisi par les autorités italiennes après le début de l'invasion russe en ukraine..

Le scénario s'annonce rocambolesque. Un yacht de luxe appartenant à l'oligarque russe Dmitri Mazepin , a subitement disparu du port où il avait été saisi par les autorités italiennes après le début de l'invasion russe en Ukraine. 

L'Aldabra, 22 mètres de long, avait été immobilisé dans le port d'Olbia en Sardaigne en mars 2022 lorsque Dmitri Mazepin, avait été placé sous liste noire par l'Union européenne. 

Depuis sa saisie, ce yacht d'une valeur d'un million d'euros était resté sagement amarré au port d'Olbia le temps que l'enquête détermine officiellement son appartenance au père de l'ancien pilote de F1, Nikita Mazepin . 

Une disparition quelques heures avant la confirmation du lien Aldabra-Mazepin

D'après The Guardian , le bateau a disparu seulement quelques heures avant qu'il ne soit officiellement confirmé qu'il appartenait à ce proche de Vladimir Poutine. 

"Mazepin savait qu'il était sur la liste mais a réussi à profiter de la période pendant laquelle nous avons travaillé pour établir que le bateau lui appartenait, car nous devions enquêter sur la chaîne de propriété. Nous étions en train de confirmer [la propriété] quand il a été enlevé" , a expliqué une source policière italienne au Guardian, confirmant la disparition du yacht de luxe. 

Vu pour la dernière fois... en Tunisie

Mais où se cache donc l'Aldabra? Balise GPS éteinte, il n'apparaît plus sur Marine Traffic, le site spécialisé dans la localisation des bateaux en temps réel.  

Mazepin aurait monté une opération commando pour exfiltrer son yacht du port d'Olbia . Selon les premiers éléments de l'enquête de la police italienne l'oligarque aurait embauché plusieurs intermédiaires dont un capitaine originaire de Sardaigne pour faire disparaître l'Aldabra dans les eaux internationales.

D'après les enquêteurs, le yacht aurait fait une halte dans le petit port de Biserta en Tunisie avant de s'effacer des écrans radars. Sa localisation actuelle est inconnue. 

Le commandant du bateau interpellé

D'après The Guardian,  cette disparition est une première. Jamais un oligarque russe n'avait réussi à esquiver les sanctions européennes après avoir été placé sur "liste noire". 

Le commandant qui a conduit le yacht hors du port d'Olbia a d'ores et déjà été interpellé par les autorités italiennes. Lors de son audition, il a expliqué ne pas savoir que l'Aldabra avait été saisi et appartenait à un oligarque russe sanctionné par l'UE. 

Il risque une amende allant jusqu'à 500.000 euros. 

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