Microsoft billionaire eco-warrior’s super-yacht drops anchor on coral reef


A super-yacht owned by billionaire Microsoft founder Paul Allen dropped anchored and smashed into a protected coral reef in the Cayman Islands, causing important damage to the fragile ecosystem, it has emerged.

Bill Gates’ partner Paul Allen is known not only for his vast wealth -valued by Forbes at $18.1 billion – but also because he spends a goodly amount of his fortune as an environmental campaigner. He has long aimed to become “a global leader in supporting ocean health”, as he has explained recently through his project management company Vulcan Inc. This may have sounded paradoxical to the Cayman Department of Environment, which estimates the fine due to this incident at $600,000.

“It’s not going to depend at all on who’s vessel it is, or what assets they have,” said the Department of Environment deputy director, Scott Slaybaugh, to the local news channel Cayman 27. “It’s the value of the reef and that’s what we take seriously, so the consequence would be the same for anyone.”

Small-scale model of the Octopus yacht / Source: modelshipmaster.

Small-scale model of the Octopus yacht / Source: modelshipmaster.

Slaybaugh reported that Allen wasn’t on board his super-yacht ‘Tatoosh’ when the crew dropped the anchor on the reef in the West Bay protected area. But Allen backs his crew, claiming that after being diverted by shifting winds, they only followed the Port Authority’s instructions of where to place the boat and ended up trespassing 14,000 square feet of coral.

However, the billionaire declared in his statement: “When its crew was alerted by a diver that her anchor chain may have impacted coral in the area, the crew promptly, and of their own accord, relocated their position to ensure the reef was protected. Vulcan and the ship’s crew are actively and cooperatively working with local authorities to determine the details of what happened.”

While the investigation by local authorities goes on, Paul Allen still has Tatoosh’s bigger brother Octopus to keep fighting to protect marine flora or fauna in danger of extinction. The 414ft Octopus was considered the largest yacht in the world for years, until Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse beat it, and there are rumours that the President of the United Arab Emirates has recently overtaken this as well.



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