From the navigator Alain Colas to businessmen Bernard Tapie or Xavier Niel, via billionaire Mona Ayoub, the Phocéa had an incredible destiny before ending up sunk in Malaysia.
“I complained about it, it’s so sad”, confided this Sunday Bernard Tapie, after learning of the end of the Phocéa, his ex-ship, which sank on Friday morning near the tourist island of Langkawi, the day after ‘a fire that devastated him.
The Phocéa, four-masted 72 meters, was created on a project by the navigator Alain Colas who had entrusted the naval architect Michel Bigouin, designer of several of Eric Tabarly’s Pen Duicks, with the task of creating this monster in Toulon. for the 1976 English Transat. Baptized Club Méditerranée, the ultra-modern sailboat had no other opportunity to achieve glory in the race and found itself moored in Tahiti after the sailor’s disappearance in 1978.
“Fallen madly in love with this ship” Bernard Tape had bought it from the widow of Alain Colas and renamed it “Phocéa”.
From Phocéa to Enigma
After the bankruptcy of Bernard Tapie, the yacht was bought in 1997 by the Lebanese businesswoman Mona Ayoub for 36.5 million francs (7.5 million euros at the current price). The billionaire had made it a luxury yacht to receive the global jet set, before reselling it in 2010.
For its fourth life, it is a tandem involving the billionaire Xavier Niel and the brothers Steve and Jean-Émile Rosenblum, founders of the Pixmania site, which again buys the Phocéa and records it in Malta with the aim of renting it to wealthy boaters, according to Mediapart. They entrust the management to Pascal Saken, honorary consul of Vanuatu who presents himself as an “international businessman and investor”. Papua New Guinea police will suspect him of arms and drug trafficking, local press reports.
Damaged in a storm in 2013, the Phocéa was then transported to a shipyard in Phuket (Thailand) belonging to the consul, who did not hesitate to claim to be the owner of the boat, renamed “Enigma”. The latter was sailing from Malaysia where it caught fire and sank on Friday. An investigation was opened to determine the causes of the fire.
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