The MY ‘Tranquility’ has one of the most interesting backstories you’ll ever year / Photo- Charterworld
The $250 million Tranquility was purchased with stolen Malaysian government money, became the first vessel seized by the FBI, was the centrepiece of a Hollywood scandal, was renamed and retrofitted by Oceanco, and now charters celebs around the world.
Every boat has a history. Some have more than others.
There has always been an element of mystery within the superyacht world. In many respects, it’s a necessity. Big money buyers demand anonymity, and in turn shipyards remain discrete about their projects. That’s a fair request from high rollers who require privacy. Oftentimes, part of the motivation for buying a superyacht is to escape from leery public eyes and annoying paparazzi.
That being said, while big money and discretion go hand-in-hand, it can also become an exploitable loophole. More privacy means less questions. That’s not to say shipyards are at fault — dirty money exists at all levels from the rich to the poor. If a cheque comes from a reputable bank or a government, there’s little reason to question it. That being said, the more money involved, the greater the pressure for confidentiality.
Case in point: Tranquility.
The 300-foot superyacht was purchased by Malaysian financier Jho Low for $250 million in 2013. It was built by respected shipyard Oceanco in the Netherlands and launched under the name Equanimity. It was an engineering accomplishment for the entire superyacht industry, even winning the “Yacht of the Year Over 82 Meters” at the annual World Superyacht Awards. At the time, Low was a chief executive for Hong Kong investment firm Jynwel Capital. Everything appeared above reproach.
By all accounts, Low used the boat sporadically while also making it available for charter to the rich and famous. Among his many celebrity connections were the likes of Kim Kardashian, for whom be purchased a $325,000 white Ferrari as a wedding gift.
However, in 2018, word broke that Equanimity had been purchased using stolen money from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was at the heart of the scandal, and the ill-gotten funds flowed through arteries that reached as far as Hollywood. The Guardian called the $4 billion theft of government funds “one of the biggest corruption scandals in the world.” Some $100 million of the funds was used to finance the Hollywood hit “The Wolf of Wall Street” starring Leo DiCaprio, for which the producers eventually had to settle with the U.S government for $60 million. DiCaprio was grilled by the FBI about his ties to Low.
In total, it’s believed Low stole over $400 million from the fund, while the total loss exceeded $4 billion. In 2020, he struck a deal with U.S. prosecutors to recoup nearly $700 million in various cash and assets, including a Beverly Hills hotel and real estate holdings in New York and London. Low also surrendered another $260 million in personal assets.
Despite signing the deal, he fled to Hong Long before the process was complete and left the boat behind to be seized by authorities. To this day, Low is still considered a fugitive and is believed to be living in Macau, China. Interpol has issued a red notice demanding his arrest and extradition, but the Chinese government has refused to acknowledge he’s residing within the country.
As for the boat, Equanimity was seized by Indonesian authorities with the help of the FBI in March 2018. The ownership was then transferred to the U.S. Department of Justice in April 2019, and from there it was put up for auction and sold to real estate equity firm Genting Malaysia Berhad for half its original price at just $126 million.
Shortly thereafter she was renamed Tranquility.
Then she got an upgrade.
After returning to Oceanco for a refit, Tranquility now enjoys “several upgrades to ensure she stays at the top of her game.”
The refitted superyacht had some of the nicest features on the market added to her layout. She boasts an Asian-inspired interior courtesy of Winch Design, which includes the use of materials like wenge, gold leaf, bamboo, and marble. Some of her perks include room for 22 guests in 11 cabins, plus a full-beam master suite that occupies more than half of the upper deck. The master suite alone includes a private study, his-and-hers Italian showers, a walnut bathroom, a walk-in dressing room, a freestanding bathtub, and a private Jacuzzi on a terrace overlooking the water.
There’s also room for 31 crew.
Guests also enjoy a complete gym with a Finnish sauna, a plunge pool, and a massage room. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the guest levels make for expansive views.
The saloon features a full scale dining table and a cinema room with a big screen TV. There’s even a lounge with a stunning and transparent acrylic piano. Outside, she features a complete beach club at the stern, a 66-foot long pool with loungers, a wet bar, and two helipads. Some of her available toys include PWC’s, kayaks, SeaBobs, an inflatable slide, and a water trampoline.
Tranquility also has a couple sweet tenders. There are twin 35-foot (10.5 m) Hodgson tenders stored below deck, one an open-top Sport version and the other an enclosed limousine. Each can accommodate up to 12 guests and two crew.
The troubled vessel isn’t a slouch, either. It generates faster top speeds than nearly any other yacht in its size range thanks to twin MTU diesel engines.
Photo- Instagram / @kyliejenner
Tranquility has a top speed of 22 mph (19.5 knots), a cruising speed of 18 mph (16 knots), with a range of 5000 nautical miles.
Most superyachts in the 300-foot category typically cruise around 12-14 mph with a top speed of about 18 mph.
Her guest list is also extensive, and a little eyebrow raising.
Famed actress Miranda Kerr vacationed aboard the boat, but later was forced to return $8 million in jewelry given to her by Low to U.S. authorities. The pair seemingly dated for about a year, during which Low spared little expense. Kylie Jenner, younger sister to Kim, also used family connections to charter the boat for her 22nd birthday in 2019.
You can get an inside look at the troubled Tranquility in the video below: