Back in April we reported that despite the economic crisis Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich planned to complete work on the 557-ft. Eclipse, the world's largest and most expensive privately owned yacht. Now the ocean-going behemoth has been launched on its maiden voyage to test operational systems before the finishing touches are applied, at a reported final cost of close to $500 million according to the London Daily Mail. As the all-white megayacht glided out of the Blohm & Voss shipyard (above) in Hamburg, Germany the other day, it dwarfed a navy destroyer it passed along the way.
The Eclipse, which features a military-grade missile defense system, armor plating and bullet-proof windows, will literally eclipse the recently-debuted $350 million, 531-ft. Dubai owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai. The ship also has a submarine that can be launched underwater and dive to a depth of 160 ft. that doubles as an escape pod, as well as two helicopter pads. Abramovich already owns several other superyachts, including the 377-ft. Pelorus, the 282 ft. Ecstasea and the 160 ft. Sussurro, which cost him $25 million a year to maintain, and apparently plans to keep them all.
Gallery: Abramovich's Megayachts