MOTRIL – An unusual sight. A megayacht floats in front of the beach of Motril (Granada). Rudderless and without crew. The owner fled because he was unable to meet salvage requirements. His ship has an imaginative past.
For many years It belonged to Sheik Ashmawi. He was a welcome guest in Marbella in the 80s and 90s. In 1981 he bought his favourite home here. The megayacht ‘Neeveen’, named after the sheik’s daughter, regularly anchored in the harbour of Puerto Banús. Thus, the ship was a regular meeting point for Marbella’s jet set.
However, last Wednesday, the megayacht ran aground on Carchuna beach in Motril. The current owner chose to disappear and leave his large possession to its fate.
In other times, the Neeveen was even used by the former and now late mayor Jesús Gil y Gil, a good friend of Ashmawi. Gil y Gil was notorious for numerous corruption scandals, especially around the rampant construction, which forms the blueprint for today’s Marbella. At that time, the Neeveen regularly hosted high society parties with many celebrities, including Sean Connery.
Ambassador for chic Marbella
Besides the luxurious ship, the Saudi Ashmawi owned numerous properties (including palaces) in Marbella, Egypt, Ivory Coast, and Tangier. The businessman was also an official Rolls-Royce dealer in Arabia and had a high-end car company in San Pedro. For years the sheik was one of the best ambassadors to the Arab world Marbella has had.
At the mercy of the waves
Those who experienced all the pomp and ceremony surrounding the sheik at the time can probably not imagine what his megayacht looks like now, 20 years later. At the mercy of the waves off the coast of Granada and to the authorities who will decide whether it will be auctioned or scrapped.
Test trip new owner
Ashmawi died in May 2019. His eldest son inherited the realm and the yacht. After Ahmed also died last year, the boat was put up for sale. Last October, a Frenchman bought the Neeveen in Puerto Banús for around €400,000. During a test trip to Aguadulce (Almería), the megayacht ran aground due to an engine room malfunction. The damage was extensive. The crew members were finally rescued after 5 hours due to a storm.
Rescue plan with deadline
The new owner was given 24 hours by the coastal authority Capitanía Marítima to prepare a rescue plan on pain of losing the rights to his ship. However, when the Capitanía wanted to notify the owner of the expired deadline, it turned out that he had already left.
Auctioned or scrapped
Since Friday the Coast Guard has been disinfecting the megayacht and extracting the fuel to prevent risks to the environment. The yacht will be taken to the port of Motril, where It will then be auctioned or scrapped, depending on its condition. A new storm has meanwhile paralysed the work. Thus, the Neeveen is still waiting for its final destination, far from Marbella.