The biggest privately owned yacht ever built has been launched from a shipyard in Germany.
The 180-metre long vessel, named the Azzam, was launched in Bremen last Friday.
It is thought to outstrip the length of the previous largest yacht, the 163.5-metre long M/Y Eclipse, by more than 15 metres.
The Eclipse, which is owned by the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, had held the title of the world's largest private yacht since its launch in 2009.
It remains to be seen whether the Azzam, which is estimated to have cost more than £400 million ($585 million) to build, will offer the same level of luxury. The Eclipse has 25 guest cabins, a disco dance hall, and even a mini-submarine capable of submerging 50 metres below the boat.
The Azzam's interior was constructed by German company Lürssen Yachts. The exterior design was carried out by Italian firm Nauta Yachts.
According to Lürssen, the engineer's brief was “to build a large luxury yacht with an innovative and timeless design that would be able to travel at high speed in warm and shallow waters, whilst providing luxurious and sophisticated accommodation to its guests”.
Despite its size, the Azzam is expected to be able to slice through the waves rapidly. It has a reported 94,000 horsepower engine, which would enable it to travel at around 30 knots.
Final trials will be carried out before the boat is delivered to its owner – whose identity remains a mystery – later this year.
Peter Lürssen of Lürssen Yachts described the boat as "a milestone in not only our history but yachting history as well".
THE TELEGRAPH, LONDON