01 April, 2008

Does Anyone else miss the Cold War?

Ok stop me when this starts to sound familiar: exotic quasi-European accent; villainous scheme for world domination stemming from humble beginnings; a plot to kill those who get in his way; exquisitely neat facial hair; a string of nameless scantily-clad beauties; numerous extortion attempts and the stealing of secrets or technology; luxurious mobile lair. I am of course describing Roman Abramovich, who seems to have missed the point of the James Bond movies more and more every day. The latest two additions to his, ahem, arsenal are the world’s largest privately owned yacht (see above) the M/Y Eclipse, which is currently being built under a cloud of secrecy off the German Baltic island of Ruegen, and bizarrely the world’s largest drill, which has a staggering diameter of 19m.

The Eclipse costs a modest £200m to manufacture, and at 550 feet is just about long enough to house a couple of decent par 3 golf holes. Our good friends over at The Spoiler have further worked out that in total, he will require nearly as many men to crew his four enormous yachts now as the entire Irish navy.

Regular features of the Eclipse reportedly include:

  • A small hospital staffed by his own private medical team; a good use of resources that would otherwise would just be wasted on people in Africa or something
  • Anti-bugging equipment windows that have flash sensors to warn of paparazzi photographers
  • A cinema, aquarium, disco, gym, sauna, steam room, spa, several hot tubs, and a large outdoor swimming pool for Roman to host his famous ‘sexy parties’ with the likes of current WAG Daria Zhukova

Bond villain optional extras then include:
  • Bulletproof glass, underwater cameras and a missile detection system
  • Two £1m helicopters with indoor hangars
  • Four detachable pleasure crafts and 20 jet skis
  • A £2m, 12-seater submarine for diving and secret escape

Say what you want about the guy but he’s a pretty class act; you know you’re doing something right when 50 Cent wishes he rolled like you. It all sounds very very cool, but if this is anything other than a floating missle base / ops centre for a play for world domination then I’m Miss Moneypenny.

So, this drill then. Has Mr Abramovich actually got to the stage where he simply has too much money so has just started buying ‘the world’s biggest…’ well, everything? Abramovich's firm Infrastruktura in Moscow announced the purchase last Thursday, but still speculation is rife as to exactly what he plans to do with it. Wasn’t there a book where someone tried to drill a hole through some South American landmass to de-stabalise the whole continent? Maybe it’s that? Or perhaps he took uber-trash flick The Core a little too seriously and decided that a trip to the centre of the earth might be good for a few jollies? Genuinely, one suggestion is that his goal is to make a Channel Tunnel-style link between Russia and America by drilling a subterranean passage across the Bering Strait, between Siberia and Alaska. If so this would a truly phenomenal feat of both engineering and also diplomacy, given that it wasn’t long ago that the two super-powers were casually aiming nuclear warheads at one another.

Further conjecture includes rumours that Frank Lampard is no longer able to get his stomach inside Stamford Bridge so Abramovich wanted to accomodate his prized star by widening the stadium entrance, and yada yada...