As the legacy of the late Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis slips further into the past so too does it worth. Perhaps the most famous mega luxury yacht after Brittanie, the Christina O, the yacht he bought for his daughter, was put on auction a few weeks ago and hasn’t drawn a single bidder. No one is interested.
The yacht was originally a Canadian anti-submarine River-class frigate called HMCS Stormont and was launched in 1943. It served as a convoy escort during the Battle of the Atlantic and was present at the D-Day landings.
Onassis purchased it for its scrap value, $34,000 and spent $4 million to convert it into a luxurious super-yacht. He hosted the world’s A list celebrities of the late 1950’s on board, throwing legendary parties. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, John Paul Getty and Eva Peron all stayed on the yacht.
There is a very limited market for this kind of ship. As a well-connected former shipbroker stressed “As you can imagine, the major buyers for a yacht this size are going to be mainly Russian and Chinese and they tend to want ‘new’, so it really needs someone who appreciates its history.”
But sadly, he added, the Greek government doesn’t have enough money to purchase it as a symbol of Greece’s domination of the sea and one of the more interesting chapters in its modern history and none of Greece’s fabulously wealthy and tax-free shipping magnates have shown any history in preserving the history of one of their own who remains in death more famous than they in life.