Malaysiakini KiniGuide

What is the Equanimity: A recap

KiniGuide  |  Published:  |  Modified:

KINIGUIDE | After being hunted by various authorities for over a year, the superyacht Equanimity has finally been brought to Malaysia under police custody.

Here is a quick recap on what the Equanimity is about.

What does the word 'equanimity' mean?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "equanimity" is a noun that means “calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation”.

What about the yacht 'Equanimity'?

The Equanimity is a 91.5-metre-long and 14.6-metre-wide yacht. Weighing in at 2,999 tonnes, it is often dubbed a superyacht because of its large size.

According to the boating magazine Boat International, it is currently the 58th largest yacht in the world by length.

There are several vessels bearing the name Equanimity, but this one also bears the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number 319059800.

Boat International reports that the yacht’s aluminium and steel exterior was designed by the Netherlands-based shipbuilder Oceanco, together with the naval architecture firm Azure Naval Architects.

Oceanco also built the vessel at its Alblasserdam shipyard, while the UK-based design firm Andrew Winch Designs provided the interior design.

It was delivered in 2014 and proceeded to win the “Best in Show” award at the Monaco Yacht Show in the same year.

The vessel is registered in the Cayman Islands.

What about the interior?

According to the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Equanimity can carry up to 26 guests and 33 crew members.

It said its features include a helicopter landing pad, a gymnasium, a cinema, a massage room, a sauna, a steam room, an experiential shower and a plunge pool.

Boat International, which claims to have seen the vessel during its construction, said it has multiple guest staterooms on the main deck, including two VIP staterooms with fold-down balconies and a private galley on the upper deck.

A skylight over the owner’s stateroom bathes the suite in natural light, it said.

Lawyers who have boarded the vessel after its arrival in Port Klang described its interior as being decked out with timber, marble, and leather finishings. They also said that they had to wear shoe covers to avoid damaging the flooring.

They also said the vessel would cost RM3 million per month to maintain.

How are Jho Low and 1MDB supposed to be involved?

According to the DOJ, more than US$250 million had been misappropriated from 1MDB and then channelled, through various intermediaries, to pay for the vessel in four major tranches.

It said the complex transactions had no business purpose, other than to “conceal the origin, source and ownership of criminal proceeds”.

It said the financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low (photo), owns the ship through several intermediaries, including its registered owner Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd.

1MDB’s court filings claiming ownership of the vessel largely reproduced the DOJ’s allegations.


Read more: 'Jho Low's award-winning superyacht bought with 1MDB funds'


How did Jho Low use the Equanimity?

Prior to being boarded and seized by Indonesian authorities on Feb 28, vessel-tracking websites had sighted the Equanimity in many parts of the world. However, it is not clear whether Low was on board at those times.

This included sightings in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Palau in 2016. This included a trip through the Strait of Malacca.

A witness at the trial of the Singaporean banker Yeo Jiawei had said that Yeo had travelled with Low aboard the Equanimity.

Sarawak Report had previously claimed that Low held a New Year’s party with celebrities off the coast of Incheon in 2015, and took advantage of depleting polar ice caps to become the 200th vessel to complete the Northwest Passage near the Arctic Circle that summer.

The DOJ, meanwhile, claimed that Low had brought his parents to see the vessel while it was under construction in 2013, and made plans to celebrate his sister’s birthday the following year with a river cruise.

This year and last year, ship-tracking websites showed that the Equanimity stayed mostly around Southeast Asia, in places like Phuket and Bali.

Read more: The hunt for Jho Low's mega yacht - The Equanimity


This instalment of KiniGuide is compiled by Koh Jun Lin.

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