London: Hannibal Gaddafi, the fourth son of
deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, had reportedly
ordered a playboy cruise ship with an in-built shark tank
to entertain guests.
Hannibal, who controlled Libya's maritime industry during
his family's rule, had commissioned the vessel, The Phoenicia,
after being unable to charter cruise ships at short notice.
The vessel, which could not be completed before the fall
of Gaddafi regime, was aimed at providing entertainment for up
to 3,500 guests with elaborate gilt-edged architectural
flourishes, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Inside the ship, Hannibal asked for a 120-tonne chamber
filled with seawater for two sand tiger sharks, two white
sharks and two blacktip reef sharks.
Flanked with marble pillars, gold-framed mirrors and
giant statues, the shark tank was to be a unique centrepiece
for his guests and four full-time biologists would have tended
to the creatures, with an on-board dedicated food source, said
After the 36 year-old fled to Algeria and the uprising
felled the Gaddafi regime, the contract for the playboy cruise
liner was terminated and the vessel was put on sale. The ship
was now bought by MSC Cruises -- one of the largest cruise
operators in the world.
The ship is being renamed "The MSC Preziosa" and will be
deployed on cruises around Greek island in March next year.
But, passengers will be unable to see the shark tank, as the
company is removing it along with his elaborate architectural
touches, the report said.
"I personally don't know why, but he wanted a shark
tank," Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC's chief executive, was quoted
as telling The Financial Times.
MSC, which spent nine months negotiating with Korean
shipbuilder STX Corporation over the sale, is the same company
Hannibal Gaddafi had chartered cruise ships from before
ordering his own.
"They had great difficulty understanding that cruise ship
holidays are sold a year in advance, so there’s no way you
could ever find availability of a cruise vessel at the notice
he gave," Vago said.
First Published: Friday, March 16, 2012, 19:32