How A $500 Million Yacht Goes Dark

Alex Harsha
Alex HarshaSep 26, 2023, 3:31 AM
How A $500 Million Yacht Goes Dark

How do you make a $500 million sailing yacht disappear? If you are Jeff Bezos, you turn off the ship’s tracking system.

Bezos’s 417-foot yacht Koru is no longer transmitting location data, with the last location ping noted on July 19 near Sardinia, Italy. The system that is no longer functioning is the automatic identification system (AIS), a standard feature on ships over a certain size.

An AIS data tracker sends and receives information about a ship’s course and navigation. It improves at-sea safety by enabling vessels to share information with each other and with stations on shore. When turned on, the AIS data transmits a range of data such as the yacht’s name, position, speed, heading and other points. It also receives nearby vessel information that is displayed on the navigation system, helping captains maintain safe distances and follow maritime travel regulations.

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When You Need A Support Ship For Your Yacht

Bezos’s disappearing act extends to another ship. The mega-rich that operate yachts of this scale sometimes need a support ship. Bezos operates a 246-foot ship called Abeona that follows Koru from port to port. It offers extra space for crew members, a helipad and additional supplies that passengers and crew might require on their journeys. The ship is a yacht in its own right and carries many of the water toys that do not fit on the massive Koru sailing vessel.

Koru features an array of lavish comforts, including multiple decks, lounges, a swimming pool and a movie theater. It is the largest sailing yacht in the world, built by esteemed yacht builder Oceanco beginning in 2021 with delivery in April 2023. It offers Bezos and his frequent traveler partner and fiancée Lauren Sanchez a spacious gym and spa area along with opulent meeting areas and lounges.

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Billionaires Looking To Travel Anonymously

AIS trackers help captains and crew avoid collisions, giving them a chance to take evasive actions based on location and heading data. It integrates with most yacht navigation systems and highlights AIS data on charts so ship operators can make optimal navigation decisions. Emergency responders and rescue operators also rely on AIS tracking data to respond effectively to emergencies, so they can make the right course toward a ship that needs help.

In 2022, several Russian oligarch yacht owners turned off their AIS systems to avoid sanctions and scrutiny after Russian forces invaded Ukraine. In late 2022, Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH and one of the richest people in the world, sold his private jet, with reports stating he did so out of frustration with people tracking his flights and sharing the journeys through social media.

Bezos, founder of, Inc., frequently travels on his yacht. He is not under scrutiny but likely grew tired of the attention his massive yacht and support ship attract. Despite these efforts, a nearly 500-foot three-masted yacht is hard to miss. Many people on social media channels report the ship’s locations as it travels around the world.

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This article Bezos’s Maritime Disappearing Act: How A $500 Million Yacht Goes Dark originally appeared on


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    Alex Harsha
    Alex Harsha

    Alex Harsha is a full-time writer.Before becoming a full-time writer, Alex was a public school teacher. He teaches writing workshops to children and adults. Lives in Connecticut & Works on next novel.

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