The Story of Tranquility - From Massive Fraud Scandal to Kylie Jenner’s Party Yacht

Tranquility is a 300-foot superyacht with a scandalous past, and a gorgeous interior 28 photos
Photo: Burgess Yachts
Superstars and superyachts were meant for each other, and few things are as glamorous as celebrities showing off their extravagant floating mansions in summer. But, sometimes, these sumptuous vessels with the most elegant amenities could be hiding a scandalous past, contrary to what you would expect from a celebrity yacht named “Tranquility.
Every summer, we get glimpses of celebrities’ new favorite “home away from home” while they’re enjoying extended vacations in stunning, exotic places. Some show off their own yachts, while others, like the iconic Beyonce and Jay-Z, prefer to charter a famous superyacht for millions of dollars per week. But, while a lot of these ultra-expensive ships were custom-built or come with a non-controversial history, others hide a turbulent past.

A couple of years ago, when Kylie Jenner celebrated her 22nd birthday onboard a magnificent yacht almost the size of a football field (300 feet/91.5 meters), nobody could’ve guessed that the same boat had been at the center of a huge fraud scandal, involving top-level politicians.

Photo: Burgess Yachts
In just a few years, this luxury yacht had a movie-like trajectory. Initially owned by a Malaysian mogul, it was then seized by the Malaysian government, sold for half of its value, and ended up as a party yacht, a different kind of mogul – the young billionaire Kylie Jenner.

Tranquility’s story is anything but tranquil. Originally named Equanimity, it was built in 2014 by the luxury Dutch shipyard Oceanco, which also built Tom Brady’s yacht, and the alleged support vessel for Jeff Bezos’ new superyacht. The gorgeous ship had a bright future ahead – not only was it one of the biggest Oceanco projects, but it won the “Yacht of the Year Over 82 Meters” at the prestigious World Superyacht Awards. Also, it was known as the first superyacht to be built according to the Passenger Yacht Code (PYC) safety requirements.

But the ship’s destiny would take a dramatic turn – just a few years later, the superyacht was making headlines in connection with a money laundering and fraud scandal that was dubbed (according to Forbes) “one of the largest thefts in history.” The ship’s owner, banker Low Taek Jho (known as Jho Low), was one of the main people involved in the 1MDB scandal.

The 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was an investment fund set up by the Malaysian government for economic development in 2009. A few years later, it was revealed that billions of dollars from the fund had been used by several people connected to the project for their benefit. Jho Low, who was at the center of this huge scandal, had reportedly spent the “dirty” money on high-end properties, superyachts, a private jet, and expensive artworks. But party time was over for Low by 2015.

Photo: Burgess Yachts
A report published by the U.S. Department of Justice stated that Low had allegedly used 1MDB funds to purchase and maintain Equanimity, valued at $250 million. The businessman’s share of the 1MDB fraud amounted to over $400 million. By 2018, the Malaysian government had seized Low’s superyacht and sold it for half of its value - $125 million, in an attempt to recover as much as possible from the stolen funds.

This is when Equanimity became Tranquility and started a new life as a luxury charter yacht for fun-seeking billionaires. They would be impressed by the vessel’s extravagant interiors, designed by the renowned Andrew Winch. But how many were aware that the Asian-inspired style also hid a scandalous past back in Malaysia?

Most likely, all that they saw were the giant, 215 square feet (20 square meters) pool and the lavish sun lounging area on the upper deck, plus the generous beach club on the lower deck. The yacht seemed destined to become a vacation yacht for the wealthy, with its large wellness area that included a sauna, a hammam, a beauty salon, a fully-equipped gym, and experiential (multi-function) showers.

Photo: Burgess Yachts
Tranquility can accommodate up to 22 guests in 11 cabins. The elegant master suite also includes a lounge, a study, a premium hot tub, and its private door leads straight to the jacuzzi. The yacht’s opulent style is also reflected in the luxurious materials throughout, such as bamboo, bleached oak, “Travertino Velluto” marble, and gold leaf.

Not only elegant, but also powerful – Tranquility’s ice-class hull allows it to travel much further than the typical billionaire party destinations, and its 4,800 HP MTU engines can reach a maximum speed of 18.5 knots (136 mph/219 kph). Like any self-respecting superyacht, it also features a helipad and several water toys.

Photo: Burgess Yachts
All of this reportedly cost more than $1 million per week at the time when Kylie Jenner was celebrating with her family. The superyacht is now listed for around $170 million (€149.9 million), more than what it was sold for by the Malaysian government.

In case you were wondering what happened to Low, he was and continues to be a fugitive. BBC reports that this year, he faces new charges added by the U.S. in the mind-boggling international scandal. Meanwhile, his former ultra-luxurious yacht is entertaining billionaires and waiting for a new owner, one who might be interested in a boat with a (dirty) history.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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