Jho Low’s Equanimity a huge headache for the new owners

(FMT) – A faulty elevator, a constant buildup of barnacles, technicians unwilling to do their jobs and a crew acting like spoilt brats – these were just some of the painful problems in keeping the multi-million ringgit yacht Equanimity shipshape while looking for a buyer.

Lawyer Jeremy M Joseph, a member of the team tasked with selling Low Taek Jho’s superyacht which was finally bought for US$126 million (RM518 million) in 2019, said it had to be kept in good condition as the value of the detained ship deteriorated with each passing day.

“For a specialist vessel with a niche market like this, you need to be extremely careful about how you manage the vessel under arrest. It needs to be in pristine condition 24/7,” he said at a seminar here on the yacht’s recovery and sale.

Joseph said the Equanimity had numerous technical problems, such as a faulty glass elevator, a sewage treatment system with a number of component parts, a temperamental laundry system and a buildup of barnacles that needed divers to remove.

“There was always something happening that needed our attention daily,” he said.

In addition, he said, invoices that Low, or better known as Jho Low, had failed to pay had upset many suppliers and technicians, who were unwilling to service the yacht. They only did so after they received official assurance from the government that they would receive their payments.

Another sticking point was the crew of the yacht tasked with maintaining the Equanimity on a daily basis.

“We had to ‘jaga their hati’ (take care of them) and all that. They were very sensitive. Generally, yacht crews are very pampered as they are used to a good life,” he said.

“We had to strike a balance between taking care of the crew and not spoiling them. These were the guys taking care of the ship. To keep them properly motivated, we had to take care of them and strike the proper balance.

“They were used to getting their wages on time. If you were late by a day, they’d start sending you emails.

“You also had to give them pep talks, like spoiled kids. Otherwise, they would form camps, one supporting the master, the other supporting the chief engineer … there were political games afoot. So, you had to go and assure them and boost their morale.”

Returned to Malaysia in August 2018, after being seized in Indonesia earlier in the year, the superyacht was kept in Port Klang until April the next year before Genting Malaysia Bhd bought it.