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A Criminal Investigation

Following Up on Megayacht Yogi Sinking - by Capt. Bill Pike

For reasons already cited, the Bureau d’Enquêtes sur les Évènements de Mer’s report contributes little to an understanding of what happened onboard the superyacht Yogi in the hours before she sank. In fact, it seems it was meant simply to roil the waters, pass on a few innocuous recommendations to some of the parties involved, and, in doing so, put an end to continued inquiry.

Ongoing developments may obtrude, however. Over the past few months, most marine publications have reported the existence of a criminal investigation of the Yogi sinking by Greek authorities. Word is that it was begun by the Hellenic Air Force (the entity that handled the rescue of Yogi’s crew, presumably at considerable expense) and is now in the hands of a prosecutorial authority in Piraeus, Greece’s chief seaport.

Recently, a source close to the investigation told Power & Motoryacht that charges being contemplated include “deliberate wreckage and the endangering of human life.” Further information was not available at press time, although it’s likely the Greeks are asking themselves some of the same questions already posed thus far, as well as others, among them: What about the ship’s logbook—why is it not mentioned in the French report, particularly in light of the lengthy period of time the crew had to ensure its preservation? Why was Yogi’s bilge-pumping system so ineffective, given that video footage showed her powered up even moments before she went down? And why was Yogi’s AIS system apparently not operating during the hours preceding the tragedy?

 “Many questions,” concludes Proteksan-Turquoise CEO Karabeyoglu, rather fatalistically it seems. He continues to deal, after all, with the loss of a high-profile yacht that had become “like one of my children” during her construction, as well as the demise of a long-time boatbuilding partner and confidante, Proteksan-Turquoise’s former CEO Hayati Kamhi, who committed suicide shortly after the sinking.

Video link: Watch as Yogi’s crew is saved by a rescue team on a Hellenic Air Force helicopter, as the 197-foot megayacht founders in the Aegean Sea.  “Who knows why people do such things?” Karabeyoglu says. “There could have been many factors. But I can also tell you he was heartbroken by what happended to the yacht. She was more his project than mine, you know. Was it heartbreak that caused him to take his own life? Maybe not completely, but then I don’t really know. Not for sure.”

Many questions indeed.

See “Mega Mystery,” June 2012 ➤