back to article Dead Steve Jobs' mega yacht seized by testy Philippe Starck

Steve Jobs' luxury yacht has been impounded in Amsterdam port after French designer Philippe Starck's bill wasn't paid. Bailiffs boarded the shiny new boat, named Venus, last Wednesday and have chained it to the dock, the Dutch newspaper Financieele Dagblad reported. Venus has been seized over Starck's claim that Jobs' estate …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. mark 63 Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    well I know bailiff are only interested in recovering the sum owed , not getting value for money.

    I'll certainly get 9m together if i get a 150m yacht out of it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Boats are meant to look pretty, with curves and shape, this one looks ugly and deserves to sink.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Boats

        Don't worry, it is controlled by iMacs, once the dinky fans pack up they will overheat and crash, causing iScow to smash up on the rocks or sail into a hurricane.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. fawlty

    No contract?

    No contract + dead customer (generally) = loss.


    1. Bumpy Cat

      Re: No contract?

      Yep - how hard would it have been for Philippe to say "I'll have my people talk to your people about the paperwork"? Relying on friendship for a business deal for someone generally acknowledged to be pretty ruthless in business affairs was careless. Hoping that his estate will honour some verbal deal is downright foolish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No contract?

        I'm guessing they were not involved in the discussions, so it's Stark's opinion versus none ?

        Leave the family alone, the reward for the work seems ample. Someone husband / father has died - it's going to be painful enough.

    2. Hieronymus Howerd

      Re: No contract?

      I don't know about wherever you guys live, but certainly in the UK a verbal contract is exactly as legally binding as anything on paper. Proving it ever happened is another matter, of course.

      Seemingly that applies in the Netherlands too, otherwise that boat wouldn't have been seized.

    3. Ian Michael Gumby

      Re: No contract?

      This seems to be a bit much about nothing...

      Yes there is the issue of a verbal contract.

      Then there is this thing called probate where the executor and the lawyers work out which bills are to be paid and what taxes are to be charged, along with the value of the estate...

      Could be that Starke jumped the gun.

  3. Edwin

    Dutch news...

    Says the family claims Jobs agreed to 6% of the cost of the yacht, and that Starck has been paid in full.

    Starck claims 6% was discussed but the final bill was €9M, so he's still €3M short.

    Either way, it's clear I should start designing boats instead of commenting on El Reg...

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Dutch news...

      Yup, apparently the bar is quite low!

      3million is an expensive way to learn the value of contracts.

    2. Tom 35

      I should start designing boats instead of commenting on El Reg...

      From the look of that boat you don't even need to be any good at it.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: I should start designing boats instead of commenting on El Reg...

        From the look of that boat you don't even need to be any good at it.

        I think "it floats" is enough. Personally, I'm glad this thing will possibly never see another harbour. For someone who has put together very impressive designs, this tub looks like he was compensating for that. Ugh.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I should start designing boats instead of commenting on El Reg...

        I venture to doubt that Starck did the bit from the keel to the sheer strake- you know, the bit that makes it a boat rather than a wet caravan.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    €9M, €6M or €3M

    Anyway you cut it, the tub is hideous.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: €9M, €6M or €3M

      St Steve was obviously planning on taking out a patent on boats with square corners....

  5. Rampant Spaniel

    Always have contracts

    As a photographer, even for a family wedding, always have a written record. Doesn't have to be formal, even for pro bono work, just a basic statement of expectations etc. Haven't ever done work for friends or family for profit, they cover any costs upfront, no room for misunderstandings.

    Given he did design work (so not as much out of pocket as say construction), has no written proof and claims it was with a friend I find it in poor taste to impound the skiff. Your friend died, yes it's not an insignificant sum but you aren't going to starve. If you can't work it out amicably (say split the difference) then you grow a pair and walk away. What would your friend say of your treatment of his family? I would haunt your ass! No written contract = your loss.

    1. Lord Voldemortgage

      Re: Always have contracts

      Agree with the "always have contracts" side of things but playing devil's advocate the Jobs estate is also not going to starve and might also be expected to work this out amicably for the sake of the family.

      What would Jobs say of his estate's treatment of a friend?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Always have contracts

        F*ck 'em?

      2. Jediben

        Re: Always have contracts

        He'd say something along the lines of "One born every minute".

        Knowing the Jobsian bandwagon, Starck's design would be replaced by one slightly smaller which casts 10% more in 6 month's time anyway.

        1. Psyx

          Re: Always have contracts

          "He'd say something along the lines of 'One born every minute'."

          And if they can convince another 30 that it's 'cool', you can get 31 a minute!

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: Always have contracts

        You are correct, they won't starve, the thing that would swing it for me is simply the lack of a contract. It's extremely unlikely he will get that 3 million if the estate chooses to fight so (at least as far as I can see) all he stands to get is ill will. Personally I would chalk it up to experience and not screw with a family friendship, but then again I don't design $150m tubs and it's easy to say that when it's not my money. I've written off quite a bit over the years for wedding shoots where invariably the bride caught the groom cheating a few days before the wedding (this happens a scary amount of times). My contract says I keep the lot but I generally ensure I'm not out of pocket and refund the rest. I'm no saint but I figure its the right thing to do and it's won me plenty of referrals \ repeat business.

        As an aside, did I read that it came in hugely under budget? Thats impressive!

    2. ItsNotMe

      Re: Always have contracts

      " What would your friend say of your treatment of his family? I would haunt your ass! No written contract = your loss."

      If the rolls were reversed...Jobs would screw HIS family out of the money in a nanosecond.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They might and they might not. I don't know them and I am (probably foolishly) basing it off what I would do. I just don't expect him to get far without a contract \ proof so has little chance of gaining anything and every chance of it tarnishing his reputation and damaging a friendship.

      2. John Bailey

        Re: Always have contracts

        No.. More likely, Jobs would demand full payment, and then claim he left him the boat too, but forgot to put it in his will.

  6. jb99

    Wrong assumption

    You are all assuming that no contract means that the ship belongs to his family. It's just as likely that if there is no contract then it belongs by default to the person who designed and had it built...

    1. I Am Spartacus

      Re: Wrong assumption

      You right - You have a wrong assumption.

      The yacht belongs to who ever is the registered owner. Its not a difficult concept.

      Sure as eggs are omelettes in progress, the designer has no claim or lien on the boat.

      Frankly, I am highly surprised that the Dutch court even entertain the notion of arresting the vessel. This is a last chance saloon type action and as the plaintiff you have to produce some pretty heavy and water tight argument to make it stick. Like a contract, an invoice, a latter of protest for non-payment of said invoice.

      Rocking up in Den Haag, saying that this dead geezer owes me 3M, but I got nothing to prove it, should have got him thrown out on his ear.

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Wrong assumption

      No, but I assumed they were the ones Phillipe is saying are liable for the bill as it was stated with was a verbal contract between Phillipe and Steve.

      I assume, for tax purposes, the registered owner is actually a dachsund somewhere in the Caymen Islands.

    3. Stoneshop

      Re: Wrong assumption

      The one who designed it is not the one who had it built, so that's you who's made a wrong assumption. Even if the designer hasn't yet received a single penny, he has no title to the floating thingie. That would lie with either the builder, or the person who ordered the floating showoff thingie, depending on the amount of money that had moved from the latter to the former and the contract between them.

    4. Rampant Spaniel

      Plus Phillipe Starck designs a lot of different things, I doubt he did much more than provide an aesthetic guide, an engineer would (hopefully) actually drawn up the designs otherwise it would likely end up a seaweed farm somewhere.

      Isn't ownership normally held by the constructor until it is released to a company registered in whatever country has the most friendly terms for a flag.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Being pedantic, a naval architect would draw up the plans to an appropriate standard - usually Lloyds - and a surveyor - or in this case more than one surveyor - would monitor the construction. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to get the thing insured, and without insurance if you did any serious damage to anything and had plenty of assets, your life would not be worth living. Even if you were Steve Jobs.

  7. disgruntled yank

    let us hope

    That in tribute to late owner the authorities docked it in a handicapped spot.

  8. Khaptain Silver badge

    Dead Steve Jobs

    Is there also an "Alive" Steve Jobs.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Wrong assumption

      Probably quite a few, there were more Dave Gorman's the I expected! (google "are you dave gorman").

      I doubt many of the Steve's have $105m dinghys

    2. JaitcH

      Re: Dead Steve Jobs? Elvis lives on ...

      THIRTY-FIVE years after he stopped breathing.

      Of coarse Jobs no doubt walks around haunting people, to. Some magazines, such as Slate, still have advertisements running as if he was still here.

    3. Red Bren

      Is there also an "Alive" Steve Jobs.

      No, but there's an UNDEAD Steve Jobs, shuffling slowly towards Amsterdam, feasting on BRAAAAAIIIIINNNNSSS!!!

    4. southpacificpom

      Re: Dead Steve Jobs

      Probably, look in your local phone directory.

    5. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Re: Dead Steve Jobs

      > Is there also an "Alive" Steve Jobs.

      Do androids count?

  9. Ru


    "Venus was originally costed at €150m"

    The butchery of English involved in this sentence has actually nausead me.

    1. Chavdar Ivanov

      Re: Hurrgh

      And I was nauseated by "nausead"...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jobs family have a problem with pricing?

    Who'd have thunk it?!

    "Venus was originally costed at €150m, which would have entitled Starck to €9m in total, but Jobs' heirs say the actual cost was €105m"

    That's an impressive underspend for a mega-yacht project!

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Re: Jobs family have a problem with pricing?

      €150m was for version two - the one with retina displays.

    2. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Jobs family have a problem with pricing?

      I would suspect that no exact cost was ever calculated as it is peanuts anyway, just too round to be exact. Perhaps an upper limit, who knows. Quite a difficult tin to get rid of for 105m.

    3. Tom 7

      Re: Jobs family have a problem with pricing?

      So the heirs do have some paperwork?

    4. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Jobs family have a problem with pricing?

      "Venus was originally costed at €150m, which would have entitled Starck to €9m in total, but Jobs' heirs say the actual cost was €105m"

      That's an impressive underspend for a mega-yacht project!

      To be honest, I rather suspect their bookkeeper is mildly dyslexic...

  11. sebacoustic


    Mr Starck should go and donate the full amount he received for this monstrosity to some charitable cause, then sink the ugly vessel in pursuit of another good cause: taste.

    1. JimS

      Re: iSore

      Definitely, that has to be the ugliest boat I have ever seen.

      In fact it's the ugliest *anything* I've ever seen.

      Skull n Bones, cos it needs to be boarded and scuppered immediately.

      1. Stoneshop

        Re: iSore

        In fact it's the ugliest *anything* I've ever seen.

        You are unaware of the Fiat Multipla? Good for you.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: iSore

          As David Hockney said:

          "Always live in the ugliest house on the street... that way, you don't have to look at it."

        2. LateNightLarry

          Re: iSore

          Are you familiar with the Pontiac Aztec? UGLY angular pretense of a car,

          or the Dodge Magnum, one FUGLY car... I had the misfortune of driving one for a week.

          need to treat both of them to a ground zero event.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: iSore

        It just needs everything above the sheer removed and replaced by something from a yacht designer. Why upset the fish?

  12. Jack Project

    I bought a bigger samsung yacht for $50m

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If his yacht was 150 feet they would make one 150.1ft. Bet it's got no $amsung / android devices onboard.

  13. Frumious Bandersnatch

    but who would want ...

    that iSore?

  14. Jones

    Are they sure it was really Steve's yacht? The corners aren't round...

    1. An(other) Droid


      Simply because St Jobs decreed that only iThings made by Apple could have rounded corners. Not even a... well, never mind.

  15. RogueCoder

    First lord of the Sith?

    That's not a yacht - it's a bloody Star Destroyer! Seriously, google some pics

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Classy to impound a dead mans yacht.

    1. mIRCat

      Yo ho

      "Classy to impound a dead mans yacht."

      If it makes you feel better I don't think he was using at the time.

      Then again Silicon Valley pirates believe everything on the high seas be theirs for the takin'

  17. Christoph

    I'm not surprised

    After all, you expect funny goings on aboard the good ship Venus.

  18. Turtle

    USS Monitor x CSS Virginia (Merrimack) - with a cakebox on top!

    That's what it puts me in mind of: if you crossed the USS Monitor with the CSS Virginia (nee USS Merrimack) - and then put a cakebox on top, i'd wager that you'd end up with something like that.

    1. kain preacher

      Re: USS Monitor x CSS Virginia (Merrimack) - with a cakebox on top!

      Is that a private yacht or a US coastguard cutter ? I'm looking for the 20mm guns and the helicopter landing pad.

    2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      I thought it looked like a WW1 German battlevaggen

      But they got out of port, once.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    have to be cruel to be kind

    steve jobs is trash

  20. Pet Peeve

    Wait ... a designer came in massively under budget? PAY HIM.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    simple, legal and plenty of precedent

    If you have a house built and do not pay the architect, said architect can absolutely get a lien on your house. (That's why you signed a retainer agreement - in the small print it talks about liens for non-payment).

    Starck is what is known as the naval architect, he did the design work, evidently the client approved it and gave the go-ahead to build. Whether we like the result or not is immaterial, Jobs didn't build it to please us, he built it to please himself (and had all his fanbois pay for it - neat trick!)

    Establishing Starck's lien is pretty simple.

    Under maritime law, a ship CAN be "arrested" for non-payment of bills. Since a ship is mobile (and most houses are not), chaining a ship to a dock is the usual (and fairly common) procedure. This usually gets the owner's attention and results in payment or at least some prompt and fevered negotiation as opposed to the usual brush-off creditors often get and debtors usually try. It is very difficult to effectively sue someone in another country, maritime law recognizes this and takes a very direct approach (chains) to enforcing liens.

    This only works on civilian vessels - recently a frigate belonging to a South American country was arrested in a West African port because the "owner" didn't pay for fuel somewhere else - the lien was perfected and the guys showed up with chains. The frigate was armed . . . unlike merchant vessels . . . and fired a few warning shots at the guys with the chains (who immediately lost ALL interest in enforcing a lien for some third party somewhere else in the world) and then the SA government offered to order the frigate to shell the port unless their naval vessel was allowed to leave unmolested. Since the frigate had more firepower than the West African country, the "host" saw the ultimate reasonableness of this proposal and wished the frigate a prompt bon voyage.

    Maritime law is VERY different from civil law. Starck had some good legal advice. Remember also we only saw the result AFTER it hit the fan, most probably "his people" and "their people" had already been talking about this and had reached an impasse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: simple, legal and plenty of precedent

      Is Starck a qualified naval architect? I am impressed. (I have the Lloyds manual - it's a 56Mbyte PDF. And there are professional exams and things. Clearly he has been wasted doing lemon squeezers.)

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: simple, legal and plenty of precedent

      A naval architect? He is a designer not an architect. If you look at his history he primarily designs interiors (hotels, houses etc) household items (chairs, radios) and iirc a motorbike (I believe it won awards but not sales and was described as a crime against motorcycling). Leaving aside any judgement on his ability as art is subjective and he obviously pays the bills with his work so someone likes it, his work is limited to aesthetics not structural design. The closest he gets to an exception is some wind turbines and then possibly only because they don't really have an interior.

      I really doubt Job's would be able to insure a luxury yacht whose plans were drawn up by a many who picks sofa colours and designs chairs and alarm clocks. He probably had input into the primary design phase, providing sketches of a hull form or overall aesthetic principals etc, i.e. he said make it look like this picture and a marine engineer \ naval architect actually drew up the plans after they finished crying. He probably did a lot of the interior design as well. Whilst he may still have a claim based on his work (this I never doubted) he probably has no actual claim because there is no paperwork otherwise wouldn't the executors of Steve's estate have paid it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: simple, legal and plenty of precedent

        You are right, but the sarcasm tag didn't reproduce in my post.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: simple, legal and plenty of precedent

          Ribsosome, sorry my post was aimed at the a/c not yourself :-) apologies for not making that clear. I note that Phillipes website doesn't show any affiliation to any maritime architectural organisations.

    3. Grikath

      Re: simple, legal and plenty of precedent

      "Maritime law is VERY different from civil law. Starck had some good legal advice. Remember also we only saw the result AFTER it hit the fan, most probably "his people" and "their people" had already been talking about this and had reached an impasse."

      This, since there's actually quite a lengthy legal procedure before the "bailiffs" (actually "deurwaarder", who are the *only* ones able to seize and if necessary auction posessions in this here country, and are appointed by royal proclamation. ) put chains on a ship.

      In due processs sufficient evidence has to be presented in court to convince a judge of the merit of the claim, especially if the contract is verbal ( which is *quite* binding in the netherlands), and ample opportunity must be given to the offending party by the deurwaarder to pay up.

      It's quite a lengthy procedure that can take up to a year to end up in reposession, and even then *only* if you utterly refuse to acknowledge the deurwaarder ( which includes appeal in court).

      So the Jobs estate did drop a ball or two there to let things get this far.

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        Re: simple, legal and plenty of precedent

        I wonder about the amount of evidence it is possible to have about a verbal contract with a dead guy. There may have been witnesses but if they are employees of the toaster designer then they could be issues with impartiality right?

  22. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Doesn't sound like the contract is a problem...

    It really doesn't sound like the contract is a problem (although I must agree, I would have done it in writing.) It sounds like the estate is not disputing the 6%, but rather the cost of the yacht (which to me seems odd, I would think design would be flat rate, not based on what the tub ends up costing to make.)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In this area of the globe it is not unusual - nay standing practice - for an architect to be paid a percentage of the ultimate bill for putting up a building.

    Now, Mr. S+arck (not to be confused with Philippe de Staercke, a Belgian gangster of some disrepute) fancies himself a bit of a devil-designs-all, and has some buildings to his name, so I'm guessing he figured the tub was so ugly it couldn't be confused with a ship so it must've been a building.

    Now, apparently the 6% is not in question, only whether the amount upon which this is calculated should be 100 or 150 million AM$.

    Since he is convinced he is owed money, he proceeded to have a claim put on a property belonging to the party owing him the dosh. The fact that in this case it is the offending article (I choose my words carefully) itself is merely a coincidence. He probably estimated his chances of putting the chain on the US estate (or parts of it) to have a very slim chance of success. I wonder where he got that idea.

    Nevertheless, someone will have to have the whole kaboodle surveyed and subsequently have to convince a court.

    If Flippo thinks he was shortchanged I wish him the best of luck.

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Not That Andrew

    Damn, that boat is UGLY. It looks like the illegitimate offspring of HMS Dreadnought and the Villa Savoye. I thought Jobs was supposed to have some sort of sense of aesthetics.

  27. Aulty

    nice boat

    Jesus, that's one ugly boat.

    Whoever designed that must be starck raving mad.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    even in death Jobs and family are still tools

    another rich 1%er trying not to pay what they agreed upon.

    Bring more Apple products to #Occupy.

    contracts and agreements are for the peons. Weaselling is the way of the Upper Crust.

    just pay the man what ya owe ya b*ttheads! or let him keep the thing if it's "not important".

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like