West Coast pirate spotted in Dubai

The ridiculously large giga yacht Dubai
On my last “hitch”, I ended up in Ajman, near Dubai, picking up an ex Swire Pacific Offshore tug that my current company bought, and brought back to Canada. While there, I ran into an “old friend” unexpectedly. We took the day off from the busy shipyard, and went ‘touristing’ in Dubai. One of the sights we went to was the Palm Jumeirah, where, on one side of the man made island(s), rested the massive yacht “Dubai” at her private berth, and on the other side of the island, the expedition yacht, Bart Roberts.

MY Bart Roberts pictured in Dubai, May 2013
Some of you “west coasters” may recognize her as the 1963 Vickers built, former CCGS Narwhal, a medium, ice classed, nav aids tender, retired in November 1999 from the Canadian Coast Guard on the West Coast, based out of Victoria. She was my first – first “blue water” ship I worked on in the engine room. She had a mess of piping inside the engine room, two small Rustons for mains, and Beaudoin generators.

From the Starboard quarter, the MY Bart Roberts in Dubai, May 2013
She was extensively refitted – well the accommodations anyways - by local contractors at Odgen Point, in Victoria, under the guidance of a Florida company Tradepower International. She got a new sharper looking bow, some accommodation block “accents” and extensive interior remodeling and a new crane on her starboard side forward, instead of the massive buoy derrick she once had.

After the extensive refit in Victoria, she set sail south, for parts unknown, initially with a Canadian crew, and then quickly dropped off the radar after that. I received many inquiries about her, for a few years following her retirement; so it was quite something to randomly spot her in Dubai, back in late May. She was looking very much the way I last saw her, over ten years ago, although I imagine she’s had extensive air conditioning capacity added.
CCGS Narwhal off Race Rocks, near Victoria, on one of her final assignments
At the time of her post retirement refit, she was turned into the “world largest expedition yacht”. She featured a sumptuous interior with a large fish tank, and massive stone fireplace, themed to the famous Caribbean pirate, Bart Roberts. Its former well deck and hold turned into a “toys hangar” with a high speed “thrill boat”, landing craft, and shifting swimming pool.

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