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Billionaire building world's largest yacht

08:30 AEST Wed Aug 1 2012
MSN NZ

A mysterious billionaire has commissioned the world's largest yacht, believed to be almost as large as a cruise ship at 180m long.

Lurssen started building the ship in a German shipyard earlier this year but the company has refused to release any information about the owner or design of the vessel, called Azzam.

Photos recently taken by SuperyachtTimes.com show Azzam — which means 'determination' in Arabic — to be about six storeys tall, with several upper decks.

Due to be completed in 2013, the yacht is expected to cost more than $478 million with an extra $96 million needed just to fill up the fuel tank.

Industry sources say the vessel's owner is a member of a Middle Eastern royal family and their identity has become the subject of widespread speculation.

Azzam is the largest yacht under construction, according to industry executives, and easily eclipses the world's current largest yacht, a 166m long vessel owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.