Anonymous buyer snaps up Cork drugs yacht for €70,000

Makayabella at centre of €290 million drugs seizure


A yacht at the centre of one of Ireland’s biggest ever drugs seizure has sold at auction for €70,000 to an Irish sailing enthusiast who wishes to remain anonymous.

The Makayabella was purchased by Cork solicitor, Barry O’Meara in trust for the Irish resident when he saw off a rival bidder at the auction at the Carrigaline Court Hotel on Thursday.

Speaking afterwards, Mr O’Meara said his client wanted to remain anonymous but was an Irish resident and was a keen sailor and anxious to buy the 62-foot yacht after viewing her.

“All I can say is that my client is an Irish resident and he bought the yacht for his own personal use - he has a keen interest in sailing and is very happy to get it for €70,000.

“He will be refurbishing it for his own personal use,” said Mr O’Meara, adding that he had no idea if the new owner would be changing or retaining the yacht’s name.

The Makayabella made headlines last September when she was seized by a boarding party from the LÉ Niamh after they found 1,025 kgs of cocaine worth €290 million on board.

The seizure off the Cork coast, one of the biggest in the history of the State, was as a result of a Joint Task Force operation involving the Naval Service, Customs and the Garda.

The yacht was sold by Cork auctioneer Dominic Daly for the Garda and bidding at the auction at the Carrigaline Court Hotel in Co Cork was lively after an initially slow start.

Bidding began at €30,000 and went up in bids of €5,000 to €50,000 before Mr O’Meara and one other bidder brought it up in bids of €1,000 and €2,000 to €70,000 in just six minutes.

Auctioneer Dominic Daly expressed satisfaction at the final sale price of €70,000 which was achieved after 22 bids from five different parties over the course of the auction.

“I think it’s a quite good price - given that I heard the people who used it bought it in the Caribbean for just over £100,000 stg and considering it needs a suit of sails, it’s quite good.

“It does need some other remediation down below but the cost of that depends very much on the personal tastes of the new owner - I couldn’t put an estimate on that.

“I knew the people thinking of buying it were very keen when they asked me would it be okay if a solicitor attended the auction here today and made bids on their behalf.

“I think because of the circumstances, they just didn’t want to be seen at the auction and I was happy for Mr O’Meara to bid on their behalf and we got a good price for the boat.”

Mr Daly paid tribute to the Naval Service, who had kept and maintained the Makayabella at its base in Haulbowline in Cork Harbour, for their assistance with auction.

“I would like to thank the Naval Service for their co-operation when it came to allow potential buyers view this once magnificent yacht at the Naval Base,” he said.