The world’s first carbon-neutral events and party ship, which owners wanted to launch in London, has returned to EU waters after the firm got fed up of “the complex web of regulatory and certification processes in the UK.”
Oceandiva – built in a Dutch shipyard and designed to provide a striking, world-first conference venue on the Thames – has been the subject of endless objections from residents.
The £25m boat accommodates 1,500 people and would have served as an addition to the capital’s corporate venue armoury.
The decision by the owners to return the boat to EU waters and give up on its London plans comes just weeks after entertainment group MSG also pulled plans for the Sphere, a concert venue mirroring an already extant version in Las Vegas, after running into planning obstructions.
“It is with great disappointment we announce in what marks a significant setback for London’s aspirations to be a leader in sustainable maritime innovation, the Oceandiva London project, a shining example of green technology, has been compelled to return to EU waters,” a statement on the boat’s website read.
Oceandiva’s owners had struggled to get through a complex list of planning hurdles, forced to attain an alcohol licence in Newham (where it would dock) as well as receive permission to stop in Shad Thames for passengers to board.
“The decision, made by the Dutch owners, comes after prolonged challenges in navigating the complex web of regulatory and certification processes in the UK.
“We are grateful for the way in which Oceandiva London was received by clients and the events industry alike. It is with much regret that we are unable to bring this innovative project to fruition and thank you for your support and interest in the venue,” it added.
The team behind bringing the boat to London had previously warned it would be a “travesty” if the boat did not launch in London.
“One client told us they saw the boat, and they had to have their event in London, they wanted this James Bond feel. Something like this can be a draw to London and then to other venues and events,” Smart Group’s managing director Chloe Jackson told City A.M. last year.
Residents close to where the boat was to moor in Shad Thames had complained about excess noise.
One campaigner who lives in Shad Thames previously told the Mail that the boat would be “sailing up and down the Thames.
“It will affect the views of tourists coming to see the sites. The river is for everyone – not just a privileged few,” said the long-time riverside resident.