Tycoon's superyacht steams in

Australian billionaire James Packer's superyacht Arctic P in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Australian billionaire James Packer's superyacht Arctic P in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

The superyacht Arctic P is docked in Dunedin - but whether its billionaire owner Australian businessman James Packer (46) is on board remains a mystery.

Port Otago commercial manager Peter Brown said a port pilot navigated the billionaire's vessel into Dunedin Harbour yesterday afternoon. He declined to comment on whether Mr Packer was on board.

Forbes magazine reports Mr Packer, the son of the late media mogul Kerry Packer, inherited the boat and business and shifted investments to focus on the gambling industry, mainly casinos.

The magazine estimated Mr Packer was the third-richest person in Australia with an estimated wealth of $NZ8.01 billion, as of last month.

The Arctic P was moored at the Fryatt St wharf in Dunedin yesterday and temporary fencing was erected to restrict access. A ship's agent told the Otago Daily Times it was not welcome near the superyacht. Superyacht magazine Boat International has ranked the boat the fifth-best expedition superyacht in the world.

''Arctic P was built in 1969 in Bremerhaven, Germany, as an ice-classed, ocean-going tug for the Bugsier Towing and Salvage Company. Her length of 87.5m made her Germany's largest tug. She was converted into a yacht for the late media baron and casino owner Kerry Packer, formerly Australia's richest man.''

The New Zealand Herald reported last year that the superyacht - the 50th largest yacht in the world - had been in Auckland for an expensive refit.

It is expected to leave Dunedin this afternoon.

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