Police chief hurt, bodyguard killed in Iraq suicide attack

The 100 foot Katania was chartered by Hollywood star Hilary Swank and her husband Chad Lowe.
A security guard for a provincial police chief was killed Saturday in a suicide bombing in western Iraq, state-run media reported.

Seattle-based mega-yacht rental business CEO Expeditions usually charges around $100,000 a week to charter their 100+ foot yachts, however, they have introduced a deal waiving the charter fees — so guests will only need to pay for the running of the vessel. The move to make such vessels more affordable comes as the recession continues to put pressure on the luxury holiday and mega-yacht industries. Although the costs of crew and luxury food aren’t extremely cheap, it is expected this move will open up the recession-hit market to many more potential holiday-makers. One of the company’s mega-yachts, Katania — a 100 foot vessel which Hollywood actress Hilary Swank once chartered, now costs less than $3000 per day. Normally it would attract an additional $49,500 charter fee for a week’s use. At the $2950 per day special rate four people can stay on the Katania — but with the maximum six on board ($450 extra per person), the cost per person is a slightly more achievable $642. The price includes full crew, premium wines, gourmet food prepared by a private chef, amenities such as kayaks, hot tub, fishing/crabbing/shrimping equipment, and even a 30′ Whaler for guest use. According to the company, Swank said of her charter holiday: “We had an absolutely enchanted time aboard the Katania. A more beautiful yacht does not exist.” There is one small catch with the deal — the boat is based in the San Juan islands, and any cruises to other destinations will attract an additional charge to cover fuel costs. The company’s owner, Bruce Milne, said in a statement that the deal was largely due to the impact of the recession. “Travel is down, agents and brokers need deals, so rather than just a few full price charters, we decided to stay busy, put more people to work, and help island tourism by doing charters at cost. “Since we started chartering 10 years ago, we have been looking for a chance to provide our ‘Expeditions to the Extraordinary’ in the San Juan Islands at a price any luxury traveler can afford – this recession provides that opportunity,” he said. Tim Wiltshire, director and sales broker at international yacht company Burgess Yachts, said the charter market wasn’t a complete disaster, so he was surprised to see such a discount. “I wouldn’t have expected to see that. We are seeing discounts on average of about 25 percent. Although, some people are trying interesting gimmicks to inspire new business,” he said Wiltshire said that CEO Expedition’s fleet isn’t among the biggest or most luxurious on the market, and that this deal appeared to be clever marketing stunt. He felt that other larger vessels still warranted their greater price tags.