Gaddafi’s Son Ordered His Own Cruise Ship, Complete With Shark Tank

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Forget about shark-infested waters: Hannibal Gaddafi’s dream was to have a cruise ship, one that he could call his own – complete with a frilly shark tank bounded by marble pillars and decadent mirrors. And according to new reports, he nearly got it.

Gaddafi, who is the fourth son of overthrown Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, was by all accounts a “trained seaman” in charge of the country’s maritime activities. He reportedly commissioned the garish ship when he became frustrated about his inability to charter cruise ships with little notice. Notwithstanding that most ships weren’t intended to hold two sand tiger sharks, two white sharks and two blacktip reef sharks.

(PHOTOSA Closer Look at Sharks)

Though the 36-year old is currently exiled in Algeria, he reportedly planned to outfit the ship with four marine biologists who would have tended to the animals and given them dedicated food sources. The ship was to have carried up to 3,500 passengers.

According to maritime site gCaptain, the ship is being bought out by cruise operator MSC Cruises for 550 million euros (over $725 million). “I personally don’t know why, but he wanted a shark tank,” MSC’s CEO Pierfrancesco Vago told the Financial Times.  The contract for the ship was terminated when the Gaddafi establishment was overthrown.

Since the ship was only half-completed when the Gaddafi regime fell, the company is overhauling some of Hannibal Gaddafi’s original plans, and, more importantly, without the sharks. The ship is expected to join the fleet as the MSC Preziosa after it is finished in March 2013.

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Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.