Yacht co-owned by embattled BP chief to race in regatta

THE yacht co-owned by Tony Hayward, the embattled chief executive of BP, is due to take part in the Cork Week regatta.

However, there appears to be confusion about whether Mr Hayward, who has been under constant criticism since April for his handling of his company’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, will be in Crosshaven, Co Cork, next week to compete on board the 52-footer, named Bob.

“Mr Hayward will not be in Cork on those dates,” a BP spokesman insisted.

But Mr Hayward’s name is on the entry list for the elite IRC Super 0 class competition, along with the boat’s co-owners Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive of energy company Centrica, and Rob Gray of Deutsche Bank.

A spokesperson for the regatta, organised by the world’s oldest yacht club, the Royal Cork Yacht Club, said they have yet to receive confirmation about who will crew the vessel during the regatta from July 10 to 16.

Bob is a $700,000 (€560,000) Farr 52 yacht which was made 10 years ago by the Annapolis-based boatbuilder Farr Yacht Design.

Mr Hayward has been described as “the most hated man in America” after he agreed to be the face of the company’s response to the oil spill.

He was severely criticised last month when he went sailing around the Isle of Wight.

It was said at the time by a BP spokesman to have been Hayward’s first break since the Deepwater Horizon rig BP was leasing exploded on April 20 last, killing 11 workers and setting off the undersea gusher.

President Barack Obama’s chief of staff called Hayward’s decision to take a day off to attend the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race as the latest in a “long line of PR gaffes and mistakes”.

Environmental groups said Hayward’s behaviour was “incredibly insulting”.

Labour’s David Miliband said: “Tony Hayward is a chief executive of a company... He is accountable for the actions of the company. Does that mean he’s not allowed to have a day with his son? No.”

Bob finished fourth in its group. It was not clear whether Hayward actually took part in the race.

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