Hayati Kamhi, co-founder of Proteksan Turquoise dies

4 June 2012By Malcolm MacLean

The Proteksan Turquoise shipyard has announced the sudden death of the yard’s co-founder, Hayati Kamhi aged 62, who died at home on Monday, June 4th in what police are treating as suicide.

In 1972, Mr Kamhi created an electrical appliances and electronics products production company in Istanbul, producing electrical voltage regulators/audio music cassettes and electronic calculators. The company was among Turkey’s top 100 industrial companies by 1980 and was sold to a financial institute.

In 1980, he founded Farimex SA in Geneva, a commercial company whose main activities included steel and chemical products trading; barley, wheat, lentils and hazelnuts trading; electronic parts and products trading; and electronic cash registers parts and projects.

He also created P and F Maritime SA, Geneva, a yacht constructor and marketer and Sifoil, a company bartering petroleum products and crude oil.

In 1997 he joined forces with Mehmet Karabeyoglu to establish the Proteksan Turquoise yard, bringing together two unique shipyard facilities. In 2005 the Proteksan Turquoise Yacht and Ships Inc. shipyard was founded in the Kocaeli Free zone and provides the hulls, typically steel in with aluminium superstructure.

Proteksan Turquoise can be proud of what has been achieved since the launch of Turkey's first superyacht, the world acclaimed 50m Turquoise, some 13 years ago. The fleet of completed yachts has grown steadily and the building sheds are occupied with several new-build yachts already signed to new owners.

Other than the quality and the competitive pricing, the style and sizes of all the yachts, either in the water or in the shed, the difference is exceptional. From superyachts in the 60 to 70m range, expedition yachts such as Leo Fun and Vinydrea and ‘new classics’ such as Vajoliroja have been delivered by the yard.

Mehmet Karabeyoglu says, 'I have known Hayati for over 40 years; our parents knew each other before that. I am shocked, but nothing will bring him back. Since 1997, we have been together building yachts and since then we have completed 18 boats. The boat I built on my own in 1993 was 50m Turquoise (now Double Trouble) and since then every other yacht was built by our partnership.' The yard’s latest delivery was the 72m Vicky, which went into the water on May 7.

'Of course, we will keep pushing ahead,' says Karabeyoglu. 'Beside him, his family was our partner and I have their backing to continue on building and expanding the shipyard and to build larger boats. The family believes in the future of yacht building; so we will continue as before. Sadly, now, I will need to do his part of the business as well.'

Boat international Media's CEO, Tony Harris, pays tribute saying, 'Hayati and Mehmet Karabeyoglu, together five years ago first proposed the idea of moving the World Superyacht Awards to Istanbul. They were very instrumental in making it happen and to making it the success we experienced last month.

'Hayati was one of the leading lights of the Turkish boatbuilding industry and worked hard to make Turkey one of the top tier boat building nations today. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and with the people of Proteksan Turquoise.'

Despite the tragic circumstances of his death Hayati Kamhi leaves behind a fine legacy.