By Charlotte Edwardes and Karl Schembri in Malta(Filed: 07/08/2005)
Anyone who has put petrol in a diesel engine will appreciate the mistake. But Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, may not be so understanding.
He was said this weekend to have been "disappointed" to learn that his £72 million yacht, Pelorus, had been filled with the "wrong type of fuel" while docked in Malta.
A single tank of fuel for the 377ft craft costs £120,000. The cost of removing the fuel - a lengthy process, which includes cleaning the engine - is considerably more. Yachting insiders last night put a figure of "at least £1 million, potentially as much as £7 million" on the repair costs.
Simon Borg Cordona, Mr Abramovich's Maltese agent, described the incident as "a disaster". He said: "The engineers discovered that the fuel that had been used was 'incompatible'. I cannot confirm what happened exactly, we still don't know. Definitely Mr Abramovich would have been inconvenienced."
The Pelorus, which is longer than Chelsea's Stamford Bridge pitch, is the world's fifth largest yacht.
Mr Abramovich had planned to fly to meet Pelorus in mid-July. It is understood he was bound for a family holiday with his wife, Irina, and five children but was forced to abandon plans while the damage was repaired.
They are believed to have flown instead to Sardinia. The boat followed the family there on July 28.
A spokesman for the Royal Yachting Association said it was not "a common mistake, but an expensive one".
Mr Abramovich, 38, is thought to be worth £7.5 billion. His Chelsea team play Arsenal in the Community Shield today.