Dutch government impounds 14 Russian yachts in shipyards

Dutch customs authorities have impounded 14 Russian-owned yachts in shipyards across the country, including 12 superyachts currently under construction, due to sanctions on Russia.

The yachts are barred from being formally delivered and handed over to the owners, and cannot leave the country, Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra says.

The shipyards implicated have been informed that final deliveries of the yachts are blocked while their ownership structures are being investigated. All shipyards are reportedly cooperating in full.

NOS also reports that more investigations are ongoing at fifteen shipyards and five yacht dealers.

Dutch public broadcaster NOS reports that Hoekstra has written a letter to the Dutch parliament, in response to criticism that the country has been slow to enact sanctions compared to its European counterparts.

The letter states that no Russian-owned superyachts over 35 metres are currently anchored in the Netherlands or in overseas Dutch territories, but that numerous Russian yachts are being serviced and built in the country, which is a global hub for superyacht servicing and shipbuilding.

Reuters reports Dutch chamber of commerce records show that major builders Heesen, Feadship, Damen Shipyards and Oceanco had combined sales of around €1.5 billion (US$1.66 billion) in 2020.

Twelve of the 14 impounded superyachts are under construction in five different shipyards, according to Hoekstra, while the other two are undergoing maintenance.

“For one of these yachts [under maintenance], the relationship with a person named on European sanctions lists is being examined,” Hoekstra’s letter says.

He adds that €516m in assets and €155m in transactions have been frozen in the Netherlands to date.

Read a round-up of all Russian yachts that have been sanctioned so far.

On Monday, former minister Stef Blok was appointed as the Netherlands’ sanction compliance coordinator. He will now supervise the freezing of Russian assets and seizure of Russian real estate and boats in the country.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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