Here are the Russian superyachts sanctioned so far

US$600m Sailing Yacht A was impounded at the Port of Trieste on 16 March

Numerous superyachts linked to Russian oligarchs have now been immobilised or detained across Europe, under sanctions levied in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

These are unprecedented times for the industry, and it remains to be seen what exactly will happen to the yachts that have been arrested so far. It’s understood that these vessels can retain a skeleton crew to provide essential upkeep and maintenance. However, it is illegal to engage in a financial transaction with a sanctioned individual, meaning that — when its owner is sanctioned — a vessel cannot engage in normal operation.

Many social media users are now taking a keen interest in the whereabouts of Russian-owned superyachts, with hashtags such as #Yachtwatch trending on Twitter, and numerous accounts, including Sanctions Ahoy! now dedicated to tracking their movements.

Here is a round-up of all the yachts that have so far been sanctioned, starting from the most recent:

14 April: Amadea

The 106-metre Lürssen superyacht Amadea, owned by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, is arrested by the Fijian Police Force two days after arriving in the country from Mexico. Kerimov is sanctioned by the United States, Britain and the European Union.

The yacht, which was reportedly attempting to refuel before going onto Vladivostok, had allegedly anchored within Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) before getting the necessary customs clearance. The crew were questioned in police custody over failure to secure correct customs clearances.

“Vessels that arrive in the Fiji EEZ must get their custom clearance first, which was allegedly breached by the yacht Amadea and is being investigated,” Brigadier-General Qiliho told the Fiji Sun.

Amadea is worth around US$325 million, and features a dedicated party deck with 20,000 watts of built-in speakers, plus lights and lasers.

6 April: The Netherlands impounds 14 yachts in shipyards

Dutch customs authorities impounded 14 Russian-owned yachts in shipyards across the country on 6 April, including 12 superyachts currently under construction.

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

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.

More investigations are ongoing at fifteen shipyards and five yacht dealers.

4 April: Tango

The 77.7m superyacht Tango was impounded at Real Club Nautico de Palma, in a maritime arrest conducted by Spanish law-enforcement agents at the request of the US Department of Justice. It is the first Russian-owned yacht that has been arrested by the United States.

The video seen above, published by Spain’s Guardia Civil, shows FBI agents boarding Tango, before removing documents and computer devices.

The DOJ has indicated that the yacht’s owner is Viktor Vekselberg, current head of Renova Group, who is on the US sanctions list. In an announcement after the arrest, the DOJ said Vekselberg previously obfuscated his ownership of Tango while paying for her support and maintenance in US dollars.

29 March: Phi

Phi in Canary Wharf. Photo courtesy of the National Crime Agency

The UK detained Russian-owned Phi in London’s Canary Wharf, just hours before it was set to leave the capital, following a superyacht awards ceremony. It was the first ship to be detained in the UK since sanctions were introduced.

The 58.5-metre Phi has a freshwater swimming pool and an “infinite wine cellar” according to the website of its builder Royal Huisman. It also has its own 36-metre shadow vessel.

The ownership of the £38m yacht was deliberately well hidden. The company the ship is registered to is based in the islands of St Kitts and Nevis and it carried Maltese flags to hide its origins.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the unnamed owner is not currently sanctioned but is a businessman who has “close connections” to Russian President Vladimir Putin. While initial reports in British outlets claimed the vessel is owned by Russian businessman Sergei Georgievich Naumenko, the Financial Times reports the ultimate owner is Vitaly Vasilievich Kochetkov, the founder of Motiv Telecom.

The Daily Mail reports a source claiming the boat had been impounded over concerns that a ‘pretend owner’ was being used to shield the ultimate owner.  

21 March: Axioma

The US$75m superyacht Axioma, reportedly owned by Dmitry Pumpyansky – owner and chairman of Russia’s largest steel and pipe manufacturer TMK, a supplier to state-owned energy company Gazprom – was seized by authorities in Gibraltar.

Pumpyansky was added to both UK and EU sanctions lists earlier this month. Footage broadcast by the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation shows the Axioma flying a Maltese flag while moored in Gibraltar. Reuters reports that the 72-metre vessel is owned by a British Virgin Islands holding company called Pyrene investments. Leaks in the Panama Papers have named Pumpyansky as a beneficiary of the holding.

In a statement, the Gibraltar government confirmed Axioma had arrived in port after asking permission to enter and “was confirmed to be the subject of an arrest action by a leading international bank in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar”.

16 March: Crescent

Crescent

Spanish authorities impounded the 135-metre megayacht Crescent, which is docked in the port of Tarragona. In a statement, Spain’s transport ministry said further actions are pending an inspection to establish its exact ownership. A police source told Reuters that Crescent is linked to Igor Sechin, the sanctioned chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft and former deputy prime minister of Russia.

It’s the second yacht linked to Sechin to be targeted, after French authorities seized 86-metre Oceanco superyacht Amore Veroearlier this month.

16 March: Royal Romance

The 92m Feadship superyacht Royal Romance, which is worth US$200m, was seized by Croatian authorities at the port of Rijeka. The vessel reportedly belongs to the Ukrainian billionaire and Kremlin-aligned lawyer Viktor Medvedchuk, who fled house arrest in Ukraine when the war began. Medvedchuk is the leader of Ukraine’s most prominent pro-Russia party and a close ally of Putin.

15 March: Lady Anastasia

Lady Anastasia

Spanish authorities reportedly detained Lady Anastasia, a £6.5million vessel reportedly owned by Russian oligarch Alexander Mikheyev. It is the same yacht that an irate Ukrainian crew member attempted to sink last month.

Mikheyev, who is under European Union sanctions, is the head of Russia’s defence import agency. A police source tells Reuters that the 48-metre yacht cannot leave a marina in Mallorca, where it is now moored.

14 March: Valerie

Valerie, a US$140 million superyacht reportedly linked to a Russian arms tycoon, was temporarily seized in Barcelona. 

Valerie is widely reported to be linked to Sergei Chemezov, the CEO of Rostec, a Russian state-owned defence conglomerate. Chemezov is understood to be a former KGB colleague of Russian President Vladimir Putin and is said to be a close ally of the president.

“Today we seized – the technical term is provisionally immobilised – a yacht belonging to one of the principal oligarchs,” said Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, speaking about Valerie on TV channel La Sexta. “We are talking about a yacht that we estimate is worth US$140m.” Sánchez added: “There will be more.” 

According to a listing on Dynamiq’s website, Valerie has a crew of 27, with space for 17 guests in nine “well-appointed” cabins. 

The Guardian reports a government source stating that the yacht will remain under detention while Spanish authorities confirm its ownership and whether they feature on any list of sanctions targets.

12 March: Sailing Yacht A

Philippe Starck-designed Sailing Yacht A is owned by oligarch Andrey Melnichenko

Italy’s finance police seized the world’s largest sail-assisted superyacht, Sailing Yacht A, which is owned by Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko. The 143m vessel, which has an estimated value of US$578 million, was impounded at the Port of Trieste, according to a statement from the Guardia di Finanzia.

The Philippe Starck-designed Sailing Yacht A is among the most distinctive yachts ever built. 

7 March: Dilbar

The crew of the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s superyacht, Dilbar, was dismissed after the imposing of western sanctions made the payment of wages difficult, according to reports circulated in March.

Valued at US$600m, Dilbar is considered the largest yacht in the world by gross tonnage and now lies in the German port city of Hamburg.

Dilbar has been declared ‘blocked property’

While the yacht has not technically been seized, the US has declared Dilbar “blocked property.” This prohibits US staff from working on the vessel and bans any payment for its docking fees in US dollars. 

Usmanov, whose net worth is an estimated US$18.4 billion, was sanctioned by the EU, US, and UK earlier this month. 

“We have tried all avenues to find a solution to keep the team in place, and protect our positions, but have reached the end of the road of possibilities,” Tim Armstrong, Dilbar’s captain, wrote in a message to the crew, according to Bloomberg.

Update: On 12 April, German authorities formally impounded Dilbar. Germany’s federal police stated “through extensive investigations despite offshore concealment,” it concluded that the yacht is owned by Gulbakhor Ismailova, the sister of Alisher Usmanov. The yacht is being held in the Port of Hamburg in Germany.

5 March: Lena

Italian police seized 40.8-metre Sanlorenzo superyacht Lena while moored in Portosole Sanremo. Ferdinando Giugliano, media advisor to Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi, has linked the yacht to Gennady Timchenko. Timchenko, the founder of private investment group Volga Group in Russia and shareholder of Bank Rossiya, is named on the UK, EU and US lists of sanctioned individuals. 

4 March: Lady M

Lady M has been impounded in Imperia, Italy

Italian police impounded the 65-metre Lady M in the northern Italian port of Imperia, according to reports. The Palmer Johnson-built superyacht is understood to be owned by Alexey Mordashov, the main shareholder and chairman of steel mining company Severstal and the richest man in Russia. Mordashov was blacklisted this month by the European Union in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. 

https://twitter.com/Sy_snipr/status/1500633663972818945

3 March: Amore Vero

Amore Vero

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire confirmed authorities had seized 86-metre Oceanco superyacht Amore Vero, another yacht linked to Igor Sechin, in the port of La Ciotat — the first superyacht to be seized in Europe. 

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One response to “Here are the Russian superyachts sanctioned so far”

  1. John says:

    The Royal Romance left Rijeka last week, around 22 March. It headed south but turned off its beacon near Split. It maybe the authorities have allowed it to move to a more secure port, but it’s not clear. If anyone has any news, please share.

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