WATCH: Italians seize Superyacht A from Russian billionaire

Italian police have confiscated Russian-owned SY A in the port of Trieste. The circa $443m yacht is owned by billionaire Andrey Melnichenko who made a fortune in fertiliser production and coal.

Designed by Philippe Starck and built by Nobiskrug in Germany, SY A is the world’s biggest sailing yacht at 143m in length.

A statement from the Official Journal of the European Union described Melnichenko as belonging to the ‘most influential circle of Russian businesspeople with close connections to the Russian Government’, reports Sky News.

‘On 24 February 2022, in the aftermath of the initial stages of Russian aggression against Ukraine, Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, along with other 36 businesspeople, met with President Vladimir Putin and other members of the Russian government to discuss the impact of the course of action in the wake of Western sanctions,’ the statement says.

‘The fact that he was invited to attend this meeting shows that he is a member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin and that he is supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as stability and security in Ukraine.’

A spokesperson for Melnichenko says the businessman has “no relation to the tragic events in Ukraine and has no political affiliations.

“There is no justification whatsoever for placing him on the EU sanctions list.

“We will be disputing these baseless and unjustified sanctions, and believe that the rule of law and common sense will prevail.”

Roman Abramovich’s 533ft Solaris was seen on Saturday outside the Porto Montenegro marina in the coastal town of Tivat after arriving from Barcelona.

On Thursday, it was tracked off the coast of Sicily after reportedly undergoing repairs earlier in the week in Barcelona, one of a number of apparently hurried sailings of Russian billionaires moving their superyachts to avoid seizure. His other yacht, the more luxurious Eclipse, was on Thursday located to the west of the Canary Islands, according to The Guardian.

There was no immediate comment from the Montenegrin authorities on the arrival of the £460m vessel. The NATO country has joined Western sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Read Marine Industry News‘ coverage of marine industry developments post Russian’s invasion of Ukraine.

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