International news have been reporting about how Russian oligarchs are moving their yachts outside of Europe in fear of sanctions and getting their yachts seized by authorities. As countries pose sanctions on Russian companies, some superyachts have already been seized in different countries.
Discover the Russian superyachts that have received economic sanctions or are being seized.
The German news broadcaster NDR announced that left wing German politicians demanded the seizure of the 156-metre Lürssen superyacht Dilbar. Some people sent messages within the nautical industry announcing it was arrested, but the German government has made the following statement:
“No yachts have been confiscated. A handover [of the yacht to its owner] is also currently not planned. No yacht is going to leave the port that is not allowed to do so.”
The sanction entitled “Treasury Sanctions Russians Bankrolling Putin and Russia-Backed Influence Actors”, it names Russian elites who continue to provide direct and indirect support to the Russian Government. The statement directly named the superyacht Dilbar, owned by Alisher Burhanovich. Also his business jet, number M-IABU with an estimated value of $350-500 million has been sanctioned.
Yacht Dilbar has been undergoing refits at Lürssen’s Hamburg since late October 2021. Although governments have put pressure on Russian businessmen by freezing their assets, it is still to be determined whether they hold the position to seize their assets.
According to Boat International, the Italian government has seized two superyachts: the 64 metre superyacht Lady M and the 40.8 metre Lena. The news have been confirmed by Ferdinando Guiugliano, media advisor to Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi. The yachts are linked to Alexey Mordashov (Lady M) and Gennady Timchenko (Lena).
The Italian shipyard Sanlorenzo, builder of Lena, has announced the following statement:
“The backlog amount as of 31 January 2022, equal to €1,002.6 million, related to customers of Russian nationality does not reach 10% of the total, spread over three financial years. The company also specifies that these are subjects not affected by international sanctions, whose payments are regular, and as of today no order has been cancelled.”
According to the news, the Guardia di Finanza spotted the vessels moored in the Italian Ligurian coastline. In a statement reported by Forbes and the Russian media, Mordashov has declined his involvement in Russian politics and has called for an end war in Ukraine.
French authorities have announced that the Oceanco superyacht, Amore Vero, has been seized in La Ciotat. This has been verified by the French Minister of Public Action and Accounts, Oliver Dussopt. He tweeted:
“As part of the implementation of European Union sanctions against Russia and in support of Ukraine, we seized a first yacht.”
Amore Vero is a motor yacht, 85.5m in length. Previously named St. Princess Olga, its exterior design was made by Lobanov Design and the naval architecture by Oceanco and Azure Yacht Design & Naval Architecture. It can welcome up to 14 guests and can reach a top speed of 18.5 kn.
While yacht seizures are not new, as they are regularly made to recover debts, these sanctions and seizures of Russian superyachts could get legally complicated.
In normal scenarios, owners continue to pay the crew and suppliers as usual, but according to Benjamin Maltby, partner at the UK-based Keystone Law and specialising in superyacht and luxury-asset law, this could be difficult or impossible if Russian yachts get impounded.
As the freezing of assets and Russian bank suspensions take place, suppliers might not be allowed to deal with the yacht’s owner, making it impossible to pay the yacht’s crew. Moreover, this could be tricky for the government, as for instance they must be in the country’s territorial water in order to take possession of them. This is the reason why superyachts are sailing to other destinies like the Maldives.