European airspace has long been closed to Russian aircraft, and many other countries have joined. For the private jets of the Russian elite, it’s getting pretty cramped “up there”. A Twitter account tracking oligarchs’ flights, only reports takeoffs and landings every few days. And the radius of movement on the world’s oceans is slowly shrinking as well. Because in the course of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, numerous oligarchs are personally sanctioned.
Among them big names like Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich, Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska, Igor Ivanovich Sechin, Leonid Viktorovich Michelson, Alexei Alexandrovich Mordashov, Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov and Andrei Igorevich Melnichenko. And it’s no secret: Among them are the owners of the largest and most expensive yachts in the world, who now fear for their treasures.
What to do with the pomp pots?
However, the ships have one thing in common: the so-called IMO number of the International Maritime Organization. This allows the yachts to be followed very closely, for example on sites such as marine traffic, vessel finder or vessel tracker. So hiding is very difficult – but so is confiscation.
Example “Dilbar” by Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov: One of the world’s largest and most expensive yachts is currently in Hamburg for maintenance. Nothing is happening in the Blohm & Voss dock at the moment. Norddeutscher Rundfunk recently reported that the crew had left the ship because the owner is currently not allowed to pay wages in US dollars. However, the ship is not confiscated. Nevertheless, she will not leave the port anytime soon: the Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin and the General Customs Directorate in Bonn would have to release the yacht before it leaves port.
First yachts confiscated, others flee
Things are looking worse for Igor Ivanovich Sechin, head of the Russian oil giant Rosneft: his yacht “Amore Vero” was confiscated in the port of La Ciotat, east of Marseille. It had been there for repair work since the beginning of January, until the hectic exit was suddenly prepared at the beginning of March. French authorities halted the departure and put the ship on a leash.
A similar scenario is now threatening the world’s largest sailing yacht “A” owned by the Russian billionaire Andrei Igorevich Melnichenko. He ended up on the EU sanctions list this week and his ship is currently in the port of Trieste for maintenance work. Possibly longer than the owner actually planned.
Perhaps for this reason, quite a few ships have moved remarkably often in the last few weeks. Both of Abramovich’s ships are currently on the open sea, Sergey Nikolayevich Galitsky’s “Quantum Blue” was recently in Monaco, now it is in Egypt. Many ships also sail through the atolls of the Maldives, along the Caribbean or in the waters off Dubai. The highlight: there are no sanctions.
+++ Also read: After a stay in Hamburg: Putin’s private yacht “Graceful” takes the fastest course to Kaliningrad +++
Putin left Hamburg in a hurry
Curiosities related to the yachts have abounded in recent weeks. The “Graceful”, Vladimir Putin’s yacht, was also in the port of Hamburg until a few weeks ago. Virtually at the same time as the attack on Ukraine began, the ship took the fastest route home to Kaliningrad.
Another ship, the Lady Anastasia, believed to belong to Russian arms manufacturer Alexander Mikheev, almost sank. A Ukrainian employee on board tried to flood the yacht in order to take revenge on his boss. Read more about it here.