In Antibes, “the port is very empty without the yachts of the Russians”, note regulars

The quay of billionaires in the port of Antibes, in the Alpes-Maritimes, has never been so badly named. Indeed, out of “the dozen yachts” usually moored there, only two are currently moored, according to an Antibois who has had a “small boat here forever”.

One of the reasons for this “desert”? The European Union’s response to the war in Ukraine and its decision to target the assets of Russian oligarchs close to the Kremlin. Russian ships have since been absent subscribers. the Dilbar for example, considered one of the largest yachts in the world, was officially seized by German authorities on Wednesday 13 April. It is owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s sister, Gulbakhor Ismailova. This mega yacht will not drop anchor in its home port, Port Vauban, where it has undertaken to occupy a place for ten years, for an amount of 27 million euros, according to information from Nice morning.

Owners of “wanted” yachts

In Antibes, the absence of this boat is noticeable, even if it does not change the daily life of the regulars of the port, such as the fishermen. “We could have a few customers in the summer, but it wasn’t very big,” says one of them. We know that this year, we will not see them. They are even “wanted“. But we don’t really worry about them. It’s mainly the stewardship societies that are going to be affected.”

A little further on, opposite the Billionaires’ Quay, a captain is cleaning the floor of his yacht. “I know that there are crews looking for work,” he says before continuing his mission. Some of these neighbors also polish the ships but “they are Italians”, therefore “not concerned by this news”.

Repercussions on the other occupants of the port?

On the other side of the port, an owner of a small fishing boat named “Chaika” hides the name on the tarpaulin. “When I bought it, it was already named like that,” he explains. It is the name of a bird in Russian. So it’s true that with everything that’s going on, I don’t show it proudly. “With friends, he is preparing to go to sea. “It is weird to see the port empty. There are only one or two left. He goes on: “Well, usually, we never see them. There are only people cleaning, but we never had any problems with them. »

A pensioner who also goes to his boat comments: “We wonder above all if there will not be repercussions on our rents”. He continues: “For years, the port has been increasing rents in a logic of scaring away the little ones and making room for the big ones. They may change their strategy with what is happening. »

No impact on the economy of the port according to its managers

There would be “for the moment” no repercussions on the economy of the Vauban port. It is the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), through its subsidiary Vauban 21, which manages it and which must pay 15 million euros each year to the city of Antibes. “Currently, these sanctions have no direct impact on the municipality. And the contract with the CCI was not called into question this year”, learned 20 minutes from consistent sources.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry specifies: “Not all Russians are blacklisted by the European Union and the United States. The proportion of Russian customers at Port Vauban is inversely proportional to the size of their boats. It barely represents 5% of Guaranteed Usage Contracts. Only the Dilbar actually seized on a construction site in Hamburg. No one can know today what the impact of the war will be on the attendance at the passage this summer. »

Before assuring that, for the moment, “reservation requests for super yachting and yachting are at the same level as last year, the forecasts are encouraging. Of course, everything can deteriorate quickly in the coming weeks with massive cancellations depending on the context. Conversely, the economic situation could remain at the same level as in other years. »

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