Ccourt in Most Western countries that have imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs have ordered the seizure of at least four of their luxury yachts: Amadeathis tangothis Meridian A and Amore Vero. But many more are in limbo, adding maintenance fees and port charges while under investigation. Some of their maintenance costs are ultimately paid for by taxpayers.
It turns out that it is easier for the government to stop a suspicious ship from leaving the port than to conclusively prove its ownership. Today, few suspicious vessels are foolish enough to fly the Russian flag, and many sanctioned oligarchs have long used front companies to hide their assets.
The U.S. government is studying how to sell the few yachts it has seized so far, hoping to use the money to fund war efforts or reconstruction in Ukraine. This is easier said than done.Alex Finley, ex CIA A military officer who has tracked suspicious yachts and is now a spy novelist said asset confiscation is an important tool in destabilizing Putin’s support network, and that “yachts are the biggest catch”.
Still, she noted, selling a $5 billion boat the size of a football field is no easy feat. There aren’t many potential buyers at all, and even fewer who might want to hang out at the former property of a Russian oligarch (and they can be pretty bad). Considering how quickly luxury yachts can break down without maintenance, many may end up being sold for a fraction of the price.
Frozen yachts have become a potential shipping hazard even where authorities have not imposed sanctions.The Antigua and Barbuda government announced in March that it would amend its laws to allow the sale of Alpha Neroa yacht subject to US sanctions, has been messing around in Falmouth Harbor since early 2022. Alpha Nero It is said to belong to Russian billionaire Andrei Guriev. But the ship appears to have been abandoned without payment for fuel, crew and general repairs. ■