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Russian Superyachts Find Safe Haven in Turkey, Raising Concerns in Washington

Turkey’s welcoming ports are symptoms of a much larger problem: evasion of U.S. sanctions against Russia.

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By Elif Ince ,  Michael Forsythe and Carlotta Gall

PORT AZURE, Turkey — On a hot August evening at a marina on Turkey’s southern coast, the crew of the Flying Fox was hard at work, keeping the 446-foot superyacht immaculate for future guests willing to pay $3 million a week. One crew member leaned over the railing at the stern, wiping the highly polished surface next to the ship’s nameplate. Another was busy with a squeegee, cleaning glass.

The Flying Fox, the world’s biggest yacht available for charter, played host last year to Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who skipped the Met Gala in New York to cruise the Mediterranean and enjoy the vessel’s over-the-top amenities: a 4,300-square-foot wellness center with a Turkish bath and a fully equipped beauty spa, among many others.

Then Russia invaded Ukraine. Since then, the Flying Fox has been caught up in the dragnet of international sanctions designed to hobble the lifestyles of the oligarchs who help sustain President Vladimir V. Putin’s rule.

Yet, while some superyachts owned by or linked to Russian oligarchs facing sanctions have been seized in ports around the world, the Flying Fox and others caught up in the broader Russia penalties have found safe haven in Turkey, the only NATO member not to impose sanctions on Russia.

The flotilla of Russian superyachts in Turkish waters is raising tensions with the United States, which sees Turkey’s welcoming of the vessels as a symptom of the much larger problem: Russia’s access to Turkey’s financial system, potentially undermining Western sanctions.

Turkey’s strongman leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has criticized Western sanctions against Russia, said in March that Turkey could not impose sanctions because of its energy needs and industry deals. “There is nothing to be done there,” he said.

In all, at least 32 yachts tied to oligarchs and sanctioned entities have sheltered in the country’s waters in recent months, able to move about or moor in its picturesque coves and bays without fear of seizure, according to a New York Times analysis. Ownership records of superyachts for the ultrawealthy are notorious for being hidden behind layers of shell companies. The Times analysis was constructed with news accounts linking Russian oligarchs to particular yachts that were then matched with vessel positions available on commercial sites such as MarineTraffic . In many instances, the yachts were spotted in Turkish waters by a Times reporter.

On Aug. 19, the Treasury Department issued a statement saying that the deputy treasury secretary, Wally Adeyemo, had told a Turkish official that the United States was concerned about Russians using Turkey to evade sanctions.

Three days later, Mr. Adeyemo sent a letter to Turkish business groups warning of penalties if they worked with Russian individuals or entities facing sanctions. Turkish banks, he added, risked losing vital correspondent relationships with global banks — and even access to the U.S. dollar — if they did business with sanctioned Russian banks.

In September, several Turkish banks stopped accepting the Mir payment system — the Russian equivalent of Visa or MasterCard. Their actions came after the United States warned that financial institutions expanding the use of Mir or entering into new agreements risked running afoul of American sanctions against Russia.

Nevertheless, Turkish marinas continue to service sanctioned Russians and their superyachts.

The warm turquoise waters, secluded beaches and trendy establishments of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast have long made it a popular and convenient destination for Russian yacht owners and charterers during the summer. Local restaurant menus are printed in three languages: Turkish, English and Russian.

In June, the Flying Fox was singled out by the United States as “ blocked property ” and its management company, Imperial Yachts, was also sanctioned. Nevertheless, the Flying Fox has been moored since at least May at Port Azure, a marina in the posh resort town of Göcek. Other superyachts there owned by or linked to sanctioned Russians have been cruising from one postcard-worthy cove to another in the area.

The town’s polluted waters are unsuitable for swimming, an attractive feature for superyacht owners because it keeps away crowds and unwanted publicity. And the vessels can easily steam to pristine waters nearby. If the pampered guests have any unfulfilled needs, small boats roam around the harbor, selling groceries, ice cream, Turkish crepes and even massages.

Port Azure, touted as the first “mega-yacht-only marina” in Turkey, was opened last year by STFA, one of Turkey’s biggest conglomerates. The marina , which prides itself on its website as being a “haven” that makes “problems big and small go away,” has hosted at least eight yachts linked to Russian oligarchs or sanctioned companies this past summer, the Times analysis found.

On June 1, a Turkish yacht broker posted on Instagram a video taken at Port Azure showing a lineup of five yachts collectively worth almost $1 billion, including the Flying Fox; the Lana, recently listed at $1.8 million a week for charter by Imperial; and the Galactica Super Nova, linked to Vagit Alekperov, a sanctioned Putin ally, according to news media reports.

As of Oct. 20 there were at least 13 yachts in Turkey linked to sanctions, the Times analysis found. Of those, four were owned by or linked to sanctioned individuals and nine have recently been offered for charter by Imperial, the sanctioned Monaco-based company.

A spokeswoman for Imperial Yachts said that after the firm was sanctioned in June, its clients terminated their contracts with the company and that it “no longer manages or charters” any of the yachts in Turkish waters.

But until late August, Imperial advertised yachts for charter and for sale on its website, including yachts in Turkish waters. After an inquiry by The Times, the listings were removed from Imperial’s website, which now displays only a notice announcing that the company had been sanctioned. The company spokeswoman said that it had “kept its other pages alive as a reflection of its former brand.”

“During the time that the other website pages were visible, Imperial did not engage in any business engagements,” Imperial said in response to emailed questions.

Roman Abramovich, the most visible Russian oligarch recently seen in Turkey, does not use Imperial Yachts to manage the construction of his opulent yachts or staff them after they are put to sea. Four yachts owned by or linked to Mr. Abramovich, who has been sanctioned by Britain and the European Union, the Times analysis shows, were in Turkey in August.

Should the United States choose, it has tools at its disposal to enforce its sanctions on the Russian oligarchs, even if their vessels are in Turkish waters and even if the Turkish government is unwilling to cooperate, said Daniel Tannebaum, a former sanctions official who served at the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

One way, he said, would be to place sanctions on companies that service the oligarchs’ yachts in Turkey — the marinas, caterers and fueling companies. In that case, not just Russian yacht owners but also the many American yacht owners now in Turkish waters would have to take their business elsewhere, while the banks that do business with these companies might close their accounts so as to avoid becoming a target.

Superyachts are a significant source of income for the marinas, as well as other businesses in the area. In one example, Turkish news media outlets reported in April that Mr. Abramovich’s biggest yacht, the 533-foot-long Eclipse, ran up a fuel bill of $1.66 million in the port town of Marmaris. Its tanks took 22 hours to fill.

One of the four superyachts linked to Mr. Abramovich, the 460-foot Solaris, is moored in the Yalıkavak Marina in Bodrum, a trendy resort town in Turkey’s south. While lying idle, it still has 20 crew members who make trips every day to provision it, supply it with water and electricity and dispose of its waste, according to a port employee with direct knowledge of the matter, who spoke anonymously because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Solaris also receives a truckload of food every week through a catering company, he said, adding: “Twenty cases of asparagus — what would you do with so much asparagus?”

Yalıkavak is Turkey’s most luxurious marina, with stores like Prada, Louis Vuitton and Valentino on a promenade lined with palm trees overlooking the harbor. At least three yachts recently offered for charter by Imperial, the sanctioned management company, and three other yachts owned by or linked to oligarchs moored at Yalıkavak Marina this summer, the Times analysis shows.

In an emailed statement, the marina said that even though Turkey has not adopted sanctions, because it recognizes “international concerns,” the Solaris has been kept outside the marina’s boundaries. As for the vessels associated with Imperial Yachts, the marina said that it did not know, as the summer is “quite a busy time” and that it didn’t have a system in place to check whether an individual yacht might fall under international sanctions.

In August, the Eclipse, one of the yachts linked to Mr. Abramovich, was anchored in the middle of the bay off Göcek, a three-and-a-half-hour drive down the coast from Yalıkavak.

On an early morning in August, Ömer Kırpat, 56, was fishing on the shore in Göcek, sitting under a willow tree overlooking the yachts.

“The bells aren’t jingling,” he said, pointing to the bells attached to his rods to alert him when the fish bite. He showed his bucket with one lone fish inside, explaining that the fish avoid the shore because of pollution and noise from the boats.

Port Azure, the Göcek marina hosting the Flying Fox, was built over the port of a state-owned paper factory where Mr. Kırpat worked for 13 years as a security guard until it was privatized in 2001. He used to go there to swim, fish and have picnics every weekend with other factory workers and their families. “It was sparkly clean,” he said. “We caught the biggest fish there.”

He tried to go into Port Azure last year but was chased away. “We’re banned,” he said. “Soon they won’t even allow us to look inside. It’s heartbreaking.”

Michael Forsythe is a reporter on the investigations team. He was previously a correspondent in Hong Kong, covering the intersection of money and politics in China. He has also worked at Bloomberg News and is a United States Navy veteran. More about Michael Forsythe

Carlotta Gall is a senior correspondent currently covering the war in Ukraine. She previously was Istanbul bureau chief, covered the aftershocks of the Arab Spring from Tunisia, and reported from the Balkans during the war in Kosovo and Serbia, and from Afghanistan and Pakistan after 2001. She was on a team that won a 2009 Pulitzer Prize for reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan. More about Carlotta Gall

Our Coverage of the War in Ukraine

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President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea ’s leader, Kim Jong-un, revived a Cold War-era mutual defense pledge between their nations, signing a new agreement that calls for them to assist each other  in the event of “aggression” against either country.

President Biden and the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that a record number of allies were meeting their military spending commitments  as they sought to present a united front against Russia.

Scores of countries at a two-day summit in Switzerland joined Ukraine in calling for “dialogue between all parties” to end the war , but world leaders were divided on how to engage Russia.

Narrowing Press Freedoms: Journalists in Ukraine say they are subject to increasing restrictions and pressure from the government , adding that the measures go beyond wartime security needs.

Images From the Border: Photographs from two trips along Ukraine’s northeastern border regions, in the months before Russia renewed an offensive there, reveal loss and transformation .

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Luxurylaunches -

Sanctioned billionaire Roman Abramovich has very cleverly saved his prized megayachts Eclipse and Solaris from being seized by authorities. But his luck may have finally run out as his $1.3 billion armada may soon be banned from sailing the high seas.

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That’s not all; $ 610 million Solaris and $590 million Eclipse will also be left stranded without services, meaning these multi-million megayachts won’t be able to get shore-side help for routine maintenance will they get refueled. The rues of Abramovich’s frustrated staff is an entirely different problem that keeps getting complicated. The most expensive custom-made superyacht Solaris requires no less than a crew of 60 for its upkeep. On the other hand, Eclipse required a staff of 100 onboard at the service of 30 guests.

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Roman Abramovich’s $1bn five-yacht fleet revealed

The luxury yacht Eclipse moored off Marmaris in Turkey.

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Robert Smith , Cynthia O’Murchu and Arash Massoudi in London and Max Seddon in Riga

Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.

Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich owns or is linked to a collection of five yachts estimated to be worth almost $1bn, including several vessels whose ownership remained secret until this week.

A Financial Times investigation into the billionaire’s assets has lifted the veil of secrecy he maintains over his wealth, even after the UK and EU imposed sanctions on him following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for his allegedly close relationship with President Vladimir Putin.

Authorities in the UK and EU are attempting to identify all of the assets owned by sanctioned oligarchs. Abramovich was already widely reported to be the owner of Solaris and Eclipse — worth $474mn and $437mn, respectively, according to yacht data service VesselsValue. But the FT revealed this week that he also owns Halo and Garçon, which are both moored in Antigua.

The Antiguan government was unaware of the ownership of the boats docked on the island before inquiries from the FT, highlighting the scale of the challenge UK and EU authorities face in enforcing sanctions.

Tom Keatinge, director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute think-tank said governments, banks and other institutions trying to enforce sanctions had to navigate a world where “ownership trails run cold and morph into a haze of front companies, nominees and cut-outs”.

The yacht Amore Vero after being impounded by French authorities in La Ciotat, France.

Halo and Garçon are valued at $38mn and $20mn, respectively, and are now at risk of being seized.

In a letter to the British high commissioner to Barbados regarding the yachts, Antiguan minister of foreign affairs Paul Chet Greene said the island would “provide full assistance to the government of the United Kingdom” if it receives a request under the two nations’ Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.

The letter noted that Antigua had requested information on the company that owns the two boats — British Virgin Islands-registered Wenham Overseas Limited — after “persistent allegations by the Financial Times that the vessels could be owned by Mr Roman Abramovich”.

In response, the British high commission provided Antiguan authorities with a letter, seen by the FT, “from the Financial Investigation Agency of the British Virgin Islands which states the beneficial owner of Wenham Overseas Ltd is Roman Abramovich”.

The letter also shows the billionaire’s address in Switzerland is listed simply as “Immeuble, Gatzby Le Magnifique”, which translates as “The Great Gatsby Building”.

Keatinge described the UK’s ability to demand full ownership information of companies registered in any of its overseas territories or crown dependencies as its “most powerful global weapon” in combating financial secrecy.

However, he asked: “How much is that weapon being used?”

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps with the impounded Russian-owned yacht Phi in Canary Wharf, east London.

A person with knowledge of Abramovich’s boat collection and documents seen by the FT indicate that the oligarch may also still be the owner of Sussurro, the first yacht he bought in 1998, despite reports he had given it to an ex-wife in a divorce.

The person who correctly identified the two yachts in Antigua as belonging to Abramovich told the FT the oligarch still owned Sussurro.

The vessel’s owner is listed in maritime registers as Vesuvius International Limited in the British Virgin Islands. BVI documents show this company was deregistered there in 2017. Another Vesuvius International was registered in Jersey the same year.

The owner of Jersey-based Vesuvius International is listed as Wotton Overseas Holdings Limited. This entity — which shifted from the BVI to Jersey in 2017 — is also the owner through a subsidiary of a helicopter that has been photographed landing on Abramovich’s Solaris several times.

Maritime tracking services show Sussurro, which means “whisper” in Italian and is valued at $11mn, is moored in La Ciotat in the south of France — the same port where the French government last month seized a $116mn superyacht belonging to a company tied to Igor Sechin, head of Russian oil group Rosneft.

Sussurro’s management company is Blue Ocean Management, a Cyprus-based company that also manages Le Grand Bleu, a 113-metre superyacht that Abramovich reportedly gave to his business associate Eugene Shvidler.

The UK placed Shvidler under sanctions last week.

The letter from the BVI’s financial investigation agency to its British counterparts also reveals that the owner of Le Grand Blue — Ashchurch Holdings Limited — is owned by “Zarui Shvidler”. Shvidler’s wife is commonly known as Zara Shvidler.

VesselsValue pegged Le Grand Bleu’s market value in a range of $110mn-$130mn, noting that the boat had last been tracked this week in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Representatives for Abramovich and Shvidler did not respond to requests for comment.

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What Happens After a Superyacht Is Seized? It’s Uncharted Territory.

It's one thing to confiscate a yacht, another to sell it. analysts expect legal battles and hefty maintenance costs while the vessels are impounded., jaclyn trop, jaclyn trop's most recent stories.

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Russian Oligarch Yachts Are Being Seized But It's Not Clear About their Legal Ramifications

Six weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, authorities are detaining more luxury yachts in global ports than ever. This week’s tally includes 12 vessels under construction in The Netherlands —the world’s foremost superyacht builder—and a $120 million yacht seized in Spanish waters on an FBI warrant.

The US Department of Justice worked with Spanish authorities to capture the 255-foot Tango , owned by Motiv Telecom founder Viktor Vekselberg. The US has joined a growing number of countries detaining superyachts suspected of belonging to businessmen connected to Vladimir Putin.

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“ Tango is not the first time the United States has ever asked a foreign government to assist in executing a warrant,” said Stefan Cassella, a lawyer who served as Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland. “But it does seem to be the first time it’s happened in the context of property belonging to a Russian oligarch who was evading sanctions.”

Russian Oligarch Yachts Are Being Seized But It's Not Clear About their Legal Ramifications

Yacht seizures have been targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cronies, and Putin himself. It’s rumored that he owns the $700-million Scheherazade, which is being held by Italian authorities.  Courtesy AP/Sputnik

US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said on Monday that Tango “will not be the last” yacht belonging to members of Putin’s inner circle to be confiscated.

Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Finland and The Netherlands have detained over the last month billions of dollars in vessels believed to be owned by sanctioned Russians. Last week, the UK government seized its first superyacht, the 192-foot, $45 million Phi   in London’s Canary Wharf.

“The current situation is unprecedented,” Benjamin Maltby, partner at Keystone Law in the UK and an expert in yacht and luxury-asset law, told Robb Report.

Russian Oligarch Yachts Are Being Seized But It's Not Clear About their Legal Ramifications

The 433-foot Crescent was seized on March 17 by Spanish authorities.  Courtesy Sipa USA via AP

Most large yachts are registered by offshore corporations in island tax havens to obscure their ownership. “If the owner wants to make it difficult, then it can be very hard to trace,” Maltby said . Owners often use shareholders, directors and family members as proxies. The Phi , for example, is registered to a company based in the Caribbean but flies the Maltese flag.

The multinational effort to seize oligarch-owned yachts—which often come with swimming pools, helipads, and millions of dollars in annual maintenance fees—is expected to put economic pressure on Putin and his allies. Owning a superyacht, the ultimate status symbol, is practically a prerequisite for joining Russia’s oligarchy.

But there are multiple legal considerations. Freezing a yacht means that the owner can’t sell the ship or transfer ownership, or provide maintenance services. However, the sanctions don’t allow countries to take ownership of oligarch-owned yachts, giving rise to uncertainties over the fates of the superyachts accumulating in shipyards throughout Europe.

Russian Oligarch Yachts Are Being Seized But It's Not Clear About their Legal Ramifications

The seizure of Tango on Monday involved Spanish authorities working with FBI agents. The US seized the yacht after connecting it to Putin crony Viktor Vekselberg.  Courtesy AP/Francisco Ubilla

Maintaining a yacht is an expensive endeavor because it is continually exposed to the elements. “A vessel is treated very much like a person or corporation,” Michael Karcher, a maritime lawyer with Robert Allen Law in Miami, told Robb Report. “The boat can run up its own bills. Then, if the yacht is in someone’s boatyard, there’s the question of ‘Can we do any business with them?’”

The ripple effect extends to caterers, yacht brokers, mortgage and insurance companies, and dozens of other industries connected to the yacht’s operation and maintenance.

“When a yacht is seized while in a yard, the owner will remain liable for the maintenance costs,” Maltby said. “But if the owner is unable to pay, the yard is left in a difficult position.”

Russian Oligarch Yachts Are Being Seized But It's Not Clear About their Legal Ramifications

Equanimity was seized by Malaysia and sold off in 2019 for half of its value. But the yachting world has never seen anything like the mass seizures taking place with the Russian oligarchs.  Courtesy AP

The situation remains unclear for the shipyards and marinas docking the yachts.

Karcher said that he receives calls from shipyards each time the Treasury Department sends a new round of sanctioned names, asking whether they’ve dealt with anyone on the list. “Some are saying, ‘Hey, who is this guy.’ Then they realize there’s this boat taking up a few hundred feet of dock space. ‘Who’s going to pay for it?’”

The answer may vary by jurisdiction.

Russian Oligarch Yachts Are Being Seized But It's Not Clear About their Legal Ramifications

Roman Abramovich, who was in Turkey earlier this week to observe the peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. His $600 million Solaris set sail from Istanbul for international waters this week, while his other yacht Eclipse remains in that country. Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the Maldives are not seizing the Russian oligarchs’ yachts, so many targeted vessels have moved into those waters.  Courtesy AP

The British government has said that Phi ’s owner will be held responsible for all maintenance costs while the boat is ordered to remain at Canary Wharf in London’s docklands. One legal expert said Spanish authorities are likely to maintain Tango while in their custody.

But at most marinas, “yard invoices are indeed just stacking up—unpaid and un-payable,” Maltby said. “Yet the judicial mechanisms for liquidation remain in place. Will we see some bargains coming onto the market in the summer months?”

Many analysts expect protracted lawsuits. “The United States and Western countries have considerable authority to seize property, but less authority to keep it,” wrote Jonathan Turley in USA Today . “The reason is that, unlike Russia, these countries are bound by property rights and rules of due process.”

Russian Oligarch Yachts Are Being Seized But It's Not Clear About their Legal Ramifications

Lady M was seized by Italian tax authorities on March 5. Owner Alexei Mordashov is on the sanctions list.  Courtesy AP

To take ownership of an oligarch’s yacht, governments have to show that the property was part of a crime. Turley wrote that it may be challenging for prosecutors to prove that the yachts are the result of “proceeds of illegal activity” rather than purchased via legitimate business channels. The seizures could take years in the courts to sort out.

For the moment, the yacht confiscations and freezing of assets seem to be accelerating. The list of detained superyachts include the $580 million Sailing Yacht A owned by coal and fertilizer magnet Andrey Melnichenko; the $153 million Valerie belonging to Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Russian state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec; and t he $120 million Amore Vero linked to Russian oligarch Igor Sechin.

Others are under the watchful eye of the US, UK, and EU, as well as amateurs watching VesselFinder ,  MarineTraffic , and other location-monitoring apps.

Russian Oligarch Yachts Are Being Seized But It's Not Clear About their Legal Ramifications

Town residents in La Ciotat, France, look at the impounded Amore Vera , owned by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.  Courtesy AP

On Monday, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich moved his $600 million Solaris from a Turkish port and into international waters. His $1.5 billion Eclipse , one of the world’s longest and most expensive superyachts, remains docked off the coast of Turkey. Abramovich is believed to own several other yachts as well.

Meanwhile, police in Italy are investigating the Scheherazade , a 460-foot superyacht thought to belong to Vladimir Putin that remains docked at a Tuscan resort.

No yachts have been seized in US waters, but the Biden administration has taken aggressive measures to punish Russians who have benefitted from “ill-begotten gains,” as President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address last month.

Russian Oligarch Yachts Are Being Seized But It's Not Clear About their Legal Ramifications

Seizing a yacht is easy, selling it is much more complicated. Analysts expect many legal battles over the yachts.  Courtesy AP

Authorities say many yachts remain in international waters or docked in countries that have not imposed sanctions , such as the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and the Maldives.

That island nation is said to have a half-dozen Russian-owned superyachts in its waters, including Andrey Melnichenko’s 390-foot Motor Yacht A . The country’s chief prosecutor, Hussain Shameem, told Reuters that the idea of confiscating a Russian superyacht was “far-fetched” because of the country’s rudimentary legal system and lack of a military.

Congress is considering a bi-partisan bill called “Yachts for Ukraine” that would allow authorities to seize Russian-owned assets of $5 million or more. The bill permits the government to sell the assets and send the cash to aid humanitarian and reconstruction efforts in Ukraine. The Department of Justice also announced a $5 million reward for tips leading to yacht owners on the sanctions list, but so far has not disbursed any reward money.

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Second Abramovich superyacht docks in sanctions-free Turkey

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The Eclipse superyacht is seen at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach, Florida

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A $700 million superyacht owned by the sanctioned oligarch Roman Abramovich is sailing toward his other $600 million vessel in the Mediterranean

  • Two superyachts owned by the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich are sailing around the Mediterranean.
  • Abramovich's Eclipse is heading in the direction of his Solaris yacht, ship-tracking data shows.
  • There was no destination port for either superyacht listed on MarineTraffic's website.

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A $700 million superyacht belonging to the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich seems to be heading toward his other $600 million vessel in the Mediterranean Sea, ship-tracking data shows.

MarineTraffic's map suggests that if the two superyachts keep on their current courses, they would eventually meet in the Ionian Sea, a part of the Mediterranean separating Greece and Italy.

Eclipse, Abramovich's 533-foot superyacht, was just off the coast of Algeria on Tuesday, sailing east across the Mediterranean Sea, MarineTraffic data indicated . The ship — worth $700 million, according to SuperYacht Fan — has been underway from St. Martin in the Caribbean since February 21, the data shows.

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Abramovich's 460-foot vessel, Solaris, which was off the eastern coast of Italy on Friday, was between the coasts of southeastern Italy and Albania on Tuesday, MarineTraffic data indicated . The website showed Solaris moving south.

Some Russian oligarchs and billionaires believed to have close ties to President Vladimir Putin — including Abramovich — are moving themselves, their yachts , and their private jets in the wake of sanctions announced by international governments. Their assets could be seized as part of measures aimed at the Russian elite in response to Moscow's decision to invade Ukraine.

Abramovich is one of seven Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the UK on Thursday. The sanctions include freezing their assets and barring them from doing business with the country.

Other jurisdictions, including the European Union, have announced similar sanctions. Spanish authorities said on Monday that they had seized a $153 million superyacht that was later linked to the Russian oligarch Sergei Chemezov, the CEO of the Russian state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec and a close ally of Putin.

There was no destination port for Eclipse or Solaris listed on MarineTraffic's website, so it's unclear where Abramovich's superyachts will dock next. Solaris — worth $600 million, according to SuperYacht Fan — had been docked in a Spanish shipyard since late 2021 for repairs until it departed last week.

Reuters first reported that Abramovich was spotted in a VIP lounge at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel on Monday — the same day that flight-tracking data indicated a private jet linked to him flew from Israel to Istanbul. It was unclear whether Abramovich was on the plane, Reuters reported.

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eclipse yacht sanctions

Alexei Mordashov - Lady M - £20m

The Lady M superyacht belonging to Russia’s richest man, Alexei Mordashov, was seized by Italian authorities earlier this month.

The 65m boat was seized at the northern Italian port of Imperia.

Mordashov is under EU sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The EU called him the “personal bank” of the senior officials who benefited from Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

He is the chairman of Severstal, Russia’s largest steel and mining company.

According to Forbes, he has a net worth of about £22bn.

Gennady Timchenko - Lena - £6m

The 40m long superyacht Lena, belonging to billionaire Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, was seized in the Italian port city of Sanremo earlier this month.

Timchenko was placed under EU sanctions and UK sanctions last month. He is a close friend of Putin, who gave him an oil export licence in 1991.

Igor Sechin - Amore Vero - £91m

Earlier this month, French authorities seized the 85m long Amore Vero superyacht belonging to Igor Sechin, a long-time confidante of Putin’s.

Nicknamed “Darth Vader”, Sechin served as Russia’s deputy prime minister from 2008 to 2012 and now runs the management board of oil company Rosneft.

The EU sanctioned Sechin last month and had his assets frozen. The UK has also imposed sanctions on Sechin.

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Russian oligarch stashes second yacht in Turkey, apparently to beat Ukraine-linked sanctions

March 22, 2022 / 7:55 AM EDT / CBS/AP

Ankara, Turkey — A second superyacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in a resort in southwestern Turkey - a country that's not applying sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine , Turkish media reports said Tuesday.

The private DHA news agency said the Bermuda-registered Eclipse docked at a port in the resort of Marmaris amid international efforts to freeze assets belonging to top Russian businessmen linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A day earlier, Abramovich's Bermuda-flagged luxury yacht My Solaris arrived in the nearby resort of Bodrum, triggering a protest by a group of Ukrainians who boarded a small motor boat and tried to prevent the yacht from docking.

Last week, the European Union updated a list of individuals facing asset freezes and travel bans over their ties to the Kremlin and began imposing sanctions on Abramovich. The 55-year-old had already been punished in Britain.

TURKEY-RUSSIA-UKRAINE-CONFLICT

NATO-member Turkey has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It has criticized Moscow's invasion of Ukraine but has also positioned itself as a neutral party trying to mediate between the two.

Abramovich announced earlier this month that he's selling the Chelsea club. Abramovich said the sale won't "be fast-tracked but will follow due process" and that the net proceeds will go to victims in Ukraine.

FILE PHOTO: Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich arrives at a division of the High Court in central London

"This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club," he said. 

Forbes has valued Abramovich's net worth  at $12.4 billion  while Chelsea was worth an  estimated $3.2 billion  in 2021. The 55-year-old, who was once Russia's richest man, said he will set up a foundation to which net proceeds from the sale will be donated.

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The World’s Most Expensive Yachts—Including Some That Cost Billions

By Brett Berk

most expensive yachts

Though superyachts are already among the most costly consumer items available, the prices of the most expensive yachts in the world are still astounding. In recent decades, those with money to burn have settled on these floating palaces as an ideal locus for demonstrating their prosperity, and, as such, the global luxury yacht industry is undergoing a golden age. The world’s überwealthy think of their motor yachts as toys, and they’re constantly trying to outdo each other in scale, design, amenities, materials, and sheer profligacy.

Knowing this, what features does it take to own one of the most expensive yachts in existence? And how much do these opulent vessels actually cost? To that end, AD has compiled a list of the five priciest superyachts currently out on the water. As with many things connected to the very wealthy, details are shrouded in secrecy—often intentionally—to shield the assets from taxation or seizure, or to protect privacy.

Below, dive into the five reportedly most expensive yachts in the world.

5. Dubai ($400 million)

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Yacht and Boat

This 531-foot yacht is reportedly owned by United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai. Though it was originally planned for another Middle Eastern potentate, Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, he suddenly voided the contract in 2001. With exteriors designed by Andrew Winch and interiors by Platinum Yachts, this German-built Blohm + Voss vessel features several Jacuzzis, a pool inlaid with handmade mosaic tiles that is reportedly large enough to hold 115 people, a circular staircase, a discotheque with an appropriately sized dance floor, squash courts, a movie theater, a dining room for 90 guests (the other 25 presumably have to eat in the pool?), a helipad, and a submarine.

4. Topaz ($527 million)

most expensive yacht

Resembling a stealth bomber, this 483-foot ship is reportedly owned by Russian fertilizer and coal oligarch Andrey Melnichenko. With exteriors by Tim Heywood Design Ltd. and interior designs by Terence Disdale Design, this German-built Lürssen Yacht features a 2,500-square-foot primary bedroom, six guest suites (with moveable walls so they can be transformed into four grand staterooms), glassware and tableware fashioned from French crystal, a helicopter hangar, a 30-foot speedboat tender, and three swimming pools, including one with a glass-bottom dangling menacingly above a disco.

3. Azzam ($600 million)

most expensive yachts

This 590-foot ship is currently thought to be the largest private yacht in the world and one of the fastest, with a top speed of 35 miles per hour. To achieve this immense scale and speed, it required a pair of gas turbines and two stratospherically potent diesel engines, rendering it very difficult to build. It is reportedly owned by a member of the royal family of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. With exteriors by Nauta Yacht and interiors by French decorator Cristophe Leoni, this yacht was also built by Lürssen in Germany. The vessel is set apart by its early 19th-century Empire-style veneered furniture, as well as its state-of-the-art security systems, including a fully bulletproof primary suite and a high-tech missile deterrence capabilities.

2. Eclipse ($1.5 billion)

most expensive yachts

In addition to being the second-costliest, this 533-footer is thought to be the world’s second-largest private yacht. Owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich , the ship was claimed to be located in Turkey and may be impounded as part of the United Kingdom’s sanctions against Russia. Designed by Terry Disdale and built by Blohm + Voss, it features two-dozen guest cabins, two swimming pools, two helipads, and multiple hot tubs. For privacy and security reasons, it hosts a missile detection system, bulletproof windows in the primary bedroom and on the bridge, an anti-paparazzi shield, and, when all of that fails, a mini-submarine that can take a few VIPs 164 feet under the ocean’s surface.

1. History Supreme ($4.8 billion)

History Supreme has never actually been seen in a major port, and rumors suggest that the yacht may not be real and instead just a publicity stunt. Reportedly owned by Malaysia’s richest man, Robert Kuok, and designed by Stuart Hughes in the UK, the yacht is only a paltry 100 feet long. Its worth is said to be derived from its lavish finishes, including a statue constructed from genuine Tyrannosaurus rex bones, a liquor bottle embedded with an 18.5-carat diamond, and a primary bedroom with one wall made from meteorite and another from a 24-karat gold Aquavista Panoramic Wall Aquarium. If you see it somewhere, let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is Jeff Bezos’s yacht?

Most Expensive Yachts

This is why people like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos work to keep their yachts out of the public eye. Though we are not including Jeff Bezos’s yacht, Koru (Maori for “coil”), in this list because it is a sailing yacht and thus excluded from the realm of these motor yachts, it created controversy in the Netherlands when its presence became known. Jeff Bezos’s abided the $500 million price tag of Oceanco, the Dutch custom yacht builder, to create the 417-foot megayacht. But when the company, at Bezos’s behest, requested that a local bridge be dismantled to make way for its gigantic mast on its journey from the shipyard, public sentiment turned against the cento-billionaire, and Oceano shelved its request. Maybe a port like Monaco would be more accommodating?

Also not on this list is the world’s largest private yacht, reportedly owned by Alisher Usmanov. Though size and cost typically scale in the world of superyachts, this is not always the case (see #1 in this list.) Also, Somnio, the 728-feet dream-monikered yacht liner that tops our list of the world’s largest private yachts , isn’t quite done being constructed. And it is not, like most of the largest superyachts, privately owned by one individual or family—it’s a kind of floating condo, with 39 eight-figure homes available to potential owners solely by invitation.

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IMAGES

  1. Russian Oligarch's $100 Million "Titan" Yacht Likely Heading For Turkey

    eclipse yacht sanctions

  2. Roman Abramovich's superyachts flee to sea as Russian sanctions hit

    eclipse yacht sanctions

  3. Nautilus supports members on Abramovich superyacht as Russian sanctions

    eclipse yacht sanctions

  4. Oligarch super yachts avoid international sanctions in neutral Turkey

    eclipse yacht sanctions

  5. Second Abramovich Superyacht Docks In Sanctions-free Turkey

    eclipse yacht sanctions

  6. Inside The Eclipse Yacht

    eclipse yacht sanctions

VIDEO

  1. Eclipse Yacht for $1.5B

  2. Inside the Award-Winning Eclipse Superyacht

  3. M/Y Eclipse in Denmark during tests

  4. Yacht 'Eclipse': A Sudden Storm Survival Story

  5. Eclipse Yacht Tour in Golfe-Juan Bay. July 2013

  6. Yacht Eclipse

COMMENTS

  1. The hunt for superyachts of sanctioned Russian oligarchs

    The Eclipse is one of the world's largest superyachts.It has nine decks, three helipads and a three-person submarine. It is also rumoured to have a missile-defence system and a laser-directed ...

  2. Russian Superyachts in Turkey Raise Concerns in Washington

    In one example, Turkish news media outlets reported in April that Mr. Abramovich's biggest yacht, the 533-foot-long Eclipse, ran up a fuel bill of $1.66 million in the port town of Marmaris. Its ...

  3. Biden And Allies Are Coming For Russian Billionaires' Yachts ...

    Updated with new sanctions on September 14, 2023. ... Yacht name: Eclipse* Length: 533 feet Last recorded location: Bodrum, Turkey on January 9, 2023 Registered in: Bermuda Value: $438 million

  4. Russian Oligarch's 2 Yachts Worth $1 Billion Head East After Sanctions

    2 superyachts owned by the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and worth more than $1 billion combined head east after he's sanctioned. Kate Duffy. Mar 11, 2022, 2:44 AM PST. Roman Abramovich, the ...

  5. Roman Abramovich's yachts sail into Turkish squall over sanctions

    At a time when European governments have begun seizing yachts belonging to sanctioned oligarchs, the billionaire Chelsea Football Club owner appeared to view Turkey as a haven for Eclipse. Another ...

  6. Russian Oligarch's Yacht Scrapped Plans to Refuel in Montenegro

    The yacht's path — as well as that of Abramovich's second luxury vessel, Eclipse — had been closely watched amid mounting interest surrounding the locations of assets belonging to the targets ...

  7. UK seizes first superyacht in British waters

    National Crime Agency. The yacht was seized in Canary Wharf, east London, on Tuesday. The UK has seized its first superyacht in British waters as part of sanctions against Russia. The £38m yacht ...

  8. Roman Abramovich: Russian Oligarch's $700M Yacht the Eclipse, Photos

    Abramovich's 553-foot-long flagship is The Eclipse, estimated to have cost $700 million when built. After sanctions were initially dropped by the UK against Abramovich, his second "smaller" $600 ...

  9. Oligarch super yachts avoid international sanctions in neutral Turkey

    Abramovich's yachts in Turkey were identified by the Daily Mail as the Eclipse, a 533-foot (162 meters) vessel worth more than $470 million; Garcon, a 219-foot (66.7 meters) vessel worth around ...

  10. Sanctioned billionaire Roman Abramovich has very ...

    On the other hand, Eclipse required a staff of 100 onboard at the service of 30 guests. Eclipse megayacht. Via - Charterworld.com After being struck by sanctions, Roman Abramovich pleaded with his wealthy friends for $1 million loans to pay his staff that keeps his beloved ships afloat and running. 'The whole fleet is under the Bermuda flag ...

  11. Roman Abramovich's $1bn five-yacht fleet revealed

    Abramovich was already widely reported to be the owner of Solaris and Eclipse — worth $474mn and $437mn, respectively, according to yacht data service VesselsValue. But the FT revealed this week ...

  12. What Happens After a Superyacht Is Seized? It's Uncharted Territory

    However, the sanctions don't allow countries to take ownership of oligarch-owned yachts, giving rise to uncertainties over the fates of the superyachts accumulating in shipyards throughout Europe.

  13. Abramovich's Yachts Head to Mediterranean Amid New Sanctions

    Abramovich's two superyachts, the Eclipse and Solaris, are both now in the Mediterranean. Neither the Solaris nor the Eclipse list a destination in its data. The two superyachts collectively ...

  14. Second Abramovich superyacht docks in sanctions-free Turkey

    Eclipse, which is one of the world's biggest yachts at 162.5 metres (533 feet), docked in the resort of Marmaris in southwest Turkey after skirting Greek islands, according to a Reuters witness ...

  15. Sanctioned Oligarch's $700M Yacht Heads for His $600M Ship in the Med

    A $700 million superyacht owned by the sanctioned oligarch Roman Abramovich is sailing toward his other $600 million vessel in the Mediterranean. Kate Duffy. Mar 15, 2022, 5:35 AM PDT. The Russian ...

  16. The growing list of superyachts seized from oligarchs as sanctions hit

    The Lady M superyacht belonging to Russia's richest man, Alexei Mordashov, was seized by Italian authorities earlier this month. The 65m boat was seized at the northern Italian port of Imperia. Mordashov is under EU sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The EU called him the "personal bank" of the senior officials who ...

  17. Eclipse (yacht)

    M/Y Eclipse is a superyacht built by Blohm+Voss of Hamburg, Germany, the third longest afloat.Her exterior and interior were designed by Terence Disdale. The yacht is owned by Roman Abramovich, and was delivered on 9 December 2010.At 162.5 metres (533 ft 2 in) long Eclipse was the world's longest private yacht until Azzam was launched in April 2013, which is 17.3 metres (56 ft 9 in) longer.

  18. Where is Roman Abramovich's Eclipse superyacht now

    While the superyacht Eclipse is seemingly on the run from UK sanctions, it was once docked at Manhattan's Pier 90 and we were able to get some pictures. Take a tour of the superyacht below.

  19. Yachts impacted by international sanctions following the Russian

    International sanctions have been imposed during the Russo-Ukrainian War by a large number of countries, including the United States, Canada, the European Union, and a number of international organisations against Russia, Crimea, and Belarus following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in late February 2014. These sanctions were imposed against individuals, businesses, officials and ...

  20. Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich stashes second yacht in Turkey

    Here's what it means to be an oligarch 01:31. Ankara, Turkey — A second superyacht belonging to Chelsea soccer club owner and sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich has docked in a resort ...

  21. The World's Most Expensive Yachts—Including Some That Cost Billions

    Eclipse ($1.5 billion) Photo: Getty Images In addition to being the second-costliest, this 533-footer is thought to be the world's second-largest private yacht.