Abandoned Superyacht Costs Owner $168k Per Month While Crew Play ‘Call of Duty’ For Weeks On End

War games and waiting games.

Abandoned Superyacht Costs Owner $168k Per Month While Crew Play ‘Call of Duty’ For Weeks On End

Image: AP

The long-abandoned Alfa Nero superyacht has been a source of fascination for months now, with many wondering who it belongs to and what the fate of the $120m vessel will be. What people have been far less preoccupied with, however, is how the boat’s crew are passing their ample free time…

We’ve been following the story of this abandoned $120m superyacht for some time now. Though its price tag pales in comparison to that of Jeff Bezos’ $723m yacht – which was recently spotted under sail for the first time – it’s still a shocking money pit for its as-yet unidentified owner.

Given our recent revelations regarding just how much it costs to refuel a superyacht, we’re not wholly unsurprised that the costs of docking this vessel and maintaining its crew are so staggeringly high. What we’re a lot more surprised by are the tactics employees are adopting to keep busy.

WATCH: Jeff Bezos’ superyacht is in the prime of its life…

The illustrious Russian yacht is marooned in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua. Spanning an impressive 267 feet and weighing 2,500 tons, this floating palace boasts a number of welcome features: impeccably folded Alfa Nero polo shirts, a breathtaking Miro painting, and a sparkling infinity pool that morphs into a helipad under the Caribbean sun.

Yet, a journey into the wood-panelled study of the master suite reveals an unexpected sight: a PlayStation, equipped with games like Call of Duty, stands as a testament to the crew’s seemingly never-ending battle against boredom in the absence of their employer and their guests.

This isn’t where the strangeness ends: the master suite has been partially claimed, the captain sleeps in a guest bedroom, and the crew confines themselves below deck. This leaves the ship’s five lavish cabins, spa, gym, elevator, and other luxurious amenities totally unused. Why? Because since March last year, Alfa Nero has been entangled in the Ukrainian conflict that is unfolding thousands of miles away…

The vessel is a beautiful thing when in motion – will it ever sail again? Image: Ocean of News

As Russian forces crossed the Ukrainian border, the UK promptly imposed sanctions on the vessel’s alleged owner, fertiliser tycoon Andrey Guryev. In August the USA joined in, dispatching FBI agents to search the superyacht alongside local law enforcement. Despite Guryev’s vehement denial of ownership, the Western superpowers are not convinced.

Technically, however, the owner remains unidentified: the many complex methods used by the world’s super-rich to conceal their assets have made this process harder than you might expect. Nevertheless, the Antiguan government’s notice of seizure targets Guryev. Crew notes found on board reference “Mr. and Mrs. G,” adding to the paper-thin mystery surrounding the superyacht’s ownership.

The eruption of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict in early 2022 prompted the USA and its allies to impose sanctions on affluent Russians, aiming to penalise Putin and his inner circle. Consequently, luxury yachts have transformed from billionaire playthings into potent symbols of escalating hostility between Russia and the West. Ports worldwide have impounded over two dozen vessels worth approximately $4 billion.

Antigua now seeks to relieve itself of the abandoned vessel. In April, authorities formally seized Alfa Nero, raised the Antiguan flag, and stationed security guards on the dock. Similarly frustrated, the crew demands their overdue salaries. Since assuming control, government bills have accumulated, with crew expenses alone racking up to USD$112,000 per month.

Andrey Guryev, the long-suspected owner of the yacht. Image: Flickr

Antiguan authorities are in the process of petitioning the United States to lift the yacht’s sanctions, enabling them to auction it off to the highest bidder, of which there are apparently over twenty already. However, as long as Washington maintains Alfa Nero’s “blocked” property status, Antiguan officials worry that the proceeds from any sale might be frozen.

Much like the crew, they find themselves passing the time with a game. Theirs, however, is endlessly more frustrating than a few rounds of CoD Zombies; it’s a never-ending waiting game.