Superyacht Owner’s ‘KGB Plan’ Thwarted At Last Minute In Barcelona

"They might have gotten the idea from an old KGB plan."

Superyacht Owner’s ‘KGB Plan’ Thwarted At Last Minute In Barcelona

Motor Yacht Valerie in happier times. Image via Twitter (@vilanova_marina)

A sanctioned AU $156 million superyacht has attempted to flee Barcelona, in what one commentator has described as a “KGB” esque manoeuvre. The superyacht was almost successful in fleeing, but was sprung by authorities at the last minute.

A $156 million superyacht, formerly known as Motor Yacht Valerie, and now known as Meridian A, almost escaped Barcelona, where it was under arrest, by changing its name and applying to leave. The superyacht has been stuck in Barcelona since March, under sanction in the MB92 shipyard (a far cry from the happier days of 2020 when it was still cruising around freely).

The owner allegedly stopped paying for the maintenance of the vessel as soon as it was arrested in March 2022.

“Today we seized – the technical term is provisionally immobilised – a yacht belonging to one of the principal oligarchs,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Spanish television at the time.

According to SuperYachtNews, “It’s been sat there ever since.” Despite the fact that, if the owner really did stop paying for upkeep, it is unclear as to who has been paying crew salaries, SuperYachtNews claims “obviously it still has a crew on board” based on the unusual actions that have occurred recently.

What are those actions? Well, the name Motor Yacht Valerie, which was on the stern, has allegedly been changed to Meridian A, something which is “highly unusual for a vessel to be allowed to do… when it’s under arrest,” SuperYachtNews reports.

“The story behind this, you could make a movie out of this actually… the vessel was moved recently… out of the shipyard to a vacant berth to continue working on it,” SuperYachtNews reports.

“According to the international maritime organisation the vessel is owned by Solberg Services Limited and the management company… is Royale Oceanic International Yacht Managament Limited, which is in the UK. But there is another company name that is being thrown about in some of the press reports that I’ve been seeing which is… Amtech Worldwide Limited.”

SuperYachtNews goes on to claim that Solberg Services is a shell company and that “the owner of the yacht is obviously in the background but it’s done on purpose to hide the ownership.”

“Both [are] reported to be owners of the yacht, one company owned by the other to create confusion.”


“The company which is called Amtech, gave permission to another shell company, which is currently unknown the name of that company, they gave permission to them to run this yacht. It’s most likely the same people. It’s just movements on paper and then they change the name of the yacht from Valerie to Meridian A – then the crew on board removed the old name, put up a temporary new name removed the names off the side of the boat and then the management company which applied for and was granted permission for the vessel to leave under the new name.”

WATCH: Onboard Motor Yacht Valerie

“The management company asked for and then initially received permission for the vessel to leave. The plan was apparently to leave the EU and get out into international waters and then to head to a friendly country,” SuperYachtNews speculated.

“Now what I believe most likely would have happened is that vessel was probably light on fuel.. they certainly wouldn’t have been allowed to fill up so they probably would have needed fuel and gone to North Africa somewhere to fill up and then probably headed to Turkey.”

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“The port authority transit granted that permission, but then they got wise and then they sort of figured out it was the same boat that was under sanctions and then the Spanish Civil Guard went down and boarded that vessel and prevented it from leaving, but I’m told it was minutes away from leaving.”

In the build-up to the alleged attempted escape, the superyacht is said to have disconnected the generator it had been given by the port, started using its own generators, got ready to leave and then was thwarted at the last minute. SuperYachtNews makes a further interesting claim, too, saying the boat’s owner, Sergey Chemezov, is ex-KGB and close with Putin.

SuperYachtNews claims there is an ex-KGB story of them trying to do something similar back when they were in the KGB, which also failed, speculating that “it seems like they might have gotten the idea from an old KGB plan.”

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