Russian superyachts are scrambling to find safe harbour in the wake of the news that Putin and his cronies are being sanctioned.
Though news broke last week that they were heading for the Maldives (and some indeed did head there), it has been alleged by citizen journalist/luxury yacht enthusiast eSysman SuperYachts that they are actually, ultimately, heading to (as he semi-jokingly dubbed it) “the Russian Riviera” of Vladivostok.
The Youtuber, who is known for using his knowledge and experience from “20 plus years at sea and in the Super Yacht Industry” (but who doesn’t reveal his name), recently took to Youtube claiming multiple sources told him Motor Yacht Nord is heading to Vladivostok.
This, combined with other educated guesswork, has him predicting multiple other yachts could be running the gauntlet to get there too.
“It turns out they can’t disappear from this incredible community,” he said. “I have people from all over the place sending me photos and details about different superyachts… even though they’ve turned off their AIS [automatic identification system] to try and hide.”
He cites a number of superyachts, which he believes are making their way from Europe to Vladivostok via the Suez Canal.
“Amadea,” he says, “turned off [its] AIS the day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” He then claims the yacht was found in Antigua.
“I suspect she will move from there soon.”
Amadea is reportedly owned by Suleiman Kerimov, who is on the sanctions list. However, Imperial Yachts, who manage Amadeus, deny that Kerimov owns the 106-metre yacht.
Another luxury yacht, Quantum Blue, was recently temporarily detained in Monaco by authorities, and then eventually allowed to leave. It has apparently been moving south and then southeast towards the Suez canal since then (according to eSysman SuperYachts).
eSysman SuperYachts predicts Quantum Blue is going to Port Said – the staging area for transit when you’re going through the Suez canal.
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eSysman SuperYachts adds that superyacht My Solaris was in Barcelona but has now also left and is probably headed toward the Suez canal as well (“bit early to say but I think that’s the direction they’re going in,” he says).
Another yacht, belonging to the same billionaire (Roman Abramovich), The Eclipse, has been cruising across the Atlantic in quite a hurry too (as eSysman SuperYachts puts it: “she is a fast vessel but to do 17 knots across the Atlantic is unusual unless your boss requires the boat in a hurry”) and could well be ultimately heading down to Port Said (via the Mediterranean) too.
Finally, eSysman SuperYachts singles out Madame Gu, reportedly owned by Andrei Skoch, who is on the EU sanctions list, which he says left Dubai harbour to go hang in the bay at anchor and turned off her AIS – something which is against nautical rules and is only allowed in situations where the captain of the boat believes leaving it on to be a danger (like, for instance, if you were sailing off Somalia and thought pirates could be using it to track your location).
Speaking of Somalia, all the superyachts mentioned above will have to sail on past Somalia as they come out of the Red Sea/Gulf Of Aden, if they indeed take the route eSysman SuperYachts predicts to Vladivostock.
Motor Yacht Nord is another vessel the video singles out (and, seemingly, the main basis for the Vladivostock claim). He claims multiple sources have told him it’s heading to Vladivostock – a port on the east coast of Russia, which houses “the whole of the pacific fleet of Russian navy” and is a place where (we presume this is tongue in cheek) you can “pop down to North Korea for the weekend.”
In other words: it’s not a normal place for a superyacht to hang out.
He also clarifies that he received an email from Imperial Yachts categorically denying that Amore Vero is owned by Igor Sechin and categorically denying that Amadea is owned by Suleiman Kerimov (either directly or indirectly) and a statement from Imperial Yacht’s Simon Clark, saying: “Imperial yachts complies fully with all applicable relevant law and regulation in all jurisdictions in which the Company operates” (when asked about why they were seen to be switching off their AIS).
eSysman SuperYachts says in this opinion, this is false, because the boats are (in his estimation) switching off their AIS, not because of imminent danger, but rather to avoid detection from authorities, which are trying to potentially seize them.
As one Youtube commenter puts it: citizen journalism at its finest. We tend to agree.