As part of its sanctions against Russia, the United Kingdom has confiscated its first superyacht on British seas.
An unknown Russian businessman owns the £38 million yacht Phi. The individual was not currently sanctioned, but had “deep ties” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Kingdom imposed a slew of sanctions on individuals and businesses.
The 58.5m (192ft) Phi was first discovered as possibly Russian-owned on March 13. But the government claims its ownership is “deliberately well hidden.” Also, it went on to say that the ship’s owner is located in the Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Nevis. However, it was flying Maltese flags to conceal its origins.
Mr. Shapps, the Transport Secretary, called the measure “a clear and stark warning to Putin and his cronies.”
Royal Huisman characterizes Phi, named after the mathematical concept commonly known as the Golden Ratio, as “magnificently sensuous” on its website.
The bright blue yacht has an “unlimited wine store”. It also has a freshwater swimming pool and a penthouse apartment on the upper deck, according to the builders.
On Tuesday, UK authorities boarded the Phi in Canary Wharf, east London. The ship was in town for a superyacht awards ceremony and was scheduled to leave at 12:00 p.m.
Countries to target superyacht
The United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union have all stated that they will target superyachts related to sanctioned Russians. And authorities in France, Italy, and Spain have already seized at least eight yachts.
For example, French officials confiscated a boat owned by Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia’s national energy corporation Rosneft, in early March. More yachts are still on the move or docked in countries where sanctions are now unenforceable, such as the Maldives.
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