The crew of the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s superyacht was fired on Monday, reports said.
The company that staffed the boat said sanctions meant crew wages couldn’t be paid, Forbes reported.
Usmanov’s estimated worth is $18.4 billion, and his yacht is valued at $600 million to $735 million.
The crew of the Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s 512-foot superyacht was fired after Western sanctions prevented wages from being paid to the vessel’s staff, multiple outlets reported.
Sarnia Yachts, a yacht-management company in the UK that provided the crew for the $600 million vessel, Dilbar, said in an email to staff on Monday that “normal operation of the yacht has ceased,” and that its crew had to be dismissed “as a result of the sanctions imposed,” Forbes reported.
The West has imposed heavy sanctions on Russia, with the aim of crippling its economy and cutting off its military’s funding, in an attempt to pressure President Vladimir Putin to end the invasion of Ukraine. The West has imposed sanctions not only on Russian banks but also on Russian elites and oligarchs, and they include the seizure of assets such as private jets and superyachts.
The European Union, UK, US, and Switzerland have all sanctioned Usmanov, freezing his assets and, in some cases, barring him from entering their territory. The EU said Usmanov “actively supported” the Russian government’s policies of the destabilization of Ukraine.
Usmanov is worth an estimated $18.4 billion, the UK government said. He is the founder of USM Holdings, which has interests in metals, mining, and telecoms. His largest holding is in the Russian steel giant Metalloinvest. The European Union said he had “particularly close ties” to the Kremlin, calling him one of “Putin’s favorite oligarchs.”
The US has declared Dilbar “blocked property,” which prohibits US staff from working on the vessel and bans the payment for its docking fees in US dollars.
Sarnia said in Monday’s email to staff that the sanctions meant that some of the companies supporting Dilbar’s crew were “unable to continue their normal lines of business,” Forbes reported. Sarnia added that it was unable to continue paying salaries to the ship’s crew, and that their final wages would instead be paid by the boat’s owner, Forbes said.
“We have tried all avenues to find a solution to keep the team in place, and protect our positions, but have reached the end of the road of possibilities,” Tim Armstrong, the yacht’s captain, wrote in a message to the crew, Bloomberg reported.
The US Treasury said Dilbar’s estimated value was between $600 million and $735 million, and that it cost an estimated $60 million per year to run.
Its builder, Lürssen, says it’s the “largest motor yacht in the world by gross tonnage.” The vessel is equipped with two helicopter pads and has its own 82-foot swimming pool.
Forbes reported that the ship usually had 96 crew members on board, while Bloomberg put the figure at 80.
Sarnia said in the email to the crew that a small number of staff from Lürssen, which owns the Hamburg shipyard where Dilbar has been docked for a refitting since October, would instead look after the “safety and security” of the ship, Forbes reported.
Forbes also reported that Dilbar had been seized by German authorities on March 2, but it issued a correction the following day that said the ship hadn’t been impounded. Hamburg’s Ministry for Economy and Innovation told Bloomberg that Dilbar wouldn’t be able to leave the port until it received an export waiver from Germany’s federal customs agency.
Lürssen declined to comment. Sarnia Yachts and Hamburg’s Ministry for Economy and Innovation did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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