Roman Abramovich’s fleet of superyachts should be banned from the seas
Roman Abramovich’s superyacht fleet is at risk of being mothballed “immediately” as authorities in Bermuda prepare to remove the flag they sail under, an insider has revealed.
The 533ft Eclipse and 456ft Solaris, along with at least two support ships, are among the £1billion assets that could not sail.
Eclipse and Solaris are currently anchored in Turkey to avoid being seized elsewhere under international sanctions.
Meanwhile, 220ft Garcon and 180ft Halo are in Antigua, where their property is under investigation. None will be able to leave for other destinations or even for neighboring ports if they lose their registration in Bermuda.
The 533ft Eclipse (above) and the 456ft Solaris, along with at least two support vessels, are among the £1billion assets that are said to be unable to sail.
And in a growing sign of the way sanctions are hitting the Russian billionaire, contractors are refusing to carry out routine maintenance while blockades by banks mean ships cannot refuel and frustrated staff n is not paid.
“The entire fleet is under the flag of Bermuda and they are in the process of being delisted,” a source told the Daily Mail.
“We don’t know when that will happen. All we know is that it’s imminent. Without a flag, you are not allowed to navigate. The captain would be arrested. There is also a fuel shortage. When you pay millions of pounds to refuel boats, it goes through banking channels and gets rejected.
Department heads have been ordered to refrain from large purchases and keep crew supplies to a minimum, although the food is “still very good”, the source said.
The withdrawal of contracted services means that megayachts cannot get assistance ashore for routine maintenance.
Morale for the fleet’s 200 crew has hit rock bottom as most have not been paid since February, the source added.
Roman Abramovich‘s superyacht fleet is at risk of being mothballed ‘immediately’ as authorities in Bermuda prepare to remove the flag they sail under, an insider has revealed
“First, they were told two to three days. Then five to ten days. Then after that there was only silence,’ the insider said.
“People have been fired with promises of severance packages, but then haven’t received a dime.”
On Solaris, 30 people left with redundancy packages. So out of 50 crew members on board and 20 on leave at any one time, that’s almost half gone. And it’s the same throughout the fleet.
Superyacht crews are not breaching sanctions, but seafarers’ union Nautilus International has warned that increased compliance checks by banks have become a “major problem” for staff wages.
Yachting section chief Derek Byrne said: “A number of crew on board Roman Abramovich’s yachts have approached us over non-payment of wages.”
“The entire fleet is under the flag of Bermuda and they are in the process of being delisted,” a source told the Daily Mail. Solaris is pictured above
He added: “External service delivery has been affected and even the supply of fuel and equipment has been reduced or interrupted.”
“Some yachts have lost their class and need to secure that, along with re-insurance and possibly transfer of flag registration, which is apparently not a straightforward process.”
The loss of the flag means the ships are almost certainly “illegal to sail” and stranded in ports, he said.
Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory, allowing craft registered there to fly its version of the Red Ensign. The flag of convenience allows yacht owners to fly a national flag without being a resident or citizen of Bermuda while avoiding higher taxes and stricter regulations elsewhere.
It also grants ships benefits such as Royal Navy protection and consular assistance. Ian Hodge of the charity Merchant Navy Association recently described the use of the Red Ensign on oligarchs’ ships as “an annoyance”.
Abramovich’s fleet has been on the run since the threat of sanctions first surfaced after Russia invaded Ukraine. Solaris, which is believed to have a missile detection system, was under repair in Barcelona in early March when staff reportedly demolished scaffolding to evade authorities.
Both yachts are now anchored off the southwest coast of Turkey. Solaris is near the town of Yalikavak, while Eclipse, which has two helipads, is off the town of Dalaman.
Bermuda has been criticized for failing to take action against superyachts controlled by outlawed Russian oligarchs.
The Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority did not respond to requests for comment.
Last month, a spokesman said it had ten registered vessels “associated with prominent Russian nationals”. Abramovich was briefly in Istanbul last month, according to flight tracking data, but it is unclear if he boarded his yachts.
Its representatives have been contacted several times for comment.