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CHOPPY WATERS

Superyachts impounded in Spain, another stranded without fuel in Norway

The superyacht Valerie moored in Barcelona, on March 1.

Spanish officials impounded two more yachts as they investigate sanctions against Russia and Belarus, while another tycoon’s boat is stuck in Norway after suppliers refused to provide the fuel needed for it to depart.

The Crescent, a 135-metre (443-foot) superyacht with two helicopter landing pads and a swimming pool, was detained Wednesday in the eastern region of Catalonia, according to the Spanish transportation ministry. The ship’s owner isn’t publicly known, though it is believed to belong to Russian Igor Sechin, head of Moscow-based Rosneft Oil, according to Reuters, which cited a police source it didn’t identify.

In Norway, the 68-metre Ragnar, owned by former KGB agent Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, is stranded without fuel in the northern town of Narvik. The ship’s captain has contacted just about every supplier in the area without success, according to public broadcaster NRK.

Around the world and especially in Europe, the yachts of Russian billionaires have come under scrutiny as governments and organisations mount a sanctions campaign against the country for its invasion of Ukraine. In many cases, authorities are rushing to block vessels before they can sail out of reach in international waters.

The Crescent was the second yacht detained by Spanish authorities in the past two days, following Tuesday’s impounding of the 48-metre Lady Anastasia in Majorca, the ministry said. On Monday, officials also blocked the 85-metre Valerie from leaving Barcelona. The three boats have an estimated combined value in excess of $700-million.

Spain impounds $154-million Russian-owned ‘Valerie’ superyacht

The superyacht Valerie moored in Barcelona, on March 1.
Earlier this month, French customs officials detained another Sechin superyacht, the Amore Vero, near Marseille as it was preparing an urgent departure, according to the French finance ministry.

Sechin (61) a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been sanctioned by the US, UK and the European Union. Before being named chief executive officer at Rosneft, one of the world’s largest public oil companies, he served as deputy prime minister of Russia.

In Narvik, local fuel supplier Sven Holmlund said it’s obvious why no one wants to sell to the Ragnar.

“It takes five minutes from watching the news, and you’ll get tears in your eyes,” Holmlund said in an interview, referring to war footage.

Rune Edvardsen, the town’s mayor, said the situation is a problem that needs to be settled politically. While neither Strzhalkovsky nor the yacht have been sanctioned, suppliers are still wary, said Edvardsen, who is talking with local suppliers and other government officials.

Meanwhile, the yacht can get power from the port, “so they’re not freezing to death”, he said.

(With assistance from Tom Maloney and Rodrigo Orihuela.)

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