Russian super yachts shelter from sanctions off Turkish coast
More than US$3 billion of Russian super yachts are believed to be in Turkish waters, avoiding international sanctions.
Some Russian yachts are still available for hire for party-goers.
Several boats belong to former Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.
One of the 55-year-old’s yachts is the 460ft Solaris, which has a crew of 60 and space for 36 guests, 20 jet skis and a helicopter to bring guests from shore.
The oligarch’s $420 million Eclipse (pictured) was last seen off the Turkish island of Göcek. The 533ft vessel used to be the world’s biggest private yacht and it reportedly has two helicopter pads, two swimming pools, a disco, an anti-missile system and a mini-submarine.
It was recently anchored about 3km out at sea with five or six staff on board, instead of the usual 95. Turkey’s media reported that most staff left after western sanctions came into force because their salaries were not being paid.
His other two yachts, Halo and Garcon, are also in Turkish waters. The Garcon’s transponder, known as the Automatic Identification System (AIS), has been switched off since August 8 in what appears to be an attempt to avoid detection.
Turkey has not imposed restrictions on Russia since the Ukraine invasion and is now a haven for Russian yachts.
The $144 million Pacific, was is reportedly owned by Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson, recently sailed from the Caribbean to Turkey after turning off its tracking beacon.
Mikhelson’s yacht has two helipads and a pool.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin agreed to increase economic cooperation when they met in Sochi last month.
Turkish exports to Russia between May and July rose year on year by nearly 50 per cent while Turkey’s imports of Russian oil are rapidly increasing.
Turkish exports to Russia have hit an eight-year high, undermining the west’s attempts to force Putin into economic starvation through sanctions.
Turkey’s citizenship programme provides passports within four months to those who invest at least $244,000 in property or $424,000 in government bonds or a Turkish bank account.
The arrival in Turkey of Russian investment and oil since the conflict began has propped up Turkey’s tumbling lira and Erdogan’s election hopes ahead of next year’s polls.
The Eclipse. Picture credit: Wikipedia