Russian Oligarch Usmanov’s Yacht Crew Fired Over Sanctions: Reports

  • The crew of Russian oligarch’s Alisher Usmanov’s superyacht was fired Monday, per reports.
  • The company that staffs the boat said sanctions meant crew wages couldn’t be paid, Forbes reported.
  • Usmanov is worth is an estimated $18.4 billion and his yacht is valued at $600 million – $735 million.

The crew of 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 UK-based yacht-management company that provides 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 massive sanctions on Russia, aimed at crippling its economy and cutting off its military’s funding, in an attempt to pressure President Vladimir Putin to end the invasion of Ukraine. As well as targeting Russian banks, sanctions have also been imposed on Russian elites and oligarchs, including seizing assets including private jets and superyachts.

The European Union, UK, US, and Switzerland have all sanctioned Usmanov, freezing his assets and in some cases banning him from entering their territory. The EU says that Usmanov “actively supported” the Russian government’s policies of destabilization of Ukraine.

Usmanov is worth an estimated $18.4 billion, according to the UK Government. He is the founder of USM Holdings which has interests in metals, mining, and telecoms. His largest holding is in Russian steel giant Metalloinvest. The European Union says he has “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 bars 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 instead their final wages would be paid by the boat’s owner, per Forbes.

“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, captain of the yacht, wrote in a message to crew, per Bloomberg.

The US Treasury says Dilbar’s estimated value is between $600 and $735 million, and costs an estimated $60 million per year to run.

Its builder, Lürssen, claims 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 has 96 crew on board, while Bloomberg put the figure at 80.

Sarnia said in the email to 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, per Forbes.

Forbes reported that Dilbar had been seized by German authorities on March 2, but issued a correction the following day saying that it 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 got 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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