Roman Abramovich’s £430m superyacht docked in Montenegro this morning as the under-fire oligarch apparently sought to protect his prize assets from being seized under sanctions.
The luxury 460ft vessel arrived just before 8am UK-time in the port of Tivat after hurriedly leaving Barcelona on Tuesday – two days before Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.
It is believed that he wanted to move his yacht out of western European waters because of the risk of him being sanctioned by the EU over alleged links to President Putin.
Roman Abramovich’s £430m superyacht Solaris (pictured) docked in Montenegro this morning
The Solaris, which boasts its own helipad and missile detection system, was reportedly rushed out of a Spanish shipyard before repairs were finished.
Staff are said to have been told to tear down scaffolding so the yacht could make a quick getaway.
Montenegro is not in the EU, although it is expected to join in 2025, so it could be seen as a safer haven by Abramovich who is trying to sell Chelsea FC.
It was announced last week that Montenegro had signed up to EU sanctions against Russia, but in practice it has so far only involved the country banning Russian flights.
The port where Solaris was heading was unknown until about 4.20am today when its destination of Tivat suddenly became visible on ship tracking apps.
It is believed that the destination was only entered into its tracking system by the Solaris crew in the early hours.
Montenegro is not in the EU, although it is expected to join in 2025, so it could be seen as a safer haven by Abramovich (pictured) who is trying to sell Chelsea FC
Ship tracking sites such as Marine Traffic had earlier shown the yacht heading around Sicily and into the Ionian Sea, with its final destination being unclear.
Abramovich’s second superyacht Eclipse, which is even bigger at 533ft and reportedly worth more than £750m, could also be heading for Tivat which has a superyacht marina
The Eclipse usually spends much of the winter in the Caribbean where Abramovich has a home on the billionaire playground island of St Barts.
But the yacht has been in international waters since leaving St Maarten, around 20 miles from St Barts, on February 21 as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine loomed.
Satellite tracking this morning pinpointed it as entering the Straits of Gibraltar and possibly en-route to the Mediterranean after sailing up the west coast of Africa.
Superyachts owned by other oligarchs are said to have been dispersed to locations including the Maldives, Seychelles and Turkey to prevent them being seized.
Solaris at Barcelona Port in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this month. Staff are said to have been told to tear down scaffolding so the yacht could make a quick getaway
French and Italian authorities last week seized three yachts worth more than £170m on suspicion that they were ultimately owned by associates of Putin.
France detained Amore Vero, a 280ft superyacht said to be owned by Igor Sechin, in the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat.
Sechin, who is also facing sanctions, is the chief executive of the Russian oil producer Rosneft and a close ally of Putin. Amore Vero, which means ‘true love’ in Italian, can accommodate 14 guests and 28 crew.
French police, who boarded the vessel at night said the crew had been ‘making arrangements to leave in a hurry, without having completed the planned work’.
Italian authorities in Samremo impounded Lena, a 134ft yacht owned by Putin associate Gennady Timchenko, who has an estimated $21bn fortune held in Russian raw materials companies.
Lady M, a 209ft yacht owned by Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov who is the main shareholder of Russia’s largest steel and mining company, was seized in the nearby Ligurian port of Imperia.
Dilbar, the world’s largest superyacht by gross tonnage, which is said to be owned by former major Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, was reported to have been seized in Hamburg.
But German authorities later clarified that the 511ft vessel, which has been valued at $600m, had not been impounded but required an export waiver to leave the port.
UK transport secretary Grant Shapps has said the UK government will detain any yachts suspected of being Russian-owned if they entered UK waters
The Bermuda-flagged Solaris was built for Abramovich by German yard Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven and was only launched last year.
The luxury 460ft vessel arrived just before 8am UK-time in the port of Tivat after hurriedly leaving Barcelona on Tuesday
The yacht which has a crew of 60 with eight decks, cabins for 36 guests, a gym, sauna, jacuzzi and a swimming pool that can be converted into a dance floor.
It also has a flotilla of 20 high-speed jet-skis and at least one helicopter to ferry guests from ship to shore, and a rumoured personal submarine.
Both Solaris and Eclipse are thought to have a series of security measures to protect against pirates, kidnappers or special forces from hostile states.
Eclipse is even said to have a special anti-paparazzi system with the capacity to target the photosensitive elements on digital cameras, and disable them with a laser.
As well radar-controlled missile detection systems, the yachts are also thought to have bulletproof windows and armoured protection around their wheelhouses and main cabins.
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