Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko finds himself in a state of concern. His extravagant Superyacht Standoff, Sailing Yacht A—a staggering $580 million megayacht—has been marooned in the northern Italian port of Trieste since March 2022. Adding to his worries is the challenge of finding a wealthy tycoon capable of efficiently overseeing its maintenance. This colossal sailing yacht, larger than Jeff Bezos’s $500 million Koru, is incurring monthly operational costs of approximately $1.10 million, courtesy of the Italian government. Seized and frozen, the 469-foot yacht has been under the care of a crew of around twenty individuals for over 18 months, with the financial burden falling on the Italian State.
The annual cost of maintaining Sailing Yacht A, which was under the ownership of Russia’s wealthiest tycoon, amounted to $60 million. This is in line with the typical annual expenditure for upkeeping a luxury vessel, which is approximately 10% of its initial price. In contrast, the Italian government is expected to allocate approximately $12 million for the maintenance of this yacht, which boasts towering 300-foot masts.
It is not surprising that, like others, Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko is eager to regain possession of his asset and is distressed by the potential harm that his remarkable yacht may endure under the care of the Italian State. The billionaire with interests in the fertilizer industry is so concerned about the well-being of his floating mansion that he has reportedly offered to cover the expenses associated with its maintenance, as per information from a source knowledgeable about his legal actions.
A year ago, France and Spain boldly approached oligarchs who owned luxury yachts worth billions, which had been seized. They shamelessly requested funds from these sanctioned owners to cover the expenses of keeping their impounded vessels. In Spain, six yachts were immobilized due to sanctions imposed in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Likewise, in France, five yachts have faced a similar fate with frozen assets.
Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko may be inclined to spend millions on the impressive Sailing Yacht A, considering his substantial net worth of almost $25 billion, he encounters challenges due to EU sanctions. Owners managing the maintenance costs of their assets encounter difficulties since they are unable to transfer funds through the financial system without obtaining special government permission.
Securing such permissions is a challenging and time-consuming process that may extend over several months or even years. Italy has not embraced this trend yet, and whether Russian Oligarch Andrey Melnichenko’s hopes will materialize or the government will bid him farewell with “Arrivederci” remains uncertain.
On the contrary, Sailing Yacht A stands out as a marvel in the world of yachting, deserving attention rather than being neglected. This stunning vessel boasts masts taller than Big Ben, which can be effortlessly controlled with a button, an underwater observation pod providing a unique perspective of the propellers, opulent accommodations for up to 20 guests, and a crew of 54. To ensure the safety of its affluent owner, the yacht incorporates cutting-edge security systems, including bomb-resistant glass and an alleged anti-drone system.
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