Russian Oligarchs Are Hiding Their Super Yachts By Deactivating Their Localization Systems

Russian oligarchs shelter their luxury yachts by disabling the identification and localization systems to circumvent sanctions that were imposed after the invasion of Ukraine.

An investigation by The Observer found that there are at least six "super-yachts that have become invisible" to identification systems, and experts believe the number is growing.

There are about 9,300 luxury yachts in the world (worth a total of 60 billion euros): about 10 percent are reportedly owned by Russians.

Russian Oligarchs Are Hiding Their Super Yachts

Russian oligarchs are trying to avoid Western sanctions for their mega-yachts: by deactivating the Automatic Identification System (AIS) onboard the luxury vessel, billionaires prevent the yacht's exact location from being disclosed. In this way, they make them "invisible" and thus manage to circumvent sanctions.

An investigation by the British news outlet The Observer found that there are at least six "superyachts" attributable to Russian oligarchs that, after being hit by London's sanctions, "have become invisible" to ocean tracking systems, and, it says, experts have reported an increase in yachts that are deactivating AIS with the likely intent of evading sanctions.

According to findings in the investigation, superyachts that have become untraceable for more than a month include the 72-meter "Clio" yacht linked to industrialist Oleg Deripaska, the 70-meter "Galactica Super Nova" linked to oligarch Vagit Alekperov,  which has a 6-meter glass-bottomed pool with a waterfall, a touch-and-go helipad, an elevator, and a large beach club, and the 140-meter "Ocean Victory" linked to Viktor Rashnikov.

There are about 9,300 super-yachts in the world in total, with a total value of about 60 billion euros: of these vessels, an estimated 10 percent are said to be owned by Russians.

Russian Oligarchs Are On The Move

Russian billionaires with ties to President Vladimir Putin are on the move as the United States and its allies are trying to implement drastic economic sanctions against them following the invasion of Ukraine.

Some of Russia's wealthiest are moving their super-yachts, potentially in the hope they can avoid having them seized.

The 156-meter yacht Dilbar is one of the first super-yachts seized as Europe and the US crackdown on Russian billionaires. It is owned by Alisher Usmanov, a Russian oligarch, and is valued at $600m.

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