DISCLOSURE: Sourced from Russian government funded media
SVPressa: The governor of the Kaliningrad region , Anton Alikhanov , called on Russian oligarchs to moor their yachts in the Baltic or the Black Sea. According to the official, this is how billionaires will secure their precious boats from arrests in Europe and help develop the infrastructure of Russian regions.
Indeed, for the maintenance of one super-elite yacht, appropriate conditions are needed for both mooring and maintenance.
“With the resources that are invested in one yacht, it would be possible to create a classy world-class shipyard in Russia, where such yachts would be built. If we created such an infrastructure, there is a demand, apparently. It’s time to park all the yachts in their homeland – in the Baltic, on the Black Sea – and invest in the service infrastructure. The Kaliningrad region has always been the capital of ship repair in the North-West. There are all the prerequisites for this,” Alikhanov said.
The governor added that his “heart bleeds” when he sees the news about the seizure of expensive yachts, since this money could be used to build all the marinas, piers and “everything that we design in the region, break down, rebuild, break down again and build a third time.
After the imposition of sanctions, Western countries have arrested several dozen yachts owned by businessmen from Russia, their total value may exceed several billion dollars. Only the Finnish customs on March 22 detained 21 yachts due to suspicions that these vessels may belong to Russian businessmen who fell under sanctions. The authorities of France, Italy, Spain and other European countries report on the mass seizure of yachts.
Of the most high-profile arrests, one can name the 156-meter Dilbar yacht, worth almost 600 million dollars, blocked in Hamburg. ( According to Forbes, owned by Alisher Usmanov ); 85-meter superyacht Valerie in Barcelona, according to the Spanish authorities associated with Sergei Chemezov , who called this information fake ($140 million); 64-meter Lady M worth 65 million euros, which, according to Italian officials, belongs to Alexei Mordashev. The list can go on for a very long time.
Despite this, the oligarchs are in a hurry to bring their yachts to Russia. So far, it is known that only Alexey Mordashev did this , whose 142-meter yacht Nord, worth $ 300 million, arrived in Vladivostok from the Seychelles at the end of March.
The remaining billionaires hide elite ships in other parts of the world. Several yachts have been spotted in Turkey, such as the 73m Clio, which has been linked to Oleg Deripaska . Someone chooses more exotic destinations – Fiji or the Maldives.
The head of the Kaliningrad region is right that the mooring of superyachts would bring tidy sums to local budgets. For example, when the same Dilbar moored in Sochi in 2020, experts calculated that the daily parking rental cost 269,211 rubles per day in the summer and 132,399 rubles from November to April. But, according to political scientist Pavel Salin , Russian oligarchs, despite all the sanctions, do not lose hope that the West will allow them to continue to enjoy the “sweet life”.
One of the main interests of big business that owns yachts, planes and other means of transportation is access to the benefits of the global world and freedom of movement. There is a possibility that if they bring their vehicles to Russia, they will not go anywhere beyond local waters or airspace. As they say, the entrance is a ruble, and the exit is a gold piece.
The Russian oligarchy is trying through detours, through Fiji and the Maldives, to stay on the margins of the global world. They believe that they have a chance to get there, if not through the front door, but through the back door. But how these calculations will be justified will become clear in six months or a year.
As Artur Grokhovsky, editor-in-chief of Yacht Russia magazine , told Free Press , even if Russian oligarchs suddenly had a desire to bring their superyachts home, the technical ability to do this is extremely limited. Simply put, there is nowhere to moor these mega-boats, and building the necessary infrastructure is not a matter of one year.
The only modern large marina that is suitable for yachts of this class, there is only one in Russia – this is the Sochi Grand Marina. There are no marinas in the Baltic suitable for specialized superyachts. Placing a large motor yacht in a Russian port is now very problematic.
Recently Alexey Mordashov’s new yacht Nord entered Vladivostok. Its length is 142 meters. Imagine where you can put it? It is the same length as a destroyer. It is clear that for such vessels there should be a separate water area, a harbor with appropriate piers, infrastructure and everything else. You cannot put such a yacht at an unequipped berth. We have not developed such an infrastructure, so it is extremely difficult to attract ships of this class. But boats 25-30 meters long can be delivered, for example, in St. Petersburg. There is no such special parking in Kaliningrad, but there may be a place for them in the port. Although in general, this will require investment.
“SP”: That is, there is nowhere to moor mega-yachts in Russia?
“Such platforms need to be created. For example, in Kronstadt, the project “City of Ports” is currently being developed, within the framework of which several marinas are to be created. But I don’t know if the authors of the project took into account the possibility of setting yachts of this class.
Such marinas are a rather complicated thing simply because they are large. As a rule, there are no suitable bays, which means that it is necessary to build expensive breakwaters and mooring facilities. This is what is called long money, since such things do not pay off in 7-8 years.
“SP”: And where do the oligarchs keep their superboats?
Turkey is still a fairly safe place. But in the Seychelles, someone’s boat was recently detained. There are also problems in the Pacific Ocean. In general, there are not so many places where you can safely keep megayachts. This is a real problem for the owners of these vessels.
The legality of their arrest is a separate topic for discussion, as is the size of the yachts that are subject to sanctions. It is not entirely clear where this boundary passes. For example, in Finland, more than 20 yachts were detained, but their total cost is only 21 million dollars. That is, these are very small vessels no more than 50-60 feet long, and they were arrested according to the highly likely principle.
SP: In what sense?
“We contacted the manager of the winter marina in Loviisa, and he said that these boats were registered under different flags. There is either no evidence that they belong to the Russians, or they are doubtful. We saw Russians on board, heard Russian speech, and that was already enough. Some international joke.
SP: Returning to the infrastructure in Russia, how difficult will it be to create it?
If we take superyachts out of the picture, compared to the situation five years ago, there is progress in creating infrastructure for yachts in Russia, but there has been no fundamental change. On the one hand, a good place for parking is the Black Sea. But on the other hand, the Caucasian coast and the coast of the Krasnodar Territory do not have natural shelters. There you need to build a marina with hydraulic structures, with breakwaters. And since in the Black Sea great depths begin immediately from the coast, it is very expensive.
This is only possible for the state, and not for a private investor, because for him it is too long a payback period. You can consider a public-private partnership, but I do not see the interests of private traders here.
We are unlikely to succeed in living up to a situation where the state or city will build such a marina for the sake of improving the embankments, and then transfer its operation to a private management company on certain conditions. Now the country has more urgent tasks than the construction of marinas of this level now.
Another good place on the Black Sea is Sevastopol with its bays. But everything there is mainly occupied by the military, and civilian infrastructure also needs to be built practically from scratch. You need to understand that the parking of megayachts is not just a place where you can put a boat. Nearby there should be gas stations, convenient access, all the necessary services for servicing the boat, restaurants. Even such a thing as a beautiful view is important.
We have all this infrastructure on the water is very weak and has barely moved from the initial point of development. So far, the governor’s statements look like Manilov’s dreams. “It would be nice if mega-yachts would come to us and pay a lot of money for parking” … Of course, it’s good, because the parking of such boats is a driver for the growth of the local economy. Barcelona, where there is a huge parking lot of such yachts, makes good money on it. But there is all the infrastructure, the embankment, hotels, restaurants. In Kaliningrad with well-maintained embankments, if you do not take the embankment of the Museum of the World Ocean, everything is still difficult.
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Editors, excuse me, please. I didn’t edit F-word in my comment and it’s on moderation. Don’t punish me hard 😁
I was in Sochi at the marina of yachts just at that time. Usmanov’s Dilbar yacht was impressive.
Yes, the Black Sea coast in my Krasnodar region (I live there) is very specific. Poor bottom relief and lack of natural bays, such as in Turkey on the Mediterranean Sea – there are beautiful bays!
Yes, until 2014 we thought: fuck building and creating when you can buy everything! Here came the bitter realization that now everything will be different.
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