The crew members of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s superyacht had been fired after Western sanctions restricted salary from being paid to its staff. On Monday, Sarnia Yachts, a yacht-management major that provides crew for the $600-million Dilbar and is based in the UK, said in an email to its staff that usual operations of Dilbar have ceased. It added that it was necessary to dismiss the crew owing to the sanctions.
The West has imposed several massive sanctions on Russia, particularly aimed at crippling the economy and cutting off military funding, to pressure Putin to end his invasion of Ukraine. Besides targeting Russia’s banks, sanctions were also imposed on Russia’s oligarchs and elites, including the seizure of assets like superyachts and private jets.
The EU, US, UK, and Switzerland have sanctioned Usmanov, freezing assets and banning him from entering their respective territories. The EU adds that Usmanov was actively supporting Russia’s policies of destabilizing Ukraine.
Usmanov is worth an estimated $18.4 billion, per UK’s Government. He is also the proud founder of USM Holdings that has interests in mining, telecoms, and metals. His biggest holding is in Russia’s steel major Metalloinvest. The EU has also spoken about his close ties to the Kremlin, referring to him as one of Putin’s beloved oligarchs.
The US declared Usmanov’s Dilbar as a “blocked property,” prohibiting US staff from being employed and bars payment for docking fees in US dollars.
Forbes had published a report that mentioned that Dilbar was seized by Germany’s authorities on 2 March; however, it issued a correction the next day stating that it had not been impounded.
The Ministry for Economy and Innovation of Hamburg informed Bloomberg that Dilbar would not be allowed to leave the port until it receives an export waiver from the federal customs agency of Germany.
The US Treasury has said that the estimated value of Dilbar is between $600 and $735 million. It costs about $60 million every year to run.
Lürssen, its builder, reportedly says that it is the world’s biggest motor yacht in terms of gross tonnage. Dilbar boasts two helicopter pads and has an 82-foot huge swimming pool. Forbes said that the vessel typically has 96 crew members on board; however, Bloomberg had kept the figure at 80.
Sarnia Yachts wrote in the email to the crew that a small number of crew members from Lürssen that owns the Hamburg shipyard where Dilbar was docked for refitting from October, would cater to the security and safety, per Forbes.