World’s most expensive sailing superyacht sits abandoned

A Russian oligarch’s $860 million superyacht, seized by Italian police, has sat abandoned in the sea for almost two years.

The boat was nabbed in March 2022 as part of ongoing EU sanctions against Russia amid Vladimir Putin’s failing war in Ukraine.

It has remained stranded in the Trieste Gulf, off the coast of Italy, ever since, The Sun reports.

The superyacht is owned by Russian tycoon and Putin crony Andrey Melnichenko, one of a number of businessmen targeted under war sanctions.

Dubbed Sailing Yacht A, it is among the largest in the world – measuring 100 metres high and 143 metres long.

It underwent testing in Gibraltar in 2017 before it was handed over to Melnichenko.

The boat’s mast is bigger than Big Ben’s Tower by 10 feet and it’s even deemed a medium-sized cargo ship.

It has eight decks, a helicopter pad, an underwater observation room and a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system.

Run by a crew of 54, the yacht also has a digital control system that allows them to raise and lowers the sails and anchor just by swiping.

And it has the power to dash across waves at speeds of up to 20.8 knots.

The unconventional yacht was built by German Naval Yards, in Nobiskrug.

Now it sits impounded in a dry dock with a constant crew of 20 and Italian media reports that the government has spent over £6 million ($11.5 million) keeping it there.

Police cars with flashing lights reportedly swarmed the yacht and boarded it before impounding the vessel in 2022.

Melnichenko owns fertiliser company EuroChem Group and SUEK, a coal company.

He made headlines for his impressive ships when he moored his other £240 million masterpiece, “Motor Yacht A”, on London’s River Thames near Tower Bridge in 2017.

The tycoon is one of the richest men in the world and was one of 37 businessmen who met with Putin after the invasion of Ukraine to discuss potential sanctions.

An EU document described him as belonging “to the most influential circle of Russian businesspeople with close connections to the Russian government”, according to The Guardian.

It went on: “He is therefore involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the government of the Russian Federation, which is responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilisation of Ukraine.”

Both companies said Melnichenko had resigned just days before his yacht was seized in 2022.

A spokesperson for Melnichenko at the time said the businessman had “no relation to the tragic events in Ukraine. He has no political affiliations”.

“There is no justification whatsoever for placing him on the EU sanctions list,” Alex Andreev said.

“We will be disputing these baseless and unjustified sanctions, and believe that the rule of law and common sense will prevail.”

Italian police have apparently seized over $230 million worth of luxury boats and homes owned by Russian billionaires.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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