Spain Seizes Another Russian Yacht Believed to Belong to an Oligarch


MADRID — Spain, which has pledged to seize the suspected superyachts of Russian oligarchs targeted for sanctions imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on Wednesday impounded the third such vessel, one of the world’s biggest superyachts, in Spanish territorial waters this week.

The ship was impounded in the Spanish port of Tarragona, pending an inspection to establish its exact ownership, Spain’s transport ministry said in a statement. The ship, called the Crescent, was registered in the Cayman Islands.

The Spanish authorities have taken similar measures against two other yachts, the Valerie, which was in a maintenance yard in Barcelona, and Lady Anastasia, a yacht that was moored in Port Adriano, on the Spanish island of Majorca.

Spain’s hunt for Russian-owned superyachts comes after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the seizure of the Valerie on Monday and warned that “there will be more.”

The transport ministry said on Wednesday that if the inspections confirmed that the yachts belonged to people on the sanctions list drawn up by the European Union, they would remain fully immobilized.

The Valerie is suspected of being indirectly owned by Sergei Chemezov, the head of Rostec, a Russian industrial conglomerate that also makes military technology and equipment. The vessel was one of four Russian-owned superyachts that had recently been undergoing work at MB92, a shipyard that has helped establish Barcelona as one of the main hubs for the extravagant yachts owned by the super wealthy.

The Crescent, valued by the SuperYachtFan website at $600 million, appears to be the sister ship of the slightly larger, slightly more expensive Scheherazade, a 459-foot superyacht that U.S. officials said could be associated with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Both were built at the same German shipyard, Lurssen, where the Crescent was given the project name “Thunder,” while the Scheherazade, put into service about two years later, was called “Lightning.” Both share the same interior and exterior designers and have been managed by a Monaco company, Imperial Yachts, which caters to Russian oligarchs.

The two yachts also share another, unusual characteristic: Photos of the Crescent taken on March 13 by a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, Alex Finley, in the Spanish port where it was impounded appear to show that the Crescent conceals its nameplate while in port, just like the Scheherazade.

Track information on the Crescent from MarineTraffic, a maritime data provider, shows that Crescent spends most of its time in the Mediterranean, cruising between Spain, Italy, France and Montenegro, a popular destination for the yachts of Russian oligarchs. The 445-foot long Crescent, one of the 20 largest superyachts, has been at the Tarragona marina since early November.

Last week Italian police said they were investigating the ownership of the Scheherazade, which is in dry dock at a port on the Tuscany coast.

The Lady Anastasia, which was impounded on the island of Mallorca, is believed to be owned by Alexander Mikheev, a Russian arms dealer. In late February, the police on Majorca detained a Ukrainian member of the yacht’s crew because he had been planning to sink the vessel, in retaliation for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He was released on bail, pending an investigation.

In early March, the French authorities seized a yacht in a yard in La Ciotat, which they said was linked to Igor Sechin, the chief executive of the state oil company Rosneft and a former deputy prime minister of Russia. The French yard is owned by MB92, the Spanish company that owns the yard in Barcelona.

MB92 said at the time that it was cooperating with the French authorities and would respond in due course to any possible further sanctions against Russians. “We are continuously monitoring the decisions taken by the Spanish authorities, the European Union and the U.S. as they come into effect,” the company said.


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