Russian Super Yachts Need Warm Waters

Russian Super Yachts Need Warm Waters
Russian Super Yachts Need Warm Waters

The luxury of owning a super yacht is tied directly to its motoring and sailing playground, which, in Europe, happens mostly around the warm Mediterranean waters. The Russian super yachts need warm waters because Russia claims mostly frigid and icy ports that are unsuitable for their habitat. This makes the Russian super yachts pretty much obsolete, even if they evade the sanctions Europe has imposed on their owners. The Mediterranean to a super yacht is what a baseball is to a pitcher.

So even if few of these yachts escape the sanctions, evading them makes these yachts as useless as if Europe has detained them. Eventually, their owners would have to sell them to an entity that could only pay in declining Russian Rubles or the limited convertibility of Chinese Yuans. Even then, the EU might slap the buying entity with sanctions in order to enforce its laws.

Besides the Mediterranean, these yachts could seek the Black See as their new playgrounds. The problem, though, is they must first cross the Bosphorus via Istanbul. A 1936 Pact gives Turkey control over Russian ships crossing its straits, but whether this applies to returning civilian yachts is undetermined.

In addition, black sea ports are no St. Tropez. Think of a luxury yacht roaming the black sea as if LeBron James plays at a high school level for the rest of his career.

So while the EU can claim holding 16 Russian-owned super yachts, in reality, the EU has pretty much made all of the yachts of the Russian oligarchs inoperative and worthless.

16 SUPER YACHTS AND COUNTING

MSN published a list of 16 yachts Europe has apprehended so far under the imposed sanctions. Estimates of their total value vary, but the value of one sailing super yacht the oligarch Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko own stands at $578m.

Whether some of the super yachts are detained or not, it’s all the same. No more caviar for breakfast while mooring in Monaco.

Some yachts have docked in places like the Maldives, which has no extradition treaty with the EU. But that limits their mobility to an infinitely obsolescent point. What use would these super yachts have for their owners if they go in the same circumference circle of a dingy? Because of their mobility, this limited use makes a difference.

Eventually, these yachts would have to cross waters under the EU control because of maintenance, which incidentally include paying their crew in Euros or Dollars out of Russian banks most likely unwilling to flaunt openly the sanctions.

So while the EU can claim holding 16 Russian-owned super yachts, in reality, the EU has pretty much made all of the yachts of the Russian oligarchs inoperative and worthless.

Freezing their [Russian top military and security] bank accounts might just create a Russian Schauffenberg to stop Putin from butchering more civilians.

GROUNDING THEIR JET FLEET TOO

Besides their yachts for leisure, the oligarchs in Russia rely on their private jets for luxury travel. In the aftermath of Airbus and Boeing sanctions, their jets are pretty much grounded for now for lack of service and maintenance.

But don’t let the oligarchs fool you for they will try and break these sanctions by buying the parts from a third party willing to run the risk for a quick buck. Look for countries like Venezuela or Cuba to lend Russia a hand in that department. The likelihood that the US might turn a blind eye to Boeing selling their parts on the black market is pretty high. Who is going to blow the whistle on errant capitalism?

The same goes for Airbus spare parts; although the EU countries are taking the invasion of Ukraine more seriously. Putin, after all, is knocking on their doors.

If operational, they become flying taxis between Russia and Belarus. No one else would welcome these jets.

Generally speaking, the sanctions against the oligarchs are making their lives more difficult. However, knowing they have no say affecting Putin’s marching orders, one can say there is a limit to how effective these sanctions are; other than to squeeze Putin’s friends and enablers.

What we need is to actually sanction the top military and security echelons of Putin’s authoritarian rule to include their family members. Freezing their bank accounts might just create a Russian Schauffenberg to stop Putin from butchering more civilians.

Russian Super Yachts Made for Warm Waters

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