Two yachts owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich departed from Falmouth Harbor in Antigua and berthed for several months.
The yachts, the 67-metre-long explorer Garçon and the 55-metre superyacht Halo, have had to stay in Antigua since the end of March after their billionaire owner was hit by British government sanctions for his ties to the president. Russian Vladimir Putin.
According to eSysman SuperYachts, a popular shipping channel dedicated to monitoring the superyacht industry, both vessels have changed flags (modified national registration) from Bermuda to the Cook Islands and left Antigua on Friday.
They said vessels were soon observed to be travelling across the Atlantic towards Morocco.
The channel also noted that vessels were avoiding stopping at Gibraltar – a popular place for refueling etc. – as it is a British Overseas Territory, which means they would be vulnerable to arrest.
It is not yet known whether the ships arrived safely in Morocco or were forced to change their destination.
Attempts to obtain comments from State Department officials about the yacht’s departure were unsuccessful, and no other government officials contacted them about the nature of their departure.
With UK support, the government of Antigua and Barbuda was able to establish in late March/early April that the superyachts were registered with Wenham Overseas Ltd – a company based in the British Virgin Islands whose beneficial owner is Roman Abramovich.
However, Antigua and Barbuda had no criminal sanctions laws, and Abramovich had committed no crimes on the sister islands, so no action could be taken to seize the ship.
Many super yachts, planes and expensive properties have been seized since countries and regions of the world began targeting Putin-linked Russians with sanctions.