- The crew of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s superyacht was reportedly laid off on Monday.
- The company that employs the boat said sanctions meant crew wages could not be paid, Forbes reported.
- Usmanov is valued at $18.4 billion and his yacht is valued at $600-$735 million.
The crew of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s 512-foot superyacht have been laid off after Western sanctions prevented wages from being paid to the ship’s employees, multiple outlets reported.
Sarnia Yachts, a UK-based yacht management company that crews the $600 million vessel Dilbar, said in an email to staff on Monday that “the yacht’s normal operations have been suspended” and that the crew had to be released. as a result of the sanctions imposed,” reported Forbes.
The West has imposed massive sanctions on Russia aimed at crippling its economy and cutting funding for its military to pressure President Vladimir Putin to end the invasion of Ukraine. In addition to Russian banks, sanctions have also been imposed on Russian elites and oligarchs, including the confiscation of assets such as private jets and superyachts.
The European Union, the UK, the US and Switzerland have sanctioned Usmanov, frozen his assets and in some cases banned him from entering their territories. The EU says Usmanov “actively supported” the Russian government’s policy to destabilize Ukraine.
Usmanov is worth an estimated $18.4 billion, according to the UK government. He is the founder of USM Holdings, which has interests in metals, mining and telecommunications. Its largest holding is in Russian steel giant Metalloinvest. The European Union says he has “particularly close ties” with the Kremlin and calls him one of “Putin’s favorite oligarchs.”
The U.S. has declared Dilbar a “locked property,” which prohibits U.S. personnel from working on the ship and prohibits paying docking fees in U.S. dollars.
Sarnia said in Monday’s email to employees that the sanctions meant some of the companies supporting Dilbar’s crew “were unable to continue with their normal operations,” Forbes reported. Sarnia added that it was unable to continue paying salaries to the ship’s crew and instead their final wages would be paid by the boat owner, according to Forbes.
“We tried all avenues to find a solution to keep the team in place and protect our positions, but we’ve reached the end of the road of opportunity,” wrote Tim Armstrong, the yacht’s captain, in one Message to crew via Bloomberg.
The US Treasury Department states that the estimated value of Dilbar is between $600 million and $735 million and that it costs an estimated $60 million per year to operate.
Her builder, Lürssen, claims she is the “world’s largest motor yacht by gross tonnage”. The ship is equipped with two helipads and has its own 82-foot swimming pool.
Forbes reported that the ship normally has 96 crew members on board, while Bloomberg put the number at 80.
Sarnia said in the email to the crew that a small number of employees from Lürssen, which owns the Hamburg shipyard where Dilbar has been docked for a refit since October, would be looking after the ship’s “security” instead, per Forbes.
Forbes reported that Dilbar was seized by German authorities on March 2, but issued a correction the following day saying it had not been seized. The Hamburg Authority for Economics and Innovation told Bloomberg that Dilbar was not allowed to leave the port until it had received an export waiver from the German Federal Customs Office.
Lürssen declined to comment. Sarnia Yachts and the Hamburg Authority for Economics and Innovation did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.