Seized Russian Superyacht Amadea Arrives in Hawaii, flying USA Flag
The US has successfully seized and taken procession of their first Russian superyacht. While the EU countries have only impounded yachts of sanctioned Russian oligarchs, the United States is the first to take complete ownership. The yacht has just arrived in Hawaii from Fiji, flying the American flag.
The $325 million Amadea superyacht is allegedly owned by Suleiman Kerimov and was seized by the US authorities in Fiji last month. After a frenzied legal battle, Amadea departed to the United States after a court in Fiji ordered its removal. While Amadea originally operated under the flag of the Cayman Islands, she flew the US flag for her trip to Hawaii. This makes Amadea the first Russian-owned superyacht to get a new flag after being seized by the US, giving the DOJ complete control over the vessel.
Suleiman Kerimov is gold mining billionaire who was sanctioned by the US in 2018 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Millemarin Investment Limited, Amadea’s legal owner, claimed the actual owner wasn’t Kerimov but a Russian who wasn’t on the sanctions list. The Fiji court rejected that claim and the appeal.
Now that the US owns Amandea, the US is also responsible for its upkeep, which is astronomical. Fiji claimed they spent a whopping $5 million to maintain Amandea while it was docked in Lautoka Wharf for nearly five weeks. That works to $172,000 per day, or more than 1% of the country’s GDP. I wondered if they’ll be asking the US to reimburse them?
So what will happen to Amadea now? She will either be auctioned off or sent to the scrapyard and destroyed. Clearly, auctioning it would be the best choice, and the US will want to do it as quickly as possible, or the proceeds of sale may not even cover the maintenance cost.