Fiji SEIZES Russian billionaire's $436m superyacht

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Police in Fiji have reportedly seized a $436 million superyacht after it arrived at the Pacific island nation without customs clearance on Tuesday.

The 106-metre luxury vessel, named Amadea, belongs to Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov and has been travelling across the Pacific from Mexico where it's thought to have stopped to refuel at the end of last month.

Mr Kerimov has been sanctioned by the US, UK and Europe over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. All crew on board the Amadea have been detained and are being questioned, according to local Fijian reports.

Superyacht Amadea docked at Lautoka port Fiji
The yacht belongs to Russian billionaire, Suleiman Kerimov, who has been sanctioned by the US, UK, and Europe over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. source: Facebook/kacilala.maciu

Fiji ports require all yachts to get approval from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Trade and Transport, and the Immigration Department, The Fiji Times reported on Wednesday

But the yacht failed to get its customs clearance before entering Fiji's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Commissioner of Police, Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho, told the Fiji Sun.

This breach is currently being investigated with the vessel's captain being questioned, an official at the National Police Command and Control Centre confirmed to Reuters.

Last week, marine analytics provider Marine Traffic showed the luxury yacht sailing towards the island nation with plans to dock in Nadi on Tuesday.

At the time there had been no word from the Fiji Government on whether they will allow the vessel into port, or whether it will be seized on docking, as other countries, like those in Europe and the UK, have done.

However, according to local media, Fiji had been alerted to the approach of the Amadea before it moored at Lautoka port.

"We have heard about it [Amadea] but nothing has come to Immigration," Yogesh Karan, permanent secretary for Immigration, said on Tuesday, The Fiji Times reported.

Map of Lautoka port Fiji
The luxury vessel arrived at Lautoka Wharf in Nadi, Fiji on Tuesday. Source: Marine Traffic/Google Maps

US 'committed to finding and seizing assets of oligarchs'

The US embassy was also aware the Amadea had docked in Fiji's Lautoka port and the embassy is cooperating with Fijian authorities on the matter, Reuters confirmed.

"The United States is committed to finding and seizing the assets of the oligarchs who have supported the Russian Federation’s brutal, unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine," the embassy said in a statement.

"We and several of our EU partners have already frozen or seized many assets of these oligarchs. We are working closely with governments and private sector partners in Europe, and the entire world, including Fiji, on this issue."

It's believed that Russian oligarchs like Mr Kerimov are using the Pacific as a back route to their homeland since sanctions in place by the west prohibit them from using usual ports around Europe and the US.

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