Government seizes 192ft superyacht moored in Canary Wharf

Government seizes 192ft superyacht moored in Canary Wharf: £38m vessel owned by mystery Russian businessman with ‘infinite wine cellar’ and fresh-water swimming pool is first to be grabbed by UK

  • UK officials boarded Phi – named after the mathematical concept – in Canary Wharf, east London, on Tuesday
  • Vessel, which was due to depart at noon, is first to be detained in Britain as part of sanctions against Russia
  • Grant Shapps said an ‘icon of Russia’s power and wealth’ was turned into a ‘clear and stark warning to Putin’
  • Phi – a vibrant bright blue super-yacht – is double the size of the other boats docked around it at Canary Wharf  

A 192ft superyacht owned by a Russian businessman with an ‘infinite wine cellar’ and fresh-water swimming pool has been seized in east London as part of sanctions against Russia, Grant Shapps has announced.

UK officials boarded £38million Phi – named after the mathematical concept – in Canary Wharf on Tuesday. The vessel is the first to be detained in Britain under sanctions imposed due to the war in Ukraine.

Phi made her maiden voyage last year after being built in the Netherlands. The vessel was in London for a superyacht awards ceremony and was due to depart at noon today.

The Transport Secretary said: ‘Today we’ve detained a £38 million superyacht and turned an icon of Russia’s power and wealth into a clear and stark warning to Putin and his cronies.

‘Detaining the Phi proves, yet again, that we can and will take the strongest possible action against those seeking to benefit from connections to Putin’s regime.’

UK officials boarded £38million Phi – named after the mathematical concept – in Canary Wharf on Tuesday. The vessel is the first to be detained in Britain under sanctions imposed due to the war in Ukraine

Phi made her maiden voyage last year after being built in the Netherlands. The vessel was in London for a superyacht awards ceremony and was due to depart at noon today

Mr Shapps said: ‘Today we’ve detained a £38 million superyacht and turned an icon of Russia’s power and wealth into a clear and stark warning to Putin and his cronies’

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it worked with the National Crime Agency and the Border Force Maritime Investigation Bureau to identify and detain the vessel.

It refused to reveal the name of her owner, stating that he is ‘a Russian businessman’. The department described Phi’s ownership as ‘deliberately well hidden’.

It follows two private jets belonging to Eugene Shvidler, a billionaire oil businessman, being seized by UK authorities on Saturday after he was sanctioned over ties with his business partner Roman Abramovich.

Phi’s owner is not currently subject to UK sanctions. But, under current regulations, a ship owned, controlled, chartered or operated by persons connected with Russia may be subject to a detention direction by the Transport Secretary.

Intelligence work by the Cell – supported by colleagues from Border Force Maritime Intelligence Bureau – identified the ultimate owner of the vessel.

The information was passed to Mr Shapps who today ordered the first ever detention of a superyacht in UK waters. As a result NCA officers issued the notice of detention. 

Mr Shapps (above) said: ‘It was here for refit, won’t be going anywhere, and it’s just another indication that we will not stand by whilst Putin’s cronies are allowed to sail around the world in these kinds of yachts and people in Ukraine are suffering’

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it worked with the National Crime Agency and the Border Force Maritime Investigation Bureau to identify and detain the vessel

She is registered to a company based in the Caribbean dual-island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and carries a Maltese flag

Andy Devine, of the NCA, said: ‘Today’s activity demonstrates the NCA’s ability to react at pace. 

‘We have surged officers to establish the Combatting Kleptocracy Cell, and the results of this are already bearing fruit.

‘The NCA plays a vital role in targeting suspect assets, pursuing enablers of illicit wealth and supporting government partners in the delivery of the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.’

Phi – a vibrant bright blue super-yacht – is 192ft long and features what is described as an ‘infinite wine cellar’ and a freshwater swimming pool. She is double the size of the other boats docked around it at Canary Wharf.

She is registered to a company based in the Caribbean dual-island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and carries a Maltese flag.

Phi – a vibrant bright blue super-yacht – is 192ft long and features what is described as an ‘infinite wine cellar’ and a freshwater swimming pool. She is double the size of the other boats docked around it at Canary Wharf

Phi’s owner is not currently subject to UK sanctions. But, under current regulations, a ship owned, controlled, chartered or operated by persons connected with Russia may be subject to a detention direction by the Transport Secretary

The DfT said it is ‘looking at a number of other vessels’ and hopes its ‘strong stance sends an example to international partners’. 

Mr Shapps said: ‘Now the ship is being held, it won’t be going anywhere.

‘It was here for refit, won’t be going anywhere, and it’s just another indication that we will not stand by whilst Putin’s cronies are allowed to sail around the world in these kinds of yachts and people in Ukraine are suffering.

‘When you see what he’s doing to Ukraine, when you see what he’s doing to people’s lives, it can’t be right to have a yacht like this here in London, able to just sail away and that is why we’ve impounded it, and denied it ability to go anywhere right now, and it’s another indication of how seriously we take these matters.’

Source: Read Full Article