South Africa says it will welcome sanctioned Russian yacht, but Cape Town not happy

While South Africa’s government has said it had “no reason” to apply the western sanctions brought against Russian tycoon Alexey Mordashov, and that therefore his superyacht Nord was free to dock at its ports, the mayor of Cape Town has shown less enthusiasm at the prospect of the vessel eventually turning up in Cape Town marina.

Mordashov was sanctioned by the EU, the UK and US after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He is alleged to be the beneficial owner of the 142-metre Nord (IMO 9853785), which earlier this week passed north of Banda Aceh, Indonesia on its way from Hong Kong and was scheduled to arrive in Cape Town on or around November 9th.

However, Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, a member of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, has called for the vessel to be denied entry. The South African government, which in March abstained from a UN vote condemning the invasion of Ukraine, rejected the plea.

Vincent Magwenya, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday that “South Africa has no legal obligation to abide by sanctions imposed by the US and EU. We have no reason to prevent their entry into South Africa.”

“South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations,” Magwenya said. “Currently there are no UN-imposed sanctions on the particular individual (Mordashov).”