UK seizes its first superyacht in UK waters

The UK has seized a superyacht in British waters for the first time as part of the country’s sanctions against Russia. The Phi (IMO 9867748), valued at £38m is owned by an unnamed Russian businessman.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the individual concerned was not currently sanctioned but that he had “close connections” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 58.5-metre vessel was apparently first identified as being potentially Russian-owned on March 13th but its ownership was “deliberately well hidden”, the UK government said. The Department for Transport (DfT) declined to say why it was not naming the individual who owns the yacht. The ship, which was built in the Netherlands, made its maiden voyage last year.

UK officials boarded Phi in Canary Wharf, London on Tuesday. The vessel was in the capital for a superyacht awards ceremony and was due to depart at noon.

Shapps said that “the ship won’t be going anywhere for the time being. People who have benefited from [Mr Putin’s] regime cannot benefit from sailing around London and the UK in ships like this.”

2021-built, Malta-flagged, 499 gt Phi is listed on the Equasis site as sold to undisclosed interests. The Transport Ministry had asserted that its ownership was held through a St Kitts & Nevis-based business. Its recent P&I insurer had the named member as Dalston Projects Ltd, which had been the company behind the three-year build, “Project Phi”.