Authorities in Gibraltar Seize $75M Russian Superyacht

dunya yachts
Axioma (file image courtesy Dunya Yachts)

Published Mar 22, 2022 10:24 PM by The Maritime Executive

The superyacht Axioma has been detained at the port of Gibraltar after her owner, Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky, was added to U.S. and UK sanctions lists. 

Pumpyansky is the owner of a Russian pipemaking conglomerate, OAO TMK, which provides high-grade materials to Russia's oil and gas sector. Operational control of the company has been transferred to its CEO, Igor Korytko, and the firm itself is not named on Western sanctions lists. It has significant overseas operations, including divisions in the U.S., EU and UAE. 

Axioma is a $75 million superyacht built in 2013, and she is also known by her project name, Red Square. She has accommodations for 12 passengers and 20 crewmembers, and she normally operates in the Mediterranean. At 236 feet in length, she is the largest yacht ever built by a Turkish yard. 

Authorities in the U.S. and in Europe continue to pursue the assets of other Russian billionaires, including additional yachts. American investigators are said to have a particular interest in the $700 million megayacht Scheherazade, which is currently moored Marina di Carrara, Italy. The vessel has been dogged by rumors that it secretly belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The yacht's true owner is not known for certain, and her captain has denied that the vessel is linked to Putin. However, on Monday, an investigative team employed by Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny claimed to have found strong evidence: a copy of Scheherazade's crew list. They claim that the vessel's crew is made up of Russian nationals, save for the captain - and a background check revealed that 10 of them had an employment affiliation with the FSO, Putin's personal security organization. "For some reason they fly to Italy and work on a yacht," said Maria Pevchikh, head of investigative unit of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation. 

Others appear to be slipping beyond the reach of Western authorities. The yacht Nord, which belongs to sanctioned steel magnate Alexei Mordashov, has been spotted transiting eastbound through the Singapore Strait. The yacht Eclipse, which belongs to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, has arrived safely at the port of Marmaris, Turkey. Abramovich's other large yacht, Solaris, is currently moored at the Turkish port of Bodrum. He is sanctioned by the UK, but Turkey has so far opted not to honor Western sanctions regimes against Russia.