The United States has successfully seized and taken possession of its first Russian superyacht. While other countries have only impounded yachts of sanctioned Russian oligarchs, the United States is the first to take legal ownership. The yacht started its journey in Fiji, where it was seized, and then sailed to Hawaii to refuel before sailing off to San Diego. It is now docked at the Port of San Diego National City Marine Terminal, proudly displaying the US flag.
The $300 million Amadea superyacht is allegedly owned by Suleiman Kerimov and was seized by the US authorities in Fiji last month. After a frenzied legal battle, Amadea departed to the United States after a court in Fiji ordered its removal. While Amadea originally operated under the flag of the Cayman Islands, she flew the US flag for her trip to the United States. This makes Amadea the first Russian-owned superyacht to get a new flag after being seized by the US, giving the DOJ complete control over the vessel.
Suleiman Kerimov is gold mining billionaire who was sanctioned by the US in 2018 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Millemarin Investment Limited, Amadea’s legal owner, claimed the actual owner wasn’t Kerimov but a Russian who wasn’t on the sanctions list. The Fiji court rejected that claim and the appeal.
Now that the US owns Amandea, the US is also responsible for her upkeep, which is astronomical. The trip from Fiji to San Diego consumed almost 65,000 gallons of diesel fuel. That’s almost $400K in fuel cost alone. Amadea’s support and maintenance is reported to cost between $25 million to $30 million a year.
So what will happen to Amadea now? She will stay at the National City Marine Terminal while the US starts the long legal process of preparing her to either be auction off or sent to the scrap yard and destroyed. In the mean time, if you’re in San Diego, you can go down to the bay and see her live. Here’s a video of her sailing into San Diego Bay.