Superyacht crew turn against Russian owners
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has led to crew turning their back on and even sabotaging Russian owned superyachts…
At the time of writing, it is the fourth day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the majority of the world is united in its horror and anger at the war. The coverage of this crisis has been unique in terms of scale thanks to the number of journalists on the ground and on social media, as well as the impact and transparency of citizen journalism. It has meant that people around the world have been glued to their screens watching the events unfold in real-time, which has led to some deciding to take measures into their own hands.
Russian UHNWIs are a vital pool of clients for the superyacht industry and, as such, the many superyacht crew members working on Russian-owned vessels are faced with a very uncertain future as practical and ethical dilemmas continue to reveal themselves.
Spanish news publication Diario De Mallorca recently reported on an incident in Port Adriano, Mallorca, whereby a Ukrainian sailor was detained for attempting to sink 48m M/Y Lady Anastasia. The 55-year-old was detained by local police and told the court that the vessel's owner “produces the weapons that attack my country." He also explained in court that he made the decision after seeing the images of a building full of civilians hit by a missile.
The crew member attempted to open the valves that would sink the yacht, as well as close the fuel taps and turned off the electricity while alerting the crew members on board to abandon the ship. He also told them that he took full responsibility for the action. The owner of the yacht has been identified as Alexander Mijeev, CEO of Rosoboronexport, the only state organisation in Russia for exporting the entire range of military, dual-use products and services and technologies.
Elsewhere, a superyacht captain has spoken to SuperyachtNews regarding a decision taken by his whole crew to resign and abandon a 28m superyacht reportedly owned by a 'high up' member of the Russian military. The captain and his three crew members decided to leave the yacht due to a ‘disagreement of ideology and a lack of respect for democracy.’
The captain also said, ‘Before this evil happened, the Russian owner came on the yacht and we took him to Turkey. I had heard that something about this war could happen.’ The Greek captain was a former military professional who decided to leave the army because he didn’t want to be involved in killing people, and so he left for pastures green in the yachting industry. Upon making the connection with the owner and the war in Ukraine, he and his crew made the decision to resign from their positions and leave the yacht.
At this point in time, it is likely that the situation in Ukraine will get much worse before it gets any better. Unverified screenshots from various group conversations on WhatsApp have also suggested that a number of companies in the industry are prepared to cut ties with Russian clients. Only time will tell how the war will impact the superyacht industry and those that work within it.
Nautilus International, the maritime trade union, is urging crew members working on Russian owned vessels to sign up - https://www.nautilusint.org/en/join/
The yachting community have also banded together to create a Go Fund Me, donations will go to families and individuals who have opened their homes to feed crew and others - Go Fund Me
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