The other day, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra wrote in a letter to Parliament that a more thorough look at the complex structures of ownership was required, the NL Times reports. At the same time, Hoekstra urged that vessels whose direct beneficiaries are of Russian or Belarusian origin should be held until it is established whether they’re on the sanctions list or not. Russia, Belarus and oligarchs are being sanctioned in response to Russia’s invasion of neighboring country Ukraine.
“The current picture is that a total of 12 yachts are under construction at five of the shipyards for so-called Russian UBOs (ultimate beneficial owners). These are not persons who are named on the European sanctions lists, but given the current measures, these vessels may not be supplied, transferred or exported at this time,” Hoekstra wrote. “Additionally, there are two yachts for maintenance at Dutch yards that have been placed under stricter customs supervision. The connection between one of these yachts with a person named on the European sanction lists is being investigated.”
The same media outlet notes that Dutch authorities have already moved to seize the vessels until their exact ownership is established. Hoekstra said that The Netherlands had so far seized €516 million (approximately $563 million at the current exchange rate) in assets and €155 million ($169 million) in transactions, but without a doubt, the latest decision will also impact the national economy. Several of the world’s biggest luxury shipyards are located here, including Oceanco, Feadship, Damen Shipyards and Heesen.
The five shipyards where the 14 ships are located are fully cooperating with authorities, the report adds.