The Eurocopter Dauphin AS 365N3, painted the same shade of Shark Blue to match the mothership, cost an estimated $9 million. The Shark Blue paintjob is the most expensive in the world, and costs $1 million a year in repaints. Madame Gu measures 99 meters (234 feet) in length, and boasts accommodation for 12 guests and 36 crew, a helideck that converts into hangar, a spacious gym, elevator and extra-large beach club.
Valued at $156 million, it was delivered to steel billionaire Andrei Skoch, who was first sanctioned by the U.S. on 2018 over fraud allegations, and by the European Union this year, after the start of the war in Ukraine. This month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) included Madame Gu itself on the sanctions list, which means that it could be seized if it’s ever found in U.S. or U.S.-friendly territory.
Of course, that won’t happen. In early March, as the first sanctions went into effect, AIS tracking was turned off as the ship was leaving port in Dubai. It hasn’t been seen on radar since, but reports placed it in or around Dubai.
They are now confirmed by the first photo of Madame Gu moored at Port Rashid, Dubai. The AP says that it’s now flying an Emirati flag and that it’s berthed next to the $200 million Dubawi, owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Satellite data analyzed by the outlet puts Madame Gu in the same location since at least March 25. In other words, it never really left Dubai.
Most Russian oligarch-owned superyachts have found safe haven in countries like Dubai and Turkey, which refuse to take sides in the Russian-Ukranian war so they can continue to take Russian money. Madame Gu is just one such example: a $156 million superyacht of a Russian billionaire that has been successful in avoiding sanctions.
Another Russian oligarch, another superyacht: Owned by steel magnate Andrei Skoch whose fortune is valued at $6.6 billion, the 324-foot Madame Gu with its helicopter pad, gym, beach club and elevator, remains docked in Dubai. By @IsabelDeBre. https://t.co/rDESwguMKI— AP Middle East (@APMiddleEast) June 23, 2022