PHI is one such asset, and its fate remains undetermined as of the time of press. Superyacht watcher and experienced former superyacht crew member eSysman was in London the other day, where PHI is still moored at Canary Wharf, blocked from leaving by two locks and a drawbridge. That same drawbridge was supposedly nonoperational on the day PHI was scheduled to sail out and was back in working order the day after NCA agents boarded it and arrested it.
The peculiar thing about PHI is that its owner, Vitaly Vasilievich Kochetkov, is not on any sanctions list – and neither was the businessman authorities believed was the owner back then, Sergei Georgievich Naumenko. If anything, Kotchetkov is in trouble back home and has been charged with fraud, a go-to practice to get rid of undesirables. As eSysman points out, not all Russians are bad, and PHI’s current situation might be just a political PR stunt.
Politics and geopolitics aside, PHI is a most spectacular build.
Small compared to other Russian-owned superyachts, it’s just 58 meters (192 feet) long, but offers generous interior space. Built by Royal Huisman, it is the largest in its class (under 500 GT), and features a fast displacement hull, a classic and beautiful superstructure, and reportedly outrageous amenities like an infinity wine cellar and a sustainable pool. It was delivered with its own shadow boat, PHI Phantom, a 118-foot (36-meter) vessel fit to carry a tender and boats, a variety of water toys, motorbikes and a car, and extra fuel supplies.
For a better appreciation of just how gorgeous PHI is, here’s a video of it stuck in London.
????BREAKING: Russian superyacht detained.— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) March 29, 2022
I have worked closely with @NCA_UK & the @UKBorder’s Maritime investigation Bureau to intercept the £38m - Phi.
This Government will continue to take robust action against anyone benefiting from connections to Putin’s regime. pic.twitter.com/enp9M2tmBB