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Gas Billionaire’s $150 Million Superyacht Pacific Is Visible Again, Moving Out of Reach

Pacific, a $150 million superyacht that seems to change color depending on how the light hits it, is moving to safety and away from international authorities that might want to seize it. As such, it’s back to broadcasting its location.
Delivered in 2010, the custom Lurssen superyacht Pacific boasts two helipads, extended range, and a color-changing exterior 9 photos
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Since before the start of the war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Russian oligarchs began moving their most expensive assets to friendly territories. Anything that could be moved, from mega- and superyachts to private jets and entire car fleets, was moved, in anticipation of the upcoming economic sanctions. Those who did not get to stow away their assets in advance were left struggling, much like Novatek CEO and oligarch Leonid Mikhelson, one of Russia’s richest men.

In 2010, Mikhelson took delivery of his impressive superyacht Pacific, a custom Lurssen build with impressive range, outstanding amenities, and an exterior that brings a warship to mind. A color-changing warship. Formerly known as Project Josi, Pacific offers accommodation for 12 guests and 28 crew, and can reach a top speed of 20 knots (23 mph / 37 kph).

On May 5, fearing the worst, Mikhelson ordered Pacific to leave Costa Rica, where it had been docked for months, and head towards the Caribbean Sea. On May 8, the ship went dark, turning off the AIS trackers. By international law, all ships of 300 metric tons or more are required to have automatic identification systems (AIS) turned on, for radar detection and collision avoidance.

At the time Pacific “disappeared,” its listed port of destination was Nassau in the Bahamas – a very strange choice considering authorities here work with the U.S. on the issue of seizure of sanctioned oligarchs’ assets. Just in case there was any doubt, all this was a smokescreen: Pacific is back to broadcasting its location, and it’s moving toward Port Said in Egypt. It is now near the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa, Business Insider reports.

In other words, Pacific is moving out of reach, to friendly waters.

“What we're seeing with the oligarchs' yachts is that they're not always on, they kind of go on and off,” John Lusk, COO of analytics firms Spire, explains for the media outlet. “The only reason why you would turn off your AIS transponder is if you don't want to be found [or to] sow confusion.”

In this particular case, both seem to apply. Turning off AIS allowed Pacific to travel in secrecy, and create confusion as to its next destination.


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