It’s a 270-foot (82-meter) tri-deck superyacht estimated at $100 million, built by Blohm and Voss, on a design by H2 Yacht Design, and launched in 2014 after a very long and complicated gestation period. It was commissioned in 2005, and the initial build started at the Russian Sevmash shipyard before it was moved to Germany and damaged on the way, as the hull fell off the carrier during transport.
Graceful is exactly what you’d expect the superyacht of a man like Putin to look like. It has lavish amenities and equally lavish interiors, but specifics were never made public, except for casual mentions that it has a pool that converts into a nightclub, luxury wellness, spa area, or gym. In early February, it was in Hamburg, where it docked in late 2021 for refits. These included adding balconies to certain guest suites and extending the rear swimming platform.
Also then, as Putin was making plans regarding Ukraine, Graceful “fled” Hamburg before construction on it was completed. Its current location is unknown, but, for a short while, it was spotted off the coast of Ukraine’s Snake Island before running aground there.
This was the result of maritime data manipulation by an offshoot of hacker collective Anonymous, Anonleaks, Bloomberg’s Ryan Gallagher reports. Automatic Identification System (AIS) has been used to track commercial ship locations since 2004, but it’s vulnerable to unauthorized manipulations, as was the case here. Anonleaks first renamed Graceful to “FCKPTN,” and changed its course to destination “Hell,” before running it aground on Snake Island, which is now under Russian occupation.
“Russian superyacht, go f**k yourself!” Anonleaks says of the hack, paraphrasing the last words of Ukrainian soldiers before Snake Island fell under Russian control. To Gallagher, the hackers say the operation was meant to put the superyacht under the scope of sanctions, if only temporarily, and “put a little smile on some faces for a short period in these dark times.”
The hackers -- who are affiliated with an Anonymous offshoot called @theanonleaks -- told me they did it by manipulating the maritime "Automatic Identification System," which is used to track ship locations.— Ryan Gallagher (@rj_gallagher) February 27, 2022