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The Crew On Board Russian Gold Tycoon’s Superyacht Refused to Sail With U.S. Authorities

Amadea has definitely won its place in the superyachts’ hall of fame – this mammoth pleasure craft worth over $300 million had such a complicated fate over the past couple of months that even a movie script wouldn’t match it. Even what seemed to be the end turned out to be more challenging than expected – the U.S. may have finally obtained the legal right to sail it, but the ship’s crew stayed put.
Amadea was seized by the U.S. in Fiji, but its crew refused to sail with U.S. authorities 7 photos
Amadea SuperyachtAmadea SuperyachtAmadea SuperyachtAmadea SuperyachtAmadea SuperyachtAmadea Superyacht
It’s probably safe to say that no other Russian oligarch-linked superyacht faced as many twists and turns as Amadea. After having crossed the Pacific trying to find a safe haven, like so many other superyachts in the same predicament, the massive 348-footer (106 meters) built by Lurssen for one of the wealthiest Russians ended up stuck in Fiji for weeks, as authorities tried to figure out its ownership.

It was finally proven in court that Suleiman Kerimov, a gold magnate and a billionaire who had also been sanctioned by the U.S. back in 2018, was indeed the superyacht’s owner, so the U.S. authorities were given the green light to take Amadea away from Fiji. But there was yet another bump in the road. According to Business Insider, citing court documents obtained by CBS News, the onboard crew “refused to sail” with the U.S. authorities.

The reason for that? Apparently, fierce loyalty. The crew believed that its employment contract prevailed over law enforcement and that breaching it would give it a bad reputation in the industry. Considering the yacht’s saga and the international context, reputation seems like a small thing to worry about. But not for this crew.

Another important aspect is that the crew members hadn’t been paid since the owner’s assets were frozen. Meanwhile, millions of dollars were being pumped into the yacht for its maintenance alone, which was starting to become a serious burden for local authorities.

It’s true that the crews onboard these targeted superyachts have had to face the collateral damage of the owners being sanctioned. Ragnar’s crew infamously resorted to fishing in local waters after the local suppliers in Norway refused to refuel the vessel. Amadea’s crew had to cross the Pacific and then remain stuck in Fiji for weeks without getting paid. They drew the line when it came to sailing with U.S. authorities “to an unknown destination.

The only solution was to get a new crew on board, but even that was no easy task. Amadea’s captain opposed that as well, stating that the new crew members lacked “proper vetting.” All in all, seizing one of the largest and most opulent superyachts in the world was a battle for the U.S. from start to finish. And the finish line still isn’t very clear.


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