German authorities deny reports of seized Russian yachts


German authorities on Thursday denied reports that three yachts belonging to Russian oligarchs had been seized in the port of Hamburg as a result of Western sanctions over Ukraine.

The Handelsblatt daily and other German media reported the seizure of the yachts including the “Dilbar”, the world’s biggest by tonnage and owned by the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

Susanne Meinecke, a spokeswoman for Ham-burg’s economy and innovation authority, said the reports were not true and told AFP: “To my knowl-edge, no yachts have been seized.” However, the vessels are unlikely to leave Hamburg any time soon since all goods transported to Russia from the German port now require individual customs permits.

The “automatic release of goods to Russia” has been stopped, Hamburg economics senator Michael Westhagemann said Tuesday, meaning “no more goods are going out to Russia as of now”.

According to the media reports, the “Dilbar” is currently at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg for repair work.

Blohm+Voss declined to comment when con-tacted by AFP. The 156-metre (512-foot) yacht is valued at $600 million (540 million Euros), according to Forbes, which first reported the news.

German yacht maker Luerssen, which manufac-tured the “Dilbar” describes it as “one of the most complex and challenging yachts ever built”.

The vessel includes a 25-metre swimming pool, “the largest pool ever to have been installed on a yacht”, as well as having two helicopter pads.

Usmanov, 68, has been among dozens of Rus-sian oligarchs hit by punishing Western sanctions over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.—APP


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