In the aftermath of widespread sanctions against Russia and the subsequent seizing of assets that belonged to oligarchs, crew members aboard a $700 million Russian superyacht linked to President Vladimir Putin have all quit amid scrutiny of the luxurious 459-foot vessel.
The “Scheherazade” has been the focus of controversy over the past two weeks while dry-docked in the port of Marina di Carrara in northern Tuscany as officials struggle to identify the yacht’s official owner.
The Russian crew members had been fixtures in the small town since the Lürssen yacht first arrived in the fall of 2020. Local union leaders and workers say the crew abruptly left their posts and fled the coastal town after international investigations into the yacht’s ownership began.
“They were replaced by a British crew,” Paolo Gozzani, the local leader of Italy’s General Confederation of Labor trade union, told the New York Times earlier this week. “I don’t know and don’t care whether the yacht is indeed Putin’s or not, but I worry about the repercussions on shipyard workers if police impound or confiscate the vessel.”
Various shell companies deeply shroud the multimillion-dollar vessel’s actual ownership. US intelligence officials have said they had found initial indications that the flashy superyacht was linked to Putin. Still, they would not go into details on what type of information they had.