Politics

Roman Abramovich brazenly flies Bermuda’s red ensign on his two superyachts

Roman Abramovich has been brazenly crusing his two superyachts underneath Red Ensign flags giving them British safety on the excessive seas – regardless of dealing with UK sanctions.

The under-fire oligarch has each his luxurious yachts – collectively estimated to be value almost £1.2 billion – registered within the British abroad territory of Bermuda.

It entitles them to fly Bermuda’s model of the historic Red Ensign flag – that includes the Union Jack in a prime nook and representing Britain’s proud maritime historical past.

Abramovich faces having his yachts seized in the event that they stray in to UK waters after he was sanctioned by the British authorities final Thursday over his hyperlinks to President Putin.

But bizarrely the Red Ensign registration means he can take pleasure in a spread of advantages from the UK together with British consular help and safety of the Royal Navy.

The UK’s official Government web site states: ‘The Red Ensign, is one of the most admired and well known emblems on the high seas with every vessel sporting it under the protection of the Royal Navy’.

It provides that ships crusing underneath the flag can take pleasure in ‘international tax breaks’ and ‘British consular support for ships in foreign docks’.

The guidelines imply that Abramovich may even technically ask for the help of the British authorities if his yachts are threatened with ‘sanctions’ by one other nation.

MailOnline noticed a 6ft-wide Red Ensign fluttering on the stern of the oligarch’s 460ft yacht Solaris whereas it was anchored on Monday within the ‘safe haven’ port of Tivat in Montenegro. 

Roman Abramovich's super yacht Solaris sailing in the natural harbour of Tivat, Montenegro. That and another of his yachts are registered in the British overseas territory of Bermuda

Roman Abramovich’s tremendous yacht Solaris crusing within the pure harbour of Tivat, Montenegro. That and one other of his yachts are registered within the British abroad territory of Bermuda

Abramovich registered his Solaris yacht in the British overseas territory of Bermuda which entitles him to to fly Bermuda¿s version of the historic Red Ensign flag

Abramovich registered his Solaris yacht within the British abroad territory of Bermuda which entitles him to to fly Bermuda’s model of the historic Red Ensign flag

Bermuda¿s version of the historic Red Ensign flag features the Union Jack in a top corner and represents Britain¿s proud maritime history

Bermuda’s model of the historic Red Ensign flag options the Union Jack in a prime nook and represents Britain’s proud maritime historical past

The Red Ensign registration means Abramovich can enjoy a range of benefits from the UK including British consular assistance and protection of the Royal Navy. Pictured: a Red Ensign flag on the Solaris yacht's tender

The Red Ensign registration means Abramovich can take pleasure in a spread of advantages from the UK together with British consular help and safety of the Royal Navy. Pictured: a Red Ensign flag on the Solaris yacht’s tender

Abramovich¿s second superyacht Eclipse which is even bigger at 533ft and reportedly worth more than £750m is currently heading east across the Mediterranean as the oligarch seeks to protect his assets. It also flies the red flag (pictured)

Abramovich’s second superyacht Eclipse which is even greater at 533ft and reportedly value greater than £750m is at present heading east throughout the Mediterranean because the oligarch seeks to guard his belongings. It additionally flies the red flag (pictured)

Three crew members of Solaris motored 400 yards to shore to pick up a visitor and take him on board

A crew member with a Solaris branded beanie hat

Three crew members, pictured carrying Solaris branded clothes (proper), motored 400 yards to shore to select up a customer (left) and take him on board

As sanctions enhance and protected havens cut back, Roman’s planes and boats are heading for locations the place they can’t be seized. The oligarch was final seen in Israel however may now be in Moscow

A photograph obtained by Reuters on Monday afternoon showed a grey Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea Football Club, sitting in the lounge with a face mask pulled down over his chin, about to leave Tel Aviv airport as the EU decided to follow the UK and sanction him

{A photograph} obtained by Reuters on Monday afternoon confirmed a gray Roman Abramovich, proprietor of Chelsea Football Club, sitting within the lounge with a face masks pulled down over his chin, about to go away Tel Aviv airport because the EU determined to comply with the UK and sanction him

Solaris is at present crusing south within the Ionian having simply handed Kefalonia.

Up to a dozen crewmen had been earlier seen working simply yards away from the enduring flag as they used hoses and mops to swab down decks coated in salt spray.

A smaller model of the flag was additionally on the yacht’s tender when three crew members motored 400 yards to shore to select up a customer and take him on board.

The £430m Solaris arrived in Tivat on Saturday after hurriedly leaving Barcelona on Tuesday as the specter of sanctions loomed in opposition to Russian-born Abramovich.

It is believed that he needed to maneuver his yacht out of western European waters due to the danger of it being seized, though he had nonetheless not been sanctioned on the time by the EU.

Ian Hodge, the chairman of the Merchant Navy Association charity at present described the flying of the Red Ensign on Solaris as an ‘embarrassment’.

He known as for the yacht to be de-registered by the Bermudan authorities to forestall it from displaying the well-known flag.

Mr Hodge stated: ‘I feel it should be re-registered somewhere else, and it should be required to fly an appropriate flag, not the Red Ensign.

‘I believe that the Red Ensign should be removed from the yacht as soon as possible, but it is a matter for the authorities in Bermuda.

‘The Red Ensign has always been held in great esteem, not only in the UK, but throughout the world.

‘A British masters’ ticket was once required for Red Ensign vessels which was probably the most superior masters’ ticket on this planet, however this has now been relaxed.’

Mr Hodge whose charity represents 3,000 former seafarers stated it was a requirement for the Red Ensign to be displayed on the poop of a vessel when in port.

A smaller model of the flag is normally flown from the mast or above the bridge when a ship or yacht is crusing in or out of port.

A British vacationer on the shore, stated: ‘It’s unbelievable that the yacht is flying a flag displaying a Union Jack when it’s successfully on the run from the UK.

‘Someone should make Abramovich or his crew take it down. It is an insult to Britain to have it flying when we have sanctioned him.’

The flying of Bermuda’s Red Ensign on the Abramovich yachts has attracted protests within the UK’s former colony which has the Queen as its head of state.

Bermuda resident Frank Morgan stated the persevering with registration of the yachts on the island was at odds with the territory’s assist for the folks of Ukraine.

Writing in a letter to Bermuda’s Royal Gazette newspaper, he described Abramovich as being ‘an absurdly wealthy sycophant’ of Putin and his ‘loyal henchman’.

He stated that the flying of Bermuda’s Red Ensign on the oligarch’s yachts ‘ought to offend many Bermudians’ following the Russian invasion.

Mr Morgan wrote ‘The Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority should cancel Abramovich’s yacht registrations instantly, plus some other registrations related to Russian oligarch-owned yachts.

‘And no ship owned by a Putin crony should ever be permitted to stain Bermuda’s blue waters.’

The billionaire's superyacht Solaris was seen off Tivat, Montenegro, earlier this week, but amid a seizure threat it is now motoring towards Turkey

The billionaire’s superyacht Solaris was seen off Tivat, Montenegro, earlier this week, however amid a seizure risk it’s now motoring in the direction of Turkey

Eclipse was last seen off Gibraltar five days ago (pictured) - now it is motoring in the Med past Libya and Tunisia

Eclipse was final seen off Gibraltar 5 days in the past (pictured) – now it’s motoring within the Med previous Libya and Tunisia 

Abramovich is worth up to £12billion and owns a £150m Kensington mansion, a £22m penthouse, and more than £1.2bn of yachts, private jets, helicopters and supercars based in Britain and around the world. He now cannot sell any of them

Abramovich is value as much as £12billion and owns a £150m Kensington mansion, a £22m penthouse, and greater than £1.2bn of yachts, personal jets, helicopters and supercars primarily based in Britain and around the globe. He now can’t promote any of them

He was pictured shortly before shortly before a jet linked to him took off for Istanbul, but it was not immediately clear whether he boarded the flight

He was pictured shortly earlier than shortly earlier than a jet linked to him took off for Istanbul, nevertheless it was not instantly clear whether or not he boarded the flight

The Red Ensign which is affectionately referred to as the Red Duster has been proudly flown by British service provider and passenger ships since 1707, however its use dates again to the 1600s.

The flag is flown by ships registered within the UK’s Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey, and Overseas Territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

The Red Ensign Group which represents the UK-linked delivery registries is operated by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency, underneath the authority of Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport.

The MCA is answerable for guaranteeing all of the registries comply with strict high quality and security requirements required underneath UK legislation.

The Red Ensign Group web site says the UK Government additionally supported the registries by ‘providing expertise’ for accident investigation, counter air pollution work, and coordinating emergency responses.

In an announcement which seems at odds with the Government’s choice to sanction Abramovich and to place his yachts underneath risk of seizure, the web site provides that the Red Ensign Group additionally provides ‘advice on sanctions, diplomatic or Port State Control intervention where REG vessels may be unnecessarily detained’.

The Solaris which has a helipad and its personal missile detection system had been present process repairs within the port of Barcelona earlier than abruptly being moved final week.

Staff are stated to have been instructed to tear down scaffolding so it may make a fast getaway.

Ship monitoring web sites confirmed the yacht heading round Sicily into the Adriatic for an unknown vacation spot, earlier than the crew up to date its vacation spot as being Tivat.

The yacht slipped away from Tivat late Monday afternoon shortly earlier than diplomatic sources revealed that the EU had determined so as to add Abramovich to its checklist of sanctioned oligarchs.

Montenegro isn’t within the EU, though it’s anticipated to hitch in 2025, and the port of Tivat continues for use by a number of Russian superyacht house owners.

The nation signed as much as EU sanctions in opposition to Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, placing Solaris liable to being seized if it had stayed within the port.

MailOnline saw a 6ft-wide Red Ensign fluttering at the stern of the oligarch¿s 460ft yacht Solaris while it was anchored on Monday in the ¿safe haven¿ port of Tivat in Montenegro

MailOnline noticed a 6ft-wide Red Ensign fluttering on the stern of the oligarch’s 460ft yacht Solaris whereas it was anchored on Monday within the ‘safe haven’ port of Tivat in Montenegro

The Red Ensign rules mean that Abramovich could even technically ask for the assistance of the British government if his yacht is threatened with ¿sanctions¿ by another country

The Red Ensign guidelines imply that Abramovich may even technically ask for the help of the British authorities if his yacht is threatened with ‘sanctions’ by one other nation

Abramovich’s second superyacht Eclipse which is even greater at 533ft and reportedly value greater than £750m is at present heading east throughout the Mediterranean because the oligarch seeks to guard his belongings. The Eclipse is heading east within the Med having not too long ago handed Sardinia. Destinations for each Abramovich’s ships are unknown, however they could be going to Turkey, which doesn’t have any sanctions working.

The Eclipse normally spends a lot of the winter within the Caribbean the place Abramovich has a house on the billionaire playground island of St Barts.

But the yacht has been in worldwide waters since leaving St Maarten, round 20 miles from St Barts, on February 21 as Putin gathered his forces to invade Ukraine.

Chelsea FC proprietor Abramovich was noticed in Tel Aviv airport on Monday earlier than he took a flight on his personal jet to Istanbul.

The similar jet left Istanbul within the early hours at present and flew to Moscow, in keeping with flight tracker information, though it has not been confirmed that Abramovich was on board.

Superyachts owned by different oligarchs have been dispersed to places together with the Maldives, Seychelles and Turkey to forestall them being seized.

French and Italian authorities not too long ago seized 4 yachts value greater than £600m on suspicion that they had been finally owned by associates of Putin.

The costliest is a £444m vessel known as Sy A – brief for Sailing Yacht A – which was impounded by Italian authorities within the port of Trieste final Friday.

The three-masted yacht is owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko who owns the EuroChem Group, a serious fertiliser producer, and the coal company SUEK.

France detained Amore Vero, a 280ft superyacht stated to be owned by Igor Sechin, within the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat.

Sechin, who can also be dealing with sanctions, is the chief government of the Russian oil producer Rosneft and an in depth ally of Putin. Amore Vero, which implies ‘true love’ in Italian, can accommodate 14 friends and 28 crew.

Italian authorities in Samremo impounded Lena, a 134ft yacht owned by Putin affiliate Gennady Timchenko, who has an estimated $21bn fortune held in Russian uncooked supplies firms.

Lady M, a 209ft yacht owned by Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov who’s the principle shareholder of Russia’s largest metal and mining company, was seized within the close by Ligurian port of Imperia.

French police, who boarded the vessel at evening stated the crew had been ‘making arrangements to leave in a hurry, without having completed the planned work’.

Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich, pictured, has fallen under sanctions - but he has a close connection with Israel, winning citizenship there in 2018

Chelsea’s Russian proprietor Roman Abramovich, pictured, has fallen underneath sanctions – however he has an in depth reference to Israel, profitable citizenship there in 2018

Abramovich's lawyers said there is no basis for alleging he amassed wealth through criminality

Abramovich’s attorneys stated there isn’t any foundation for alleging he amassed wealth by way of criminality

Dilbar, the world’s largest superyacht by gross tonnage, which is alleged to be owned by former main Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, was reported to have been seized in Hamburg.

But German authorities later clarified that the 511ft vessel, which has been valued at $600m, had not been impounded however required an export waiver to go away the port.

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps has stated the UK authorities will detain any yachts suspected of being Russian-owned in the event that they entered UK waters

The Bermuda-flagged Solaris was constructed for Abramovich by German yard Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven and was solely launched final year.

The yacht which has a crew of 60 with eight decks, cabins for 36 friends, a health club, sauna, jacuzzi and a swimming pool that may be transformed right into a dance flooring.

It additionally has a flotilla of 20 high-speed jet-skis and a minimum of one helicopter to ferry friends from ship to shore, and a rumoured personal submarine.

Both Solaris and Eclipse are thought to have a sequence of safety measures to guard in opposition to pirates, kidnappers or particular forces from hostile states.

Eclipse is even stated to have a particular anti-paparazzi system with the capability to focus on the photosensitive components on digital cameras, and disable them with a laser.

As properly radar-controlled missile detection methods, the yachts are additionally thought to have bulletproof home windows and armoured safety round their wheelhouses and important cabins.

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