Russian billionaire’s $400M yacht impounded due to claims of unpaid bills

Sailing Yacht A (credit: KarleHorn & Waldi)

Well that’s awkward. The largest yacht in the world has been impounded in Gibralter due to claims from the shipbuilder that its owner, Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, owes them more than $16 million.

That would seem to be a small drop in the bucket considering Melnichenko reportedly spent more than $400 million building the ship. It is 468 feet long with masts that reach 300 feet high (about the same height as the Statue of Liberty), and has a helipad, onboard swimming pool, and underwater observation pod.

The boat, called Sailing Yacht A, was on its way to being delivered from the builder, Nobiskrug, to Melnichenko when it was arrested.

Nobiskrug is claiming that Melnichenko owes them more than $10 million in unpaid costs, plus an additional $6 million for subcontractors and interest charges. A spokesperson for Melnichenko says he was “astonished” by the arrest, and claims that the money is en route to Nobiskrug.

“The facts are that with a project of this magnitude there are sometimes outstanding issues to be resolved,” he told YachtHarbour.com. “We assumed the matter was progressing to a resolution as Nobiskrug were happy to release the yacht on 5 February to the owner’s project team for further works to be carried out in Spain. The money was paid by the owner the following day into an escrow account pending a resolution of the discussions. All monies now being claimed are in arbitration and we understand these disputes fall under arbitration in the UK courts.”

He went on to say that the “technical problem” would be resolved soon and the ship would be able to leave in a few days. [Yacht Harbour]

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