Weeks after declaring an oligarch’s yacht was seized in Fiji, the U.S. still doesn’t have it
, 2022-05-27 02:00:00,
Two days after the Department of Justice announced it assisted Fijian police in seizing a $300 million yacht allegedly owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch, those same police ordered American authorities to leave the ship, according to court documents.
U.S. efforts to seize and sell the 348-foot Amadea, a helipad-topped vessel purportedly owned by gold mining billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, have been hampered by disagreements with the ship’s crew and legal maneuvering by its owner, according to the documents filed in a Fiji court.
Those disagreements came to a head on the morning of May 7, when U.S. law enforcement and a maritime contractor it hired boarded the ship around 9:30 a.m. and demanded the captain “immediately handover the Amadea with all available key personnel,” according to a sworn affidavit from the captain, filed in Fiji court on May 24.
Captain John Walsh, a British national, wrote in the affidavit that he, “politely informed U.S. officials and contractors we were unable to assist.”
Walsh wrote that the crew’s workload had been reduced to “watchkeeping and emergency responsibilities only” because the ship owner’s assets — needed to pay the crew — had been frozen. He added that crewmembers feared cooperating with the U.S., in breach of their contracts with the ship’s owner, would damage their reputations in the yachting industry.
“In short, the current crew of the Amadea are refusing to sail on the Amadea with the U.S….
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