South Africa will allow a Russian oligarch to moor his superyacht in Cape Town as it continues on epic global cruise avoiding Western sanctions

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Alexei Mordashov's Nord superyacht
The $500 million superyacht anchored in Hong Kong in September.

  • A $500 million oligarch-owned superyacht has cruised between the Seychelles, Russia, and Hong Kong.
  • The yacht, owned by sanctioned billionaire Alexei Mordashov, is now headed to Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Cape Town’s mayor and the South African president are at odds over allowing the yacht to dock.

A $500 million superyacht will be allowed to dock in Cape Town, South Africa despite its Russian oligarch owner being sanctioned by the US, UK and EU. 

Nord, the 465-foot vessel owned by billionaire steel magnate Alexei Mordashov, has made multiple stops across the eastern hemisphere since he was sanctioned in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Data from Marine Traffic shows that Nord left the Seychelles in March before staying in Vladivostok, in the Russian far east, until September 28, when it made its way to Hong Kong

At the time, Washington warned Hong Kong against providing a “safe haven” for sanctioned oligarchs, questioning the city state’s reputation as an international financial center.

Nord has now left the city state, and is sailing towards South Africa where it is expected to moor on November 9, Marine Traffic data shows. The yacht’s last reported position was west of Indonesia on Wednesday, per Spire Maritime.

When it arrives in South Africa, it will be allowed to dock, despite outcry from some in the country.

The mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, told the Wall Street Journal that the city could become “a new favorite destination for Russians fleeing sanctions in the rest of the world” if Nord is allowed to dock.

Hill-Lewis also said that he had received conflicting reports as to whether Mordashov is on board his superyacht, but the oligarch’s spokesperson said he remains in Moscow, per the Journal.

The mayor, a member of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance party, added: “South Africa has a moral duty to do what it can to protest unjust war, state terrorism, and the gross violation of human rights.”

However, the country’s government has rejected his call to turn away Nord, which has two helicopter pads and a swimming pool among other luxuries. 

“South Africa has no legal obligation to abide by sanctions imposed by the US and EU,” Vincent Magwenya, a spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said, per the BBC.

“South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations.”

South Africa was among the 35 countries which abstained from a UN resolution in March which demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

Mordashov’s smaller superyacht, Lady M, was seized by Italian authorities in March due to EU sanctions. Bloomberg also reported that Nord changed its flag from Russia to the Cayman Islands in June.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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