UPDATE, APRIL 26, 2022: Flying Fox departed the Dominican Republic, with permission, on April 22. She’s currently at sea, with no destination listed via AIS. No government officials have revealed the reason why she was searched or detained last month. We further contacted U.S. Homeland Security for an update, since its officials boarded Flying Fox in the country with Dominican officials. We did not receive a response to our request for comment.
Read on for our original article.
U.S. officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security searched the superyacht Flying Fox in the Dominican Republic on March 25. The yacht remains docked in the city of Santo Domingo, a few days after she’d planned to depart. Dominican customs and immigration officials are allegedly detaining her in conjunction with Homeland Security until further notice.
According to AIS records and the local port authority, Flying Fox arrived in the Dominican Republic on March 21. The port authority indicates that initially, she intended to stay through March 25. However, that same morning, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) representatives arrived at the yacht and boarded her, reportedly conducting a search. HSI is the primary investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security. It looks into international crime and threats, specifically organizations exploiting the global infrastructure supporting international trade, travel, and finance.
Local media have cited anonymous sources informing them that the yacht cannot depart the country. Furthermore, they published photos of the Dominican Republic’s Minister of the Presidency, Lisandro Macarrulla, aboard Flying Fox hours prior to the HSI boarding.
We reached out to the HSI for comment yesterday, requesting confirmation of the boarding. Additionally, we requested clarification of whether the yacht is officially under arrest or is being detained. A representative stated we would have a response by the end of the day. However, we did not receive information by press time.
The 446-foot (136-meter) Flying Fox saw delivery from Lürssen in 2019. She has chartered through the central agency of Imperial Yachts since then. The yacht complies with the Passenger Yacht Code governing superyachts with more than 12 passengers. Therefore, she can accommodate a party of 25 in 11 staterooms. Additionally, she has a nearly 4,308-square-foot (400-square-meter), two-level spa. Just last summer, entertainers Beyonce and Jay-Z chartered her in the Med for her birthday. They shared photos of their vacation on their social media accounts, too.