One of the largest superyachts in the world is also blocked property, a.k.a. frozen. How, then, can the sanctioned yacht Flying Fox be booking charters, the same way she did before the restrictions? The answers lie in international laws, and differing recognition of them.
The 446-foot (136-meter) Flying Fox offered charters in the Mediterranean and Caribbean after delivery in 2019. Twenty-two guests had 11 suites and five decks to enjoy. Guests like singers-songwriters Beyonce and Jay-Z shared photos aboard during their trips, giving glimpses of life aboard. Amenities like multiple terraces and a pool nearly the full 74-foot (22.5-meter) beam allowed commanding a €3-million ($3.3-million) weekly charter rate. So, too, did an interior with ample rooms, including an atrium, and tactile finishes.
This all changed, however, in 2022. That June, the U.S. Treasury Department added Flying Fox to its sanctions list, among multiple superyachts. At the time, the Treasury Department claimed Imperial Yachts, which managed her, was aligned with the Kremlin and held an interest in her. It further accused Imperial Yachts’ CEO of operating in the Russian government economy’s marine sector. (Imperial Yachts, which has since shut down, denied the claims, saying it complied with all laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which it operated.)
Although the Treasury Department designated the yacht as blocked property, this doesn’t mean it stripped Flying Fox from her owner. Nor does it mean the yacht can’t purchase goods or conduct business—even though Flying Fox hasn’t booked charters in nearly two years. Rather, blocking, a.k.a. freezing, means U.S. citizens and permanent U.S. resident aliens cannot engage in financial transactions with sanctioned people or assets.
Furthermore, even as a sanctioned yacht, Flying Fox is not under restrictions from any other government. While some countries honor sanctions imposed by others, it’s a case-by-case basis. The 446-footer currently is in Turkey, which has not recognized U.S., UK, or European Union sanctions so far.
Additionally, the Bluewater Yachting Dubai office of Bluewater Yachting, a Swiss company, holds her central charter listing. Dubai, like Turkey, only recognizes its own sanctions. In announcing the central listing on Instagram, the Bluewater Yachting Dubai office addressed questions about the legality. “Commercial chartering onboard Flying Fox is being recommended in line with legal advice,” it writes. It also writes, “Geopolitics is creating issues for the current charter cruising areas.”
On its website, Bluewater Yachting doesn’t indicate where the yacht is chartering. It also says her price is available on application.
Bluewater Yachting bluewateryachting.com