How the BBC located 4 superyachts owned by Russian millionaires who ‘disappeared’ to escape sanctions

Galactica Super Nova in port by a dock

Credit, Karl Borg

photo caption,

Galactica Super Nova has a helipad and a glass-bottom pool

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several superyachts linked to Russian oligarchs disappeared from international maritime tracking systems. But satellite images and photographs posted on social media have revealed their hiding places.

Russian oligarchs were hit by international sanctions after the start of the war in Ukraine. Since then, his yachts have “mysteriously” disappeared from tracking systems.

This disappearance violates the UN Convention on Safety of Life at Sea, which says that large vessels must have their Automatic Identification System (AIS) turned on unless there is a risk to the vessel and crew — as in a case from pirate attacks, for example.

The whereabouts of some of the superyachts remain unknown, but the BBC used publicly available satellite imagery and social media to track four of them.

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