Massive superyacht owned by Lukoil CEO vanishes

Massive superyacht owned by Lukoil CEO vanishes

The 230-foot so-called "superyacht" owned by the CEO of Russian petroleum giant Lukoil appears to have vanished from the seas. It's probably no accident.

The Galactica Super Nova is owned by Vagit Alekperov, CEO of the second-largest petroleum company in Russia. Alekperov has publicly opposed Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. But just like other oligarchs whose yachts have come under threat of international seizure, the Lukoil CEO appears to be trying to hide the massive vessel from authorities.

The Daily Beast reports that the grandly-named ship sailed in recent weeks from Barcelona to Tivat, Montenegro, arriving on March 1. But just a day later, the boat departed, according to data from the yacht-tracking group MarineTraffic. An official at the port in Montenegro confirmed that the yacht was no longer there.

Soon after it left, Galactica’s automatic tracking system, also known as AIS, stopped pinging out signals, reports MarineTraffic and its competitors VesselFinder and VesselsValue. As of Wednesday afternoon Central European Time, the boat had yet to update its location.

It is legally required for all yachts of Galactica’s size to have the AIS turned on “at all times,” said Sam Tucker, head of superyachts at VesselsValue. “For the past 12 months, we have had a very reliable signal coming from this vessel, so after seeing it [leave] Porto Montenegro, we are very surprised that there has been no signal received from either our satellites or ground stations.”

According to Tucker, Russian nationals own about 10 percent of all yachts longer than 79 feet.

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