Superyacht seized in Spain


Spanish authorities have seized a Lurssen superyacht following a ruling from a Barcelona judge. The court decision comes after MB92 shipyard lodged a complaint when the vessel’s maintenance fees went unpaid.

Formerly known as Valerie (pictured), the 85m (279ft) Meridian A is reportedly linked to Sergey Chemezov,  CEO of Russian defence firm Rostec.

The Spanish court ruled the vessel must be formally seized by authorities on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

Meridian A was detained earlier this year in March whilst undergoing maintenance and repairs at MB92 Barcelona, where it has remained since. The lack of payment for the work prompted the shipyard to make a formal complaint to Spanish authorities and led to the subsequent seizure.

Whilst it seems the shipyard was unable to take payments from the sanctioned owner, there have been some cases in Spain and France where sanctioned owners have continued to pay for maintenance, despite being on sanctioned lists.

Typically, sanctioned individuals cannot make financial transactions in jurisdictions where they are sanctioned. However, the Spanish and French governments have authorised payments for the upkeep of some vessels currently under arrest.

In Spain, a law passed in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea allows sanctioned individuals to make essential payments for the upkeep of assets. Six vessels have been frozen in the country since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

The French government has also frozen five yachts.  Through a similar 2014 EU law that allows payments for the maintenance of frozen property, Alexey Kuzmichev, the sanctioned shareholder of Russia’s Alfa Bank, has reportedly been paying for the maintenance of two frozen vessels, La Petite Ourse and La Petite Ourse II, in Antibes and Cannes, southern France.

It is unclear what will happen to Meridian A. However since it is in the possession of the Spanish government, it could be sold via judicial sale to repay the fees owed to MB92, similar to the case of  superyacht  Axioma earlier this year.

MB92 declined to comment on the case of Meridian A.