67m arrested superyacht Blue Shadow released in South Africa

27 February 2023 • by Katia Damborsky

Following her seizure on February 7, the 66.7-metre Blue Shadow has been released from Cape Town, South Africa. Speaking to BOAT International, the Sheriff of Cape Town East, Aron Ngesi confirmed that the yacht has been "released from arrest" after "the settlement was reached with arresting creditors attorneys".

According to BOATPro, the yacht is currently en route to Namibia. 

The yacht was initially arrested on February 7 as part of an ongoing legal dispute in a bid to recover financial compensation owed by the yacht's owner, who is named as vice president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue.

The vessel was previously set to be auctioned, with Ngesi saying the sheriff's department was waiting on the "court process" to put the yacht under the hammer. 

The legal dispute dates back to 2013 when local businessman Daniel Janse van Rensburg was jailed after a business deal between him and Obiang's uncle deteriorated. Rensburg was then "imprisoned at the command of [Obiang] and incarcerated for four hundred and twenty-three days at a prison in Equatorial Guinea," according to court documents. 

Rensburg obtained a judgment against Obiang for "unlawful incarceration, torture and assault in prison," the document continued. "In dealing with the application for rescission of judgment, [Obiang] deliberately turned his back on the extensive then-current litigation and adopted a head-in-the-sand approach to the action proceedings which were continuing against him", the document added, referring to past legal proceedings. 

The seizure came after an appeal by Obiang was dismissed on February 3 by the High Court of South Africa. The appeal concerned the High Court’s earlier refusal to set aside a default sentence obtained against Obiang. Two out of three judges backed the dismissal, saying "the appellant’s non-compliance with the court rules featured heavily in this appeal".

Blue Shadow was built in 1994 at San Diego-based yard Campbell Yachts. She was undergoing maintenance work when the seizure took place and departed Cape Town on February 25.

More about this yacht

Campbell   66.75 m •  1994