The news was confirmed on March 12 by Ferdinando Giugliano, media advisor to Italy’s prime minister, who announced that the Guardia di Finanza had boarded the vessel while it lay in a dry dock in the Port of Trieste.Read More/Superyacht industry reacts to Russia-Ukraine crisis
The sail-assisted motor yacht was commissioned in 2011 by Russian industrialist Andrey Melnichenko, who was named by EU officials in the latest wave of economic sanctions targeting key players in the agricultural, pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries that provide significant revenue to the Russian Federation.
However, Alex Andreev, a spokesman for Melnichenko, told BOAT International that the sanctions were "baseless" and "unjustified". "Andrey Melnichenko is an international self-made businessman, entrepreneur and investor in children's education. He has no relation to the tragic events in Ukraine. He has no political affiliations. There is no justification whatsoever for placing him on the EU sanctions list."
He added: "To draw a parallel between attending a meeting through membership in a business council, just as dozens of businesspeople from both Russia and Europe have done in the past, and undermining or threatening a country is absurd and nonsensical. We will be disputing these baseless and unjustified sanctions and believe that the rule of law and common sense will prevail."Read More/Superyachts and sanctions: EU bans importation of Russian steel
Melnichenko is the founder of major fertiliser producer EuroChem Group as well as coal producer SUEK. On March 9 he resigned as a member of the board and non-executive director of both companies. Andreev confirmed that both EuroChem Group and SUEK are "100% privately owned and not affiliated with any government."
Sailing Yacht A is in the port undergoing planned improvement works on the boom of its forward mast and additional "fine-tuning to improve its navigation and save even more fuel, using the most innovative environmental technology developed for the vessel", the spokesman confirmed.
The news follows a handful of arrests in Europe that began with the confiscation of motor yacht Amore Vero in La Ciotat, followed by the arrest of motor yachts Lady M and Lena lying in Imperia and Sanremo respectively.