“A”, the world’s largest sailing yacht, impounded in Gibraltar

The world’s largest sailing yacht – undoubtedly one of the most visionary projects Nobiskrug has ever been involved in – has been impounded in Gibraltar over claims that its billionarie Russian owner, Andrei Melnichenko, owes the shipbuilder €15.3m (£13.3m). The Gibraltar Port Authority impounded the €400m “Sailing Yacht A” (the cost of the superyacht has not been formally confirmed but is reported to be as high as €400m) as it was on its way to be delivered to industrialist Andrey Melnichenko, following a legal filing from the German shipbuilder that constructed the futuristic-looking vessel.

As as today, the yacht remains arrested in Gibraltar after lawyers were yesterday unable to agree the terms of a financial security for its release.

The 143m-long Bermuda-registered yacht left the Kiel shipyard of Nobiskrug on 5 February to complete fitting out works and sea trials in Spain, before being handed over to Melnichenko. Gibraltar Admiralty marshal Liam Yeats, said: “The vessel is under arrest and is currently at anchor in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.”

“In the volatile world of shipping, particularly in the recent economic downturn, disputes and defaults are an unfortunate fact of life,” the Gibraltar Port Authority says on its website. “[Ship arrest] isn’t an attractive proposition, and clearly it’s an action of last resort but, when handled efficiently and swiftly, it can at least deliver a safe resolution to a dispute and bring matters to a close.”