Russian oligarch's superyacht leaves Hong Kong
A megayacht belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov left Hong Kong on Thursday afternoon and heading for the South African port of Cape Town, according to websites monitoring marine traffic.
The superyacht Nord, originally anchored northwest of the Hong Kong Island, began its voyage at 3.36pm Thursday.
It was located southeast of Po Toi Islands as of 5.36pm. It is expected to arrive at Cape Town in South Africa on November 9, according to websites VesselFinder and MarineTraffic.
The Hong Kong Marine Department later confirmed that the Nord had departed Hong Kong on Thursday but said it could not comment further.
Earlier, The Standard exclusively revealed the 464-foot luxury pleasure craft worth over US$500 million had arrived in Hong Kong around 4pm on October 5, under the agency of Lodestone Yachts.
Reports said the megayacht came to Hong Kong to avoid sanctions imposed by Western countries and to seek asylum from the Chinese territory, with China being viewed as an ally of Russia.
Back then, Hong Kong's leader John Lee Ka-chiu told reporters, "We cannot do anything that has no legal basis," after the SAR government was criticized by the United States for allowing the yacht to dock in Hong Kong waters.
"We will comply with United Nations sanctions, that is our system, that is our rule of law," Lee added, describing Western countries' sanctions as "unilateral."
Mordashov, a billionaire close to President Vladimir Putin, is the main shareholder and chairperson of Severstal, Russia's largest steel and mining company. He was among several Russians sanctioned by the United States and European Union - but not the United Nations - after Russia's invasion of Ukraine for their links to Putin.
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the megayacht Nord was sailed to the Seychelles before heading to the Russian port of Vladivostok to escape Western seizure.
In March 2022, Nord remained under the ownership of Mordashov and was registered in the Cayman Islands at a value of US$300 million.
The craft left the Seychelles on March 12, having refuelled with US$465,000 of fuel and sailing full-tilt to Vladivostok, where she arrived on April 11.
The vessel allegedly turned off its mandatory location responders and sailed the 6,701 nautical miles in stealth mode.
The craft took one more jaunt through the Sea of Japan, calling on the Port of Busan in South Korea before heading back to Vladivostok, where it was recorded as being anchored on June 6, 2022.