The Ragnar, an $85 million (€78.19 million) superyacht linked to former KGB agent Vladimir Strzhalkovsky has passed Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean Sea on its journey to Malta, live tracking data shows.
The Ragnar, which flies under a Maltese flag, departed port for Marsaxlokk on 30th March and is now sailing between Morocco and Spain, according to online vessel tracking service MarineTraffic.com.
The vessel is expected to land in Malta on 25th April, but it is unclear what its reception will be.
It made headlines at the start of the conflict when it was stuck in Norway for six weeks while local dockers refused to service the vessel, with fuel or food according to the yacht’s captain, speaking to The Wall Street Journal.
The vessel’s owner according to SuperYacht Fan, Mr Strzhalkovsky, has so far avoided appearing on any Western sanctions lists following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but is said to have close personal ties with President Vladimir Putin.
Under the EU’s fifth round of sanctions, approved at the start of April, EU ports are banned from providing access to vessels that are registered under the Russian flag.
However, the vessel is hosted on Malta’s vessel registry, which is one of the largest superyacht registries in Europe.
Mr Strzhalkovsky became wealthy after serving as head of the leading Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel.
He is said to have developed a personal connection with President Putin, having served the KGB with him in Saint Petersburg (then named Leningrad).
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The EU is also working on its 10th sanction package against Russia