Refused by locals to refuel, the crew on the Russian billionaire’s superyacht fell into tragedy, fishing day by day.
An $85 million superyacht called the Ragnar has been stuck in the Norwegian port city of Narvik for days, because locals refused to provide the fuel needed to set off. It is known that the boat is owned by Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former intelligence officer of the National Security Committee and former operator of the Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Boris Strzhalkovsky
With nowhere to go, the crew could only fish and grill live cod for the day while waiting for “rescue”, in the words of the captain. With Russian-Ukrainian tensions escalating, the yacht could be stranded in Norway for a while longer. The yacht’s captain, Rob Lancaster, said: “We couldn’t have foreseen these inconveniences. It all happened so quickly.”
Unlike many other Russian oligarchs, Mr. Strzhalkovsky has yet to be the target of recent sanctions imposed by Western nations against Russia. However, his superyacht is still monitored by local authorities.
British captain Lancaster said authorities boarded the ship on March 2 and checked its documents but took no further action. Locals have also been unwilling to fuel since Russia began its special military operation near the end of February.
Captain Rob Lancaster on the luxury yacht Ragnar
The Ragnar is 224 feet long and features a large swimming pool, Jacuzzi and deck helipad, among other luxury amenities. The yacht has been sold to its current owner since 2021, according to Superyacht Fan, which compiles a database of luxury ships.
In a statement carried by Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, Mr Lancaster previously described the embargo imposed by local fuel suppliers as “extremely unfair”. Furthermore, he stated that all the crew on the ship were not Russian.
Captain Lancaster believes he and his crew are being discriminated against. He pointed out that Russian fishing boats can still purchase fuel and operate unhindered in Norwegian ports and waters. “I am very sad. I understand that I am being discriminated against in Norway. We are a Western crew of 16 people on board. We have nothing to do with the owner of the boat,” he shared.
When asked, Narvik mayor Rune Edvardsen said he understood that the situation on the train was becoming difficult, but that he also had no way to deal with it. “I understand that procuring fuel is a challenge. But as mayor, I am also ‘relentless.’ Many suppliers may be afraid of punishment. This is the situation that the Norwegian authorities are in. and the EU has to solve it,” Mr. Edvardsen said.
Crew on superyacht Ragnar
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced the US and its allies would target the “nefarious interests” of Russian oligarchs in response to the Kremlin’s actions. Several boats have been seized by the authorities as Western nations increase economic pressure on the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Earlier this month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the ships seized included the 213-foot yacht owned by Alexey Mordashov, Russia’s richest man; Energy billionaire Gennady Timchenko’s 132-foot yacht and billionaire businessman Audrey Melnichenko’s 469-foot superyacht. All yachts were seized in Italy.
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