The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that a yacht belonging to sanctioned Russian tycoon Alexey Mordashov did not dock at any of South Africa’s ports.
Responding in a written parliamentary Q&A this week, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that the R9 billion yacht – dubbed The Nord – has not docked at any of South Africa’s harbours, nor were any pre-clearance applications received for it to dock in the country.
The yacht sparked controversy in November when it departed from Hong Kong and listed Cape Town as its next destination.
Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis moved to try and block the yacht from docking in the city’s ports, but this was not supported by the national government.
South Africa’s government said it had “no reason” to apply sanctions brought against Mordashov, and that the Nord was free to dock in local ports as long as it followed the necessary processes.
The Nord was expected to dock on 9 November 2022, according to its onboard schedule, but it never did. Instead, the yacht was spotted a week later in the Maldives.
Mordashov is the biggest shareholder in steelmaker Severstal PJSC and was sanctioned by the European Union, the UK and US after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
More than a dozen yachts worth more than $2.25 billion and connected to sanctioned Russians have been seized by the US and Europe.
In May, Mordashov joined other businessmen in trying to challenge the moves in European courts.
The Nord has challenged the effectiveness of Western attempts to clamp down on Russian billionaires through sanctions since the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
South Africa has not condoned Russia’s actions but has been reticent to take a firm stance against the country either, opting for a neutral stance and calling for peace talks between the nations.