BY APB Staff on 17 May 2022

The Fiji government has been forced to foot an US$83,000 bill for every day Amadea remains berthed at Lautoka Port

The Russian-owned superyacht Amadea, which was arrested in Fiji last month on behalf of the US government, is costing the Fijian state half a million US dollars a week to maintain, according to local reports.

The 106-metre Lürssen vessel is said to be owned by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, who is sanctioned by the United States, Britain and the European Union. 

Amadea sailed over to Fiji from Mexico, in an attempt to flee sanctions. However, the attempt was thwarted when Fiji’s high court accepted a warrant that allowed the US to seize the US$325m superyacht.

A lawyer for the company that owns Amadea, Millemarin Investments, reportedly claimed Kerimov is not the owner, and that the actual owner is Eduard Khudainatov, who is not under sanctions. On this basis, defence lawyer Faizal Haniff has filed an interim stay on the ruling.

This means the US cannot move Amadea out of Fiji until after the appeal, and Fiji has to fund the maintenance and upkeep of the yacht in port in the meantime. 

This is causing major a financial headache for Fiji. The Fiji Times reports that the Fiji government is footing an US$83,000 bill for every day the vessel remains berthed at the Lautoka Port — equivalent to a million Fijian dollars per week. 

Fiji’s Court of Appeal called the matter on May 18. The temporary stay order is extended until a decision has been reached; this is expected to take an additional week or two. 

Amadea has a dedicated party deck boasting 20,000 Watts of built-in speakers, plus lights and lasers. The bow is decorated with a five-tonne steel albatross statue, while the galley comes complete with a tank for live lobsters. Chief among many extravagances onboard is the yacht’s hand-painted Pleyel piano, which is finished with 24k gold keys and took 18 months to build.