Organizers of this month’s Palm Beach International Boat Show in West Palm Beach say no Russian-owned yachts will appear at the event.
Following Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, boat show manager Andrew Doole briefly answered questions from the Palm Beach Daily News this week about which Russian-owned ships were scheduled to appear. A spokesperson for the show emailed the following statement:
“The Palm Beach International Boat Show stands firmly with the people of Ukraine and all those who champion progress towards peace. We can confirm that there will be no Russian-owned vessels at this year’s show,” said Doole, president of US Boat Shows for Informa Markets, which produces the show for its owner, the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County.
Through the spokeswoman, Doole declined to comment further.
At least two superyachts thought to be owned by Russian businessmen have been dropped from the show’s lineup of ships this week. Both yachts were among the largest to appear at the show. The list of yachts is published on the event website and updated regularly.
The yachts – the 224ft Soaring and the 243ft Plvs Vltra – were on the show’s ‘boats in water list’ as recently as 9am on Tuesday, but dropped it at 10.30am.
The website didn’t provide any reason for the removal, but it’s not uncommon for even large ships to abandon the lounge before it opens.
Doole did not comment directly on the ownership of Soaring and Plvs Vltra, and the Palm Beach Daily News could not independently confirm who owns the two yachts.
But several online sources attribute their ownership to Russian businessmen.
“The owner (of Soaring) has simply decided not to attend the (Palm Beach) show this year,” said Amanda Thibault, spokeswoman for the yacht.
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Plvs Vltra was marketed on the Moran Yacht & Ship website in Fort Lauderdale. Taylor Craig, general manager of sales and charters for Moran, confirmed on Thursday that the yacht will not be at the show. He declined to comment on ownership of the vessel or confirm that Moran still represents him.
The 40th edition of the show will take place March 24-27 along the South Flagler Drive waterfront in downtown. The popular event usually attracts yacht owners as well as buyers and sellers from around the world.
Thursday’s boat list put the number of vessels confirmed at the show at 478, with two spanning 200ft and 10 spanning 150ft.
Unless a yacht owner is actively seeking publicity, it can be difficult for outsiders to tell who owns a vessel, industry experts say.
“They register it in a port that is far from where they live, in a different country, like the Cayman Islands, for example, and they register it under the name of a company – and sometimes it is difficult to follow the ownership of a society,” Michael said. Rafferty, a Fort Lauderdale-based yacht consultant for sales, charters and new builds at IYC.
Soaring and Plvs Vltra sail under the Cayman Islands flag, according to yachting sources.
The United States and other countries have targeted wealthy Russians as part of their response to the war in Ukraine. In his recent State of the Union address, President Joe Biden issued a warning “to the Russian oligarchs and corrupt leaders who have swindled billions of dollars from this violent regime. … We join with European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets. We come for your ill-begotten gains.
According to MarineTraffic.comPlvs Vltra left Gibraltar on March 1 and was at sea this week, while Soaring was moored in Freeport, Bahamas.
Plvs Vltra was among the largest yachts at the “virtual” Palm Beach boat show that took place in 2020 after the pandemic scuttled plans for an in-person event.
Plvs Vltra is priced in euros at the equivalent of around $104.3 million, according to exchange rates on Thursday, while Soaring’s price in euros is the equivalent of around $107.7 million.
This story was updated on March 11, 2022 to add a statement from Soaring spokesperson Amanda Thibaut.