The 81-meter M/Y Alfa Nero was boarded and searched at Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, on August 20 due to ongoing sanctions against Russia. Both the yacht and her owner are on the sanction lists issued by the U.S., UK, and the European Union, and the yacht has been docked in Antigua since February.
After an application by Director of Public Prosecution Anthony Armstrong, the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda issued an order on August 18 to board Alfa Nero and search and seize relevant material, plus question the crew, according to the Antigua Observer. The multi-agency operation, led by local authorities, was conducted after the U.S. government sought Antigua and Barbuda’s assistance under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) on August 12, and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation was granted a request to observe the operation.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the government of Antigua and Barbuda advised local companies not to conduct business with any entities that appear on sanction lists. According to a statementby Minister of Foreign Affairs Everly Paul Chet Greene, as a result, Alfa Nero was not provided with any fuel, except emergency supplies to keep it secure, for the vessel’s sake and the safety of Falmouth Harbour. It was not permitted to leave Antigua.
More information regarding the operation will be released “as appropriate and consistent with maintaining the confidentiality of the investigation,” the statement says.
The statement says, “Additionally, responding to requests from countries, such as the U.S., with which we have binding Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, is a legal obligation which must be upheld.”
The statement also shares that motor yachts Garconand Halo did not appear on any sanctions list, nor did the U.S., EU, or UK make a request under MLAT, so they departed on July 22.