Within the first weeks of the war in Ukraine, the news was full of stories about how all those luxury yachts were going to be impounded by Western governments…
(And that would sure teach Putin a tough lesson, right? He’ll surely have to stop fighting --he’s already lost almost a thousand soldiers and ten generals. And now the yachts…this just can’t go on…/sarcasm)
Well, what actually did happen to the yachts?
And , more importantly, did seizing them have any noticeable effects on anything?
Because they are seized (frozen) assets; not forfeited assets, they are in limbo with no one present responsible for their upkeep and berthing fees. In some cases, the oligarchs are still paying for crews and maintenance. In others, like the Amadea in San Francisco, tax payers are footing the bill. And in other cases, crews and anchorages are just cooling their heels until someone starts paying them back wages and accrued fees. And some are deserted and rotting at anchor. Some of the ones in the Mediterranean have just disappeared; who knows where?
Some governments have started the legal process of declaring them forfeitures from a criminal enterprise, but that takes a lot of time and they are starting with more fungible assets like bank accounts and real estate.
What will gradually happen in many cases is that the yachts will rack up costs with some form of supplier (crew, marina, fuelling etc) and the creditors will arrange for a court sale of the vessel to recoup their debt.