Nautilus International, the seafarer's union, is assisting crew members who have been caught up in a bitter divorce dispute between a Russian superyacht owner and his ex-wife.
Nautilus stepped in to support members after crew on the 115m Luna - the world’s second largest expedition yacht - had their passports seized by local authorities in Dubai, where the vessel has been impounded since October 2017 during divorce proceedings between the billionaire owner, Farkhad Akhmedov, and his ex-spouse, Tatiana Akhmedov.
The crew had their passports confiscated to prevent the superyacht from leaving Dubai, but this has prevented them from leaving the vessel or the emirate, either for leave or following resignation.
Working with the Marshall Islands flag state, Nautilus representatives Lisa Carr (Industrial Organiser) and Derek Byrne (Head of Recruitment & Membership) have been providing reassurance to the yacht's crew, many of whom were reluctant to speak up due to strict non-disclosure agreements.
The Union is now waiting for confirmation of a court judgment to enforce the return of the crew passports.
‘Yet again we have seen Nautilus members caught up in a yacht owner’s personal issues. Yacht crew deserve the right to go to work without worrying about whether the owner is going through a divorce or – in the case of the superyacht Indian Empress – has their assets frozen whilst fighting extradition." said Nautilus International strategic organiser, Danny McGowan.
‘We stand ready to assist our members wherever they are in the world, and we urge all yacht crew to become Nautilus members so they can have the support of the Union for maritime professionals if they get caught up in similar issues,’ he added.