Luna in Superyacht Divorce Settlement


Courts in Dubai recently rejected the appeal by Farkhad Akhmedov the owner of the 115 metre superyacht Luna to lift a freezing order on the yacht and have instead ruled that the yacht’s ownership be transferred to his former wife Tatiana Akhmedova.

She plans to sell the yacht and her lawyers have said they will soon be able to engage with the “many potential buyers” and expect the sale of the vessel to be quick.

Farkhad Akhmedov had earlier refused to pay his ex-wife the $600 million divorce settlement imposed by a UK court, which led the court to place a worldwide freezing order on all his assets, including Luna

The British court’s representative petitioned the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts for control of the yacht, and the Dubai court ruled to freeze the vessel.

Luna was seized in Dubai where Mr Akhmedov had argued that the divorce happened in Russia.  At the time he questioned the legitimacy of the UK’s involvement.

In the UK, Judge Charles Haddon-Cave claimed that Akhmedov attempted to hide his ownership of the vessel and had moved the boat to Dubai, which he reportedly believed was “well beyond the reach of an English court judgment.”

The judge reportedly ordered Akhmedov to pay 41 percent of his assets to his wife in December 2016.

Nautilus International the union that looks after the interests of all seafarers stepped in to help the crew, who had their passports seized during the divorce proceedings “to prevent Luna from leaving Dubai,” said Danny McGowan the strategic organiser at Nautilus International.

With crew unable to leave the vessel or the country, Nautilus was able to intervene and worked with the vessel’s flag state to have the crew passports returned.

“Confiscating passports like this is a severe violation of the rights of seafarers, who are being treated as if they were chattels rather than maritime professionals,” said McGowan.

“Yacht crew deserve the right to go to work without worrying about whether the owner is going through a divorce or — in the ongoing case of the superyacht Indian Empress — has their assets frozen whilst fighting extradition. Cases like this underline the need for decent treatment and effective representation of crews in this sector.”