TALLINN - The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board say that they, too, kept a close eye on the superyacht of Russian President Vladimir Putin that was caught on camera off the Estonian coast in late September, Postimees reported.
Postimees said on Tuesday that what according to Forbes magazine is Putin's second-largest superyacht was spotted off the coast of the Estonian island of Saaremaa, accompanied by an armed Russian coastal defense vessel. The yacht was spotted by Carl Groll, a theyahtphoto.com photographer who photographs luxury seagoing vessels.
The value of the 81-meter yacht Kosatka (Killer Whale) is estimated at approximately 129 million euros. The Russian-registered yacht has an indoor pool, helipad and suites for up to 12 guests, plus bars and an owner's suite with a wine storage room that holds up to 400 bottles.
The Kosatka, formerly known as Graceful, has been under US sanctions since June 2, along with three other superyachts believed to belong to Putin. According to the ship tracking service MarineTraffic, the yacht's radio communications have been switched off since Aug. 30, when the yacht was still in Kaliningrad.
Rene Hartokainen, of the maritime security group of the Police and Border Guard Board, confirmed to Postimees that the motor yacht Graceful, renamed Kosatka, entered the Estonian exclusive economic zone at 21.8 nautical miles on Sept. 25 at 11:28 a.m. The motor yacht's AIS was turned off, and a drone of cooperation partner European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) was deployed to visually identify the vessel.
The motor yacht moved in the Estonian economic zone and left on Sept. 26 at 00:26. The movement of the yacht was constantly monitored by the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board with marine surveillance radars.
Hartokainen also said that according to the current sanctions, ships sailing under the flag of the Russian Federation are not allowed to enter the ports of European Union member states.
"If a Russian-flagged vessel is in a port of a member state, the authorities of that state can prohibit the sanctioned ship from leaving the port or seize it by court order. If a Russian-flagged ship is transiting an exclusive economic zone, the state in whose exclusive economic zone the vessel is in has no legal basis to detain it," he said.
After leaving the Estonian economic zone, the yacht entered the waters of the Russian Federation and proceeded towards St. Petersburg, according to Hartokainen.