Did superyacht that sank near Sicily belong to Russian oligarch?

Did superyacht that sank near Sicily in dramatic footage belong to Russian oligarch? Italian media claim coal magnate owned sunken vessel

  • Superyacht ‘Saga’ was sailing from Gallipoli, southern Italy, to Milazzo in Sicily overnight on Saturday 
  • Captain sent late-night distress call halfway through voyage to say vessel was taking on water at stern
  • Coastguard took four guests and one crew member – all Italian – to safety before trying to save the ship
  • But situation rapidly worsened and boat went down around 1pm Sunday, with four other crew rescued 

A 130ft superyacht that sank off the coast of southern Italy in an incident captured by the Italian coastguard reportedly belonged to a Russian oligarch.

The dramatic footage showed the luxury yacht Life Saga sinking into the sea after getting into difficulty while sailing from Gallipoli to Milazzo on the island of Sicily. 

While crossing the Gulf of Squillace – at the toe-end of the Italian ‘boot’ – the vessel, built in Monaco in 2007, got into trouble, with the captain sending out a distress call late at night on Saturday.

Several reports, including Italian media outlet La Gazzetta Del Mezzogiorno and eastern European outlet Nexta, have since linked the boat to Russian oligarch Gennady Ayvazyan.

The 54-year-old, worth an estimated $500million, is the co-owner of Kuzbassrazrezugol Holding and chairman of the Krutrade company, Russia’s second-largest coal exporter. It is understood he took ownership of the boat in 2019.

Italian media believe that the ship cost Ayvazyan at least $50 million and that it was one of the largest yachts built by Monaco Yachting and Technologies.

The 130ft ‘Saga’ superyacht was sailing from Gallipoli in southern Italy to Milazzo on the island of Sicily between Saturday night and Sunday morning when she began taking on water at her stern

The captain put out a distress call and coastguard arrived to try and tow the ship back to port, before her stern completely sank on Sunday morning and forced them to abandon their efforts

Coastguard vessels were dispatched from the port of Crotone and found the boat taking on water at her stern end around nine nautical miles off Catanzaro Marina.

Four passengers and one crew member – all Italian – were immediately taken off the yacht, leaving four other crew including the captain behind as they tried to save her.

A tugboat was then dispatched from Crotone to try and tow the Saga back to port, and reached her in the early hours of Sunday.

The rescue operation got underway, but along the way the ship started listing heavily to starboard.

Footage taken by the Italian coastguard captured what happened next, as the boat’s stern disappeared beneath the waves and water reached her roof-line.

That forced rescuers to stop towing her, as she went nose-up into the air and began to sink rapidly.

The Saga finally sank around 1pm Sunday, with the four remaining crew members taken to safety before she vanished.

An investigation has now been launched into the cause of the sinking. 

Dramatic video captured the moment the Saga went nose-up in the ocean before slipping below the waves with all passengers and crew – nine in total – rescued safely

It is not clear exactly what caused the Saga to begin taking on water, with an investigation now underway

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