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Russian-owned superyacht seized in Gibraltar over breach of contract

Gibraltar authorities have impounded Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko's yacht due to millions of euros in unpaid bills. The futuristic yacht is one of the world's biggest sailing ships.

Authorities in the British overseas territory Gibraltar confirmed Monday that they seized "Sailing Yacht A" after the German ship building company Nobiskrug filed an admiralty claim against the superyacht's owner for breach of contract.

The Kiel-based company claims that the yacht's owner, Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, has yet to pay 15.3 million euros ($16.2 million) for services, as well as subcontractor invoices, interest and other fees.

Nobiskrug turned down requests for comment, citing legal arrangements with the client.

A spokesperson for Melnichenko told dpa that the vessel's seizure was a "technical issue" that would be resolved in the next few days. A hearing in a Gibraltar court is expected later this week.

The approximately 400-million-euro, custom-built superyacht with masts 90 meters (295 feet) in height, arrived in Gibraltar from Kiel last week for what was supposed to be a quick refuel during a final trial voyage before delivery to the client. Shortly after docking, the 143-meter-long vessel was seized by port authorities.

The German shipbuilder's website described the yacht as "the most advanced sail-assisted superyacht ever built." The luxury sea-cruiser features a helipad, onboard swimming pool, and underwater observation pod.

cmb/jm (AP, dpa)

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