Maritime Consultant and Economist, Cuthbert Didier, believes that sanctions against Russian oligarchs who own superyachts could hurt the Caribbean, at least in the short term.
The superyachts are under surveillance in the Caribbean as the owners seek safe ports for the vessels.
United States President Joe Biden recently vowed to join European allies in finding and seizing the yachts over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We are coming for your ill-begotten gains,” President Biden said recently, addressing the oligarchs.
Maritime Consultant Cuthbert Didier told St Lucia Times that Russian megayachts had been a ‘big thing’ for the Caribbean, from the BVI down to Venezuela.
As a result, he explained that sanctions would have consequences in the short term for the yachting sectors of places like Antigua, St Maarten, St Thomas, and to a certain extent, Saint Lucia and Grenada.
“However I think in the long run as these investors, these Russian billionaires organise their papers, I think this will go away in about six months,” the Maritime Consultant stated.
Didier said while he understands the rationale for going after Russians, the danger is that sadly ‘We will make Peter pay for Paul.’
“We as usual are going to get a backlash from this because despite people not saying it openly, the megayacht component within yachting is a booming industry. You just have to take a trip to Grenada or at any one time go down to Soufriere during the season when you see five, six, seven megayachts. So it will have some strong implications but I am hoping it will be in the short run,” he told St Lucia Times.
In addition, Didier asserted that it was necessary to remember that while Russia under President Vladimir Putin is doing something wrong, which is against international law and moral codes, the Caribbean has to set up to take advantage of the registering megayachts eventually.
“The registering of these megayachts, whether it is Russia, Chinese coming from Europe the Asian Pacific rim – it’s big business,” he explained.
“And we need to realign the tourism product so we can handle transparent paperwork in registering these megayachts and push to have them homeport in the Caribbean,” Didier said.
Headline stock image courtesy Eugene Chystiakov