A luxury yacht belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarch Alexey Mordashov departed Hong Kong waters on Thursday heading for the South African port of Cape Town, according to private tracking site MarineTraffic.
The prominent sight of the 465 foot (141-meter) multi-deck Nord in the city’s Victoria harbor in recent weeks had sparked criticism from the US State Department, which questioned the “transparency” of the financial hub and warned of reputational risks.
Mordashov, a billionaire close to President Vladimir Putin, was among a number of Russians sanctioned by the United States and European Union – but not the United Nations – after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for their links to Putin.
While a number of Russian superyachts have been seized or denied entry in Europe and other jurisdictions, the Nord was left undisturbed in Hong Kong after its arrival on Oct. 5.
Valued at over $500 million, it arrived via a seven-day voyage from Vladivostok in Russian Far East, down through the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.
The Hong Kong Marine Department later confirmed that the Nord had departed Hong Kong on Thursday but said it could not comment further.
The MarineTraffic site put the vessel southeast of Hong Kong waters early on Thursday evening, heading into the South China Sea.
A witness saw a fuel barge alongside the vessel inside the harbor at noon.
Hong Kong’s leader John Lee said on Oct. 11 the city’s authorities would not act on unilateral sanctions imposed on Mordashov by individual jurisdictions.
“We cannot do anything that has no legal basis,” said Lee, who himself has been sanctioned by the US for his role on a crackdown on local freedoms.
Lee, who is due to host an international investment summit in November with global business leaders, said the Chinese-ruled city would only abide by United Nations sanctions.