A cruise port operator facing scrutiny over Roman Abramovich's $600 million superyacht, which is docked in Turkey, says responsibility lies with Turkish authorities

A cruise port operator facing scrutiny over Roman Abramovich's $600 million superyacht, which is docked in Turkey, says responsibility lies with Turkish authorities
Roman Abramovich next to his Solaris superyacht.Gennadi Avramenko/Epsilon/Getty Images/Filip Filipovic
  • Port operator Global Ports Holding (GPH) is facing scrutiny over a superyacht docked in Turkey.
  • GPH however, said it is not responsible for granting permission for ships to dock at the port.

A London-based port operator is under the spotlight due to a superyacht docked at a Turkish port that it runs.

The Financial Times and others first reported the story.

Global Ports Holding (GPH), which describes itself as the world's largest cruise operator, runs the dock in Bodrum in southwest Turkey, where Solaris has been docked since March 21.

The port operator, whose co-founder and chair is Turkish, runs 22 terminals in 14 countries. It has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2017, and its headquarters are in London, UK.

"They're certainly at risk … a very big risk" of breaching UK sanctions, Michael Biltoo, a partner at law firm Kennedys, told the FT. However, GPH has denied responsibility for allowing the vessel to dock.


GPH sent a press release via email to Insider, stating that it is not responsible for "granting permission for a ship or yacht to dock at the port." It said that the responsibility and decisions lie with the Turkish authorities, and "as concessionaire, GPH must comply with such a decision as long as the decision is legal under the applicable laws."

It added: "However, and notwithstanding the difficulties of any party to correctly identify the actual ownership of such assets, GPH has not and will not receive any service fee or other payments concerning the berthing of this superyacht at Bodrum Cruise Port."

James Jaffa, founder of specialist superyacht law firm Jaffa & Co, told the FT: "It may be that ownership was transferred quietly, to an individual who is not on the sanctions list, prior to the restrictions being imposed."

However, Benjamin Malty, a partner a Keystone law, believes the port operator was "doing nothing wrong" because a recent ban on Russian ships entering British ports did not apply outside the UK, according to the news report.

Insider reached out to Bodrum Cruise Port and the Turkish ministry of transport, maritime and communications but did not immediately get a response.


Roman Abramovich, the owner of the 461-foot vessel, Solaris, has been the subject of much discussion amid sanctions imposed on Russia's President Vladimir Putin's allies.

The Chelsea FC owner was spotted at peace talks between Russia and Ukraine recently. He was reportedly targeted in a suspected poison attack and asked if he was dying. After a meeting, Abramovich and others experienced symptoms that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands, per The WSJ.

A spokesperson for Abramovich told Reuters last month: "We never comment on the movements of the yacht or any other vehicles or vessels," but appeared to acknowledge the oligarch's ownership of the yacht.

Abramovich is reportedly the owner of four superyachts. Two are docked in Turkey, including the $700 million luxury superyacht Eclipse, and two more are reportedly moored in the Caribbean.