Fiji Customs issue breaches notice to skipper of Russian vessel Amadea

The Russian super yacht Amadea at Lautoka
The Russian super yacht Amadea docked at Lautoka port in Fiji ... subject of US seizure litigation. Image: Baljeet Singh/FT

By Anish Chand in Lautoka

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Service has issued two infringement notices to the captain of the seized Russian super yacht Amadea which is berthed in Lautoka port.

These are notices under Section 14 of the Customs Act of 1986 for failure to comply with procedure on arrival and Section 17 which deals with failure to comply with people disembarking.

Section 14 deals with infringements under “procedure on arrival” where the master of every aircraft or ship arriving in the Fiji Islands shall bring the ship or aircraft to an airport or port or mooring without touching at any other place.

A fine not exceeding F$20,000 (NZ$14,000) or imprisonment for four years applies for the infringement.

Section 17 deals with “provisions as to persons disembarking from or going onboard an aircraft, ship” and states a person who contravenes or fails to comply with any direction given by the Customs comptroller under the provisions of this section is guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding F$10,000 (NZ$7000).

“These charges are as per the Customs Act 1986,” said Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho.

“Normally the Act, (FRCS) Fiji Revenue and Customs Service acts on a fine matrix. If he pays the fines, then good otherwise, we will need to go to the court.”

US officials join investigation
Repeka Nasiko reports that American government officials are working with the Fiji Police Force in investigations over the Amadea.

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said the US investigators had already boarded the super yacht.

Commissioner Qiliho said investigations were progressing well.

“We are working very closely with the US government in regard to the current seizure of the yacht at the moment while we go through that investigation process,” he said.

He said the next course of action would not take place overnight and “probably take the next couple of days”.

The crew, he said, were on board and the person of interest was the captain of the vessel.

“The crew are of other nationalities.

“Their embassies and high commissions have been in touch with the investigation team and we are working through the US government with those embassies regarding the crew members who continue to be on board the vessel.”

He added that all relevant defence and border agencies were involved in the investigations.

“We have the RFMF through the Fiji Navy, Customs, Fiji Police and our international counterparts that monitor the movement of vessels.”

Amadea is reportedly owned by Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, who is currently sanctioned by foreign governments, including the US, over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Anish Chand is the Fiji Times West Bureau chief reporter; Repeka Nasiko is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

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