The hunt for ultra-luxurious superyachts owned by sanctioned Russian oligarchs is only getting more interesting by the day. Some of these pleasure vessels are covering crazy distances every day just to escape from being seized. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia that triggered several rounds of crippling sanctions by the US and its allies has brought focus on such Russia-owned multi-million-dollar superyachts that until recently remained shrouded in mystery by carefully staying away from the public eye. The stunning 85-meter Pacific superyacht owned by Russian billionaire Leonid Mikhelson is one of them.
The founder and CEO of Russia’s biggest natural gas producer Novatek was sanctioned by the British government last month. This immediately brought his beautiful superyacht to the forefront which had managed to remain discrete for all these years. The luxury vessel has been on the move since and is currently located near the Panama Canal, according to the latest maritime traffic data. The vessel departed from Costa Rica a few days back and is reportedly on its way to the Bahamas. However, it won’t be a surprise if Mikhelson’s superyacht tries sailing as far away from the US as possible.
Previously known as Project Josi, Pacific was built by the famed yacht manufacturer Lürssen at its Lemwerder shipyard in Germany and was delivered to her owner in 2010. The sleek exterior of the beautiful vessel was designed by Argentinean architect German Frers known for penning sailing yachts, while the interior was designed by Bannenberg & Rowell from London. Pacific is built with a steel hull, an aluminum superstructure, and a teak deck, giving it a gross tonnage of 2959 tonnes. One of the highlights of the Pacific superyacht is its unique exterior silver paint which makes it instantly recognizable. The distinctive metallic finish of the vessel apparently shifts color in the sunlight from light blue to shiny silver, which looks pretty cool.
The interior of Mikhelson’s superyacht has remained a secret with no official information available publicly, except for a picture that shows the use of earthy tones augmented with splashes of blue. Reportedly, there’s even an elevator on the inside that makes it easy to move between floors. The vessel can accommodate 12 guests in 6 cabins and is also capable of carrying up to 28 crew onboard.
As far as the amenities are concerned, Pacific has all those you’ll expect from a vessel that costs more than $150 million, which includes a swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a gym, and a movie theater. The 85-meter superyacht also features two big helipads for choppers to quickly transport guests to and from the vessel. Additionally, guests can also go exploring or visit the nearest harbor on one of the Pacific’s tenders.
The Pacific superyacht was conceived with the intention of building a globetrotting uber-luxurious vessel meant to explore far-flung locations on this planet. Over the last few years, Pacific has been all around the world has been spotted in Australia, Indonesia, Florida and across the Caribbean, Pacific, and Mediterranean seas.
Pacific can glide across the oceans at a cruise speed of up to 14.4 knots and a maximum speed of 21.6 knots, thanks to its twin MTU 20V 4000 M93L diesel engines of 5,764hp each. It will be interesting to see where the uber-luxury vessel with a color-changing exterior finds safety away from the clutches of the US and its allies.
Who is Leonid Mikhelson?
Leonid Mikhelson is the founder and CEO of Novatek, Russia’s biggest natural gas producer, who made his wealth during the privatization process after the breaking up of the USSR like most other Russian oligarchs. The 66-year-old Russian-Israeli billionaire is believed to be a close friend of Putin, which got his name added to the sanctions list. In fact, Mikhelson plays a major role in the Russian energy industry, making his one of the most powerful men in the country. According to Forbes, he became the richest man in Russia in 2016 after his company recorded record sales in the previous years. Although he doesn’t hold the title anymore, his net worth is still close to $19 billion. Mikhelson is also a known art lover with an art collection worth $200 million. Not only was he on the board of trustees at New York’s New Museum from 2013 to 2017, but he has also sponsored exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and London’s Tate Modern.