Alexei Mordashov’s $500-million megayacht Nord has finally been given permission to dock in Cape Town despite pressure from the country’s opposition leaders

Via Youtube / @Dr.Tim

The drama around sanctioned Russian billionaire Alexei Mordashov’s $500-million megayacht Nord is refusing to abate. The luxury vessel which left Hong Kong last week has finally been given permission to drop anchor in Cape Town, South Africa. While several opposition leaders from the country had urged the government not to offer refuge to the 141-meter yacht and seize the vessel, a spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa said he saw “no reason” to comply with Western sanctions. “South Africa has no legal obligation to abide by sanctions imposed by the US and EU,” Vincent Magwenya told reporters on Tuesday.

While Alexei Mordashov is not on his beloved yacht. It is not known why he is moving his yacht from the safe waters of Russia to South Africa.

“South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations.” While Mordashov, the richest man in Russia, has been sanctioned by the US and its allies, he has not been targeted by the United Nations as Russia and China both have the power to veto.

Via Youtube / @crabkf

You might remember that the government of Hong Kong had given the very same reason for allowing Mordashov’s superyacht to dock in the city, which left the Western authorities fuming. While one Hong Kong leader even laughed off the threats of sanctions, they finally had to cave into the intense pressure, forcing Nord to leave Hong Kong and set sail on a 19-day journey towards South Africa.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.Via Facebook / @Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, a member of the opposition Democratic Alliance party, on Monday questioned the government’s intentions and wrote on Twitter that there could be “no place in our city for accomplices to, and enablers of, Putin’s war.” However, till now, President Ramaphosa’s government has avoided directly criticizing Russia and also abstained in several UN votes against the war. It will be interesting to see how the US responds to the latest situation and will the South African government be able to withstand the pressure both from its opposition and the Western authorities.

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