Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Does mystery yacht belong to this Russian billionaire?

Superyacht Ocean Victory has attracted widespread interest. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Superyacht Ocean Victory has attracted widespread interest. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Some light has been cast on the mysterious owner of a luxury superyacht anchored in the Waitemata Harbour off Queen's Wharf.

The Ocean Victory is listed as being owned by the British company Ocean Glory Yachting.

But while details of the company are sketchy, overseas stories have linked the luxury vessel with Russian billionaire Vladimir Olegovich Potanin.

And a man who has worked on another yacht docked alongside the superyacht has confirmed the owner is from Russia.

The superyacht has drawn much attention while it has been moored off Auckland's waterfront but until now the ownership of the stark-white Ocean Victory has been shrouded in secrecy.

Following an article in yesterday's Herald, people have come forward offering information about the vessel.

The yacht flies the Cayman Islands' maritime flag, which features a red background.

It was built by Feadship Royal Dutch Shipyards in the Netherlands and has a giant beach platform, a gymnasium, a sauna, a steam room, a massage room and a swimming pool.

A man who said he worked on similar motoryachts was a crew member on a boat docked alongside the Ocean Victory in Papagayo Marina, Costa Rica, early last year.

"From socialising with the crew, we learned that the owner is of Russian nationality.

"He uses his boat very rarely, and in early 2011 hadn't set foot on board for over six months," the man said.

According to a website dedicated to photographing superyachts, the Ocean Victory is owned by Potanin, who was No 34 on Forbes' billionaire list last year with an estimated wealth of $21.8 billion.

The 51-year-old businessman and oligarch made his fortune by creating the private association Interros, which later became the main shareholder of metals giant OAO Norlisk Nickel.

Interros is now building a new ski resort in Sochi, Russia, venue for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

In January 2010, Potanin became the first Russian billionaire to announce he would bequeath his fortune to charity, rather than to his children.

- NZ Herald

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