People Online Are Tracking Russian Oligarchs Yachts For Seizure Around The World

(Photo by ANDREA BERNARDI/AFP via Getty Images)

Bryan Babb Contributor
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Internet users are tracking Russian oligarchs’ luxury items, including yachts, as world governments seize them as part of sanctions issued against Russia following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Automated social media accounts have been set up by users to track and report the movements of oligarchs’ yachts, according to the Washington Post. The accounts track where the yachts are, as well as their movements, and which yachts various governments have seized in accordance with the sanctions, the outlet reported.

The users are able to track the yachts by using the ships’ unique International Maritime Organization (IMO) numbers as well as their Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI), according to the Washington Post. Additionally, users are able to track the oligarchs’ private jets using satellite technology, the outlet reported. (RELATED: ‘Stamp Of Shame’: Russian Oligarch Renounces Citizenship, Voices Support For Ukraine)

Already, luxury items belonging to Russian oligarchs have been seized by world governments, including that of Italy, according to The Associated Press. The Italian seizures, worth $156 million, have included yachts as well as villas belonging to Russian oligarchs, the AP reported. The government of France also seized a Russian oligarch’s $120 million super-yacht.

The Twitter account @RussiaYachts has been releasing updated lists of some of the yachts as well as their owners, according to the Washington Post. The account, run by 19-year-old college student Jack Sweeney, has also released the locations of some yachts, the outlet reported.

“Today, the United States, in coordination with Allies and partners, is targeting additional Russian elites and family members who continue supporting President Putin despite his brutal invasion of Ukraine,” the White House said in a March 3 statement. “These individuals have enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian people, and some have elevated their family members into high-ranking positions.”

“These individuals and their family members will be cut off from the U.S. financial system, their assets in the United States will be frozen and their property will be blocked from use,” the White House continued.