The Cape Town mayor has called on the South African government to ban Alexei Mordashov’s superyacht from docking in its port after the sanctioned Russian oligarch’s ship left Hong Kong bound for the city.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said on Monday he had pressured Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s foreign minister, for a “moral duty” to block one of Russia’s richest men before his yacht , the “North”, does not arrive at the Cape. next month.
The 142-meter yacht has already become a symbol of checkered global respect for Western sanctions against Russia’s elite over the war in Ukraine after docking in Hong Kong waters for weeks despite US pressure.
At the start of the war, the Russian-flagged ship rushed to Vladivostok after weighing anchor in the Seychelles.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress has refused to condemn Russia for the war and abstained in a UN vote this month on condemning the annexation of land Ukrainian by Russia.
The Cape Town government, which is led by the main opposition Democratic Alliance party, does not have its own powers to deny entry to the port.
“To our knowledge, Mr. Mordashov is on board the ship and intends to enter South Africa through the port of Cape Town,” Hill-Lewis said. “If that happens, Mr Mordashov – and his luxury yacht – will be considered guests of the South African state.”
The “Nord” was sailing through the Strait of Malacca on Monday, with its arrival in Cape Town scheduled for November 9, according to ship tracking site MarineTraffic.
Mordashov is the owner of Severstal, Russia’s largest steel producer, and his Severgroup is a major shareholder in Bank Rossiya, known as “Putin’s bank”.
“It must be said that so far the conduct of our country’s foreign policy in relation to Russia’s illegal imperialist war has been nothing short of disgraceful,” Hill-Lewis said. “Here is an opportunity to correct some of those errors in judgment and stand up for what is clearly right.”