Putin’s yacht may be preparing to FLEE port with ‘President’s boat’ back in the water

The yacht, which is docked in Marina di Carrara on the coast of Tuscany, has sat in a dry dock for months. But according to locals, there has been a flurry of activity on the ship in recent days, with crew members being seen carrying out a series of tasks onboard The Scheherazade. Crew members associated with the yacht, wearing smart white shirts and navy trousers, were seen folding away a large white tarpaulin on the vessel’s deck, among other things.

The Scheherazade is more than 450ft long and has spas, swimming pools and two helipads on board.

One of the largest superyachts in the world, the ship is reported to be worth $700 million (£569 million).

Italian police are still investigating the ownership of the Scheherazade, meaning it has not yet been seized by the authorities.

It is therefore reportedly free to leave the marina at any time.

The owner of the yacht could be planning to move the vessel outside of EU, British or American waters, where it would be free from sanctions.

Sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich did this, moving two of his yachts to Turkey.

Gabriele, 42, the manager of a yacht club within sight of the boat said: “We heard that it was going to leave the marina last night but maybe it was delayed because of the bad weather.

“It’s not been seized by the authorities so I guess it’s free to go at any time.”

Activities with links to imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny have claimed the yacht belongs to Putin.

They said that many of the ship’s crew were members of Putin’s security service, the Federal Protection Service.

READ MORE: Navy chief says Russia face cost if Putin threatens other countries

“But no one really knows who owns it. It’s become a bit of an urban legend.”

Meanwhile, Paolo Gozzani, the head of a local maritime workers union said: “We are still asking the authorities to tell us what is happening inside the shipyard of Marina di Carrara.

“There is a climate of omerta and secrecy with regard to these omnipotent mega-yacht owners.

“We want more transparency from all the public institutions.

“We have the right to know who we are working for.”

But another maritime worker suggested the reason for moving the yacht could be less sinister.

They said: “We wonder whether it is being moved to an adjacent part of the marina so that the dry dock that it occupied can be used for other yachts.

“The summer yachting season is just around the corner and there’ll be other big yachts needing the dry dock for repairs and refitting.”

The mayor of Carrara, Francesco De Pasquale, said he did not know who the yacht belonged to but added: “I’m certain the investigation is being conducted with the attention and seriousness that it merits”.