Here at Lorrendraaier, we offer various vessel registration and related services — including discreetly tracing the ownership of yachts. Recently, we were assigned a particularly hard nut to crack. The case of a mysterious old European motor yacht with potential links to a prominent corrupt politician!
Over the last few years, this enigmatic vessel has been frequenting the Mediterranean coastline. Though its name, make, model, and favourite berths were no secret; its registration history was a complete mystery.
The only hint of its possible origins was an Italian flag, which a guest of the vessel noticed it flying under on one occasion. The first time we heard of this case occurred when a private investigator contacted us in early 2022.
Their client wanted to determine the yacht’s ownership once and for all. With little to go on, this case was both intriguing and daunting. The boat’s potential Italian heritage only added to the obstacles. However, we were up for the challenge!
- Italian boats are particularly hard to trace due to the country’s non-centralised registry system.
- Being an older boat, her history would be more time-consuming to track down. Earlier yacht registrations generally haven’t been digitised. As such, a physical visit to a port authority to request permission to search the archives may be necessary.
- The make and model of the motor yacht.
- The harbour at which it was berthed.
- The name of the yacht.
- The suspicion it was registered in Italy.
- Consulting media and news outlets for stories, pictures, and references to our boat.
- Contacting port authorities and archives in-person and online.
- Pulling on our network of experts
- Working with our client to source additional information and leads.
Uncovering The Motor Yachts Owner
To start with, we were neither aware of the boat’s registration number nor its current owner or any that came before. Without this vital information, the actual ownership of our yacht remained clouded — until we happened upon a rather revealing news article, that is.
In the said post — published in a local newspaper — its rather high-ranking owner is seen on his beloved yacht. As we were aware of what the boat looked like, verifying the fact of ownership was straightforward enough.
The identity of the boat’s current owner? A notable EU politician. Even more intriguing — one currently accused of corruption. However, as the article in question revealed few other solid details, we were still early on in our investigation! Finding out its homeport and registration number was a top priority.
Tracing The Yachts Registration History
The Mediterranean comprises a number of nations — each with its own unique boat registration system. Of all, Italy is probably one of the most challenging in which to trace a boat. There are over a hundred port authorities, all of which have to be consulted personally. Luckily, we knew roughly where our motor yacht preferred to charter its course and spend its time.
However, without having yet discovered its registration number, these details were only circumstantial leads. After consulting with various harbour authorities in its preferred ports of call, we were still none the wiser.
The yacht seemed more of a ghost ship than a pleasure craft. No trace of it or our politician was found on any register we consulted — digitised or tangible. At this point, the trail went cold.
A Welcome Tip-Off
When investigating, one has to exhaust every lead and channel possible. In our case, our lucky break came from an insider tip-off — specifically, the suspected port at which the yacht was registered. Taking into account its age and obscured origins, we did still have to consult the archives in person, though.
Here, we found our motor yacht at last, but not as expected. Instead of our politician, it was registered to a leasing company. A common practice for the wealthy and powerful owners of vessels. Unfortunately, we also found out that its associated registration records had been removed shortly before the accusations of corruption came to light.
We could now hand over all the findings for our client to look into further. Despite the yacht’s records being removed, the leasing company name would provide a new lead for their investigation.
Lorrendraaier’s yacht tracing services can help you track down a vessel — even with minimal details. A boat’s make and model, registration number, and its flag state are some examples, depending on the nation in which it’s registered.
We also endeavour to do so discreetly — ensuring information is passed on only to our client — and to the best of our ability. Those looking to recoup unpaid bills, fix registration errors, or contact the yacht owner for any other reason are welcome to hire us.