Strong U.S. – Cook Islands Partnership Results in Seizure of U.S. Sanctioned Russian-Owned Superyacht, the ‘TANGO’.
Thanks to the strong partnership between the United States and the Cook Islands, U.S. authorities were able to execute a warrant in late March which ultimately resulted in the seizure of a superyacht owned by U.S. sanctioned Russian national Vicktor Veselberg on April 4th. The Cook Islands-flagged superyacht in question, named “TANGO,” is purportedly worth $120 million (USD) and was identified as blocked property by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on March 11th as part of U.S. sanctions in response to Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The TANGO was temporarily berthed at a port in Mallorca, Spain and as a result of the cooperation between the Cook Islands, the United States, and Spain, quick and effective action was taken to enable U.S. authorities to execute their warrant.
Like-minded nations across the globe are imposing significant costs on the Government of Russia for causing such death and destruction, and particularly for the horrors in Bucha and elsewhere in Ukraine. The Kremlin’s war of choice calls into question security and prosperity for all countries on issues ranging from the sovereignty and territorial integrity of independent states to human rights, energy and food security, and the rules-based international order.
“The U.S. – Cook Islands partnership in this case is not only a testament to the strength of our long history and relationship, but also to the international community’s commitment to making Putin’s heinous and unjustified invasion of Ukraine a long-term strategic failure. We thank the Cook Islands Government for its absolute support and the decisive action taken to ensure the seizure was able to take place.” – U.S. Ambassador Tom Udall
“We are pleased with the outcome of this situation. The Cook Islands has spoken out against the conflict in the Ukraine, and when asked to assist with this vessel seizure, we recognised our responsibility as the flag state to act, reinforcing the message that the Cook Islands condemns all acts of violence, war and the erosion of sovereignty, as is occurring within Ukraine right now. The success of this mission was in large part due to the swift and effective inter-agency cooperation that occurred within the Cook Islands, as well as the strong cooperation shown between MFAI officials and officials from the U.S. Government. – Tepaeru Herrmann, Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI)
The United States’ and Cook Islands’ storied partnership includes longstanding cooperation on issues ranging from fisheries and ocean governance – including combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, – to ship rider agreements and coastguard training, promoting our shared climate goals, and the expansion of our people-to-people connections through grants and exchange programs. Both countries look forward to further cooperation and the strengthening and broadening of this relationship into the future.