The motor yacht known as Scheherazade, built under the code name Project Lightning, made international headlines in 2022 when it was seized by Italian authorities for its links to the Russian government. This was part of ongoing sanctions against Russian and Russian oligarchs due to the war in Ukraine.

Who Owns the Scheherazade?

The reason the Scheherazade was seized is because it’s been speculated that this is a yacht owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin. His other yacht, once known as Graceful but renamed Kosatka (meaning Killer Whale), managed to escape sanctions and return to Russian waters in 2022. The Scheherazade, however, was taken at an Italian port.

The media has often associated Putin’s name with the yacht and while it seems clear it is owned by someone in Russia, no one has confirmed that it is definitely owned by Putin. This is not unusual, however, as many yachts, especially those from Russia, are registered under foreign flags and their ownership history is often only traceable to the name of a company rather than a specific individual.

The captain of the ship, a British national, denied Putin was the owner or ever had been. He also mentioned he can’t say who the owner is because he signed a nondisclosure agreement.

Other sources have listed Eduard Khudainatov as the owner of Scheherazade or possibly Igor Senchin. Khudainatov, a man who used to run Russian oil giant Rosneft before starting his own company, has been called the “proxy owner” of the yacht so that it can’t be specifically, or at least legally, linked to Putin. Senchin, on the other hand, is the man who took over for Khudainatov at Rosneft. 

As you can see, there’s a bit of a tangled web here when it comes to figuring out the Scheherazade yacht owner. But regardless of the true owner, Italian officials still imposed sanctions and seized the vessel in 2022.

How Big is the Scheherazade

Though it’s not the largest yacht in the world there’s no denying that the Scheherazade is massive. It’s gone beyond the realm of superyacht to megayacht with a length of 460 feet. The beam is 76 feet across and the yacht has a 17 foot draft. In terms of weight we’re looking at 10,167 gross tonnage. It’s safe to say this is a huge yacht by anyone’s standards.

The crew capacity of the Scheherazade is 92 while there’s also room for 40 passengers.

How Fast is the Yacht Scheherazade

The Scheherazade runs on two 4,963hp MTU (20V 4000 M73L) diesel engines. These allow the yacht to reach a cruising speed of 16.2 knots while its maximum speed is listed at 19.5 knots.

What Did the Scheherazade Cost?

The price tag of the Scheherazade has been listed at a remarkable $700 million according to some sources while others say about $500 million. Given the size of the yacht either is definitely understandable and believable. It also means that this yacht would qualify as one of the most expensive yachts in the world

In fact, based on our own research, the Scheherazade would qualify as the 3rd most expensive yacht in the world right now after the Eclipse and the Dilbar if the $700 million figure is correct. However, since the $700 million is also an admitted estimate based on some expert guessing (Forbes magazine, on the other hand, is the source of the $500 million number) it’s hard to say with any certainty where it falls. 

Whether it’s $500 million or $700 million we can probably all agree that this is an extravagant and expensive vessel.

Scheherazade Yacht Interior

There are not a lot of images of the interior of the Scheherazade but we do have some information about its design and features. The tapered roofs and overall elegant design play up the luxury look of the vessel from top to bottom.


German shipyard Lurssen built Scheherazade for a 2019 launch. Exterior was designed by Espen Oeino while the interior was handled by Francois Zuretti. The vessel features a four-deck aluminium superstructure and steel hull. There are a wide array of colored LED lights decorating the exterior

Features and Amenities

Like any massive yacht, the Scheherazade features not one but two helipads, one located aft and one towards the bow. There’s a huge beach club at the aft of the ship as well. 

For a yacht of its size, it’s been noted that there’s an odd lack of exterior space on the Scheherazade. The deck area is limited and many parts are covered over or kept inside. Given the potential ownership of the yacht this makes more sense as Putin or associates probably wouldn’t want to be spotted lounging on the deck at any point. The vessel has a sundeck that’s still partially covered, so privacy does seem to have been a concern.

Some of the deck space is enclosed with glass which can help with cooling, lighting and the sense that you’re still outside even though you’re concealed which is probably appreciated by any guests on board.

As mentioned earlier, the vessel has been designed to handle up to 40 guests in 20 cabins. If there’s any doubt that they get treated to luxury on board, not only does the yacht have features you’d expect, check out what else it has to offer:

  • Gold plated bathroom fixtures
  • A hydro massage room
  • A cryotherapy chamber
  • VIP room player piano
  • A grand dining hall
  • An indoor swimming pool with a retractable floor to convert it into a dance hall
  • His and hers suites on the owner’s deck
  • A Turkish bath
  • A nameplate cover to hide the name of the vessel in port
  • A drone crashing system that is able to target drones mid-flight and disable them
  • A cinema

There are probably a number of other features not publicly disclosed due to the highly secretive nature of the yacht. To give some additional perspective on that, when the vessel came into port in Italy, the crew set up large metal barriers outside so that people on the ground couldn’t get a close look at it. This is not something anyone in that port, and probably any port, had ever experienced before. 

Can You Charter the Scheherazade?

Scheherazade is not part of any yacht charter fleet and cannot be chartered. This was true even before the luxury yacht was seized by authorities.

The Bottom Line

Scheherazade is one of the largest yachts in the world at a stunning 460 feet in length. It’s also one of the most expensive yachts in the world with a cost estimated between $500 million and $700 million. While sources have listed the potential owner as Russian businessman and billionaire Eduard Khudainatov, American sources believe that may just be a cover and the vessel is actually owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Regardless of ownership, the boat was seized by Italian authorities in 2022 as part of sanctions against Russian oligarchs and other officials in the country.