Are superyachts a key target for climate activism?

Attacks on luxury yachts by environmental protestors, especially across Europe, are likely to become more common. Tighter security and detailed risk assessments will play a key role in mitigating the threat.

Recently there has been a marked increase in both the frequency and intensity of protests targeting the luxury yacht sector. Activists have caused significant damage to superyachts, resulting in substantial financial losses. These protests have also led to operational disruptions, including delays and closures of marinas.

Most recently, Climate activists attacked a superyacht, €300m ($337M) yacht Kaos, belonging to Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie, spraying red and black paint across the stern. The vessel was vandalised in Ibiza by members of the Spain-based environmental group ‘Futuro Vegetal’. Two activists were photographed holding a sign that read: “You Consume Others Suffer”.

Alongside videos and images of the attack on the group’s Instagram social media platform, it posted the message: “The only reason we continue to maintain an economic system that leads us to eco-social collapse is to sustain the privies of this small, privileged class.” Two days before the luxury yacht attack, the group vandalised an Embraer Phenom 300E private jet at Ibiza Airport by spraying it with yellow and black paint.

Like airport security, measures at small marinas vary greatly across regions. In Europe and North America, many marinas have robust security measures in place, however, there can be gaps due to the less stringent regulations compared with commercial ports. In other parts of the world, the security standards can be inconsistent, with some marinas having excellent security and others needing improvement.

Recent incidents, however, are highlighting the need for enhanced measures, particularly in the face of increasing activism.

The security of luxury vessels can be improved by implementing a multi-layered approach. This includes improving physical security measures, such as surveillance systems, access controls and perimeter fencing. Regular security audits and staff training are also crucial to ensure that security protocols are up-to-date and effectively implemented. Marinas can benefit from intelligence sharing and collaboration with local law enforcement agencies to respond swiftly to potential threats.

A key strategy is to gather information about potential protest activity in the area that could disrupt operations. This includes creating contingency plans for potential disruptions and conducting pre-travel briefings to ensure all crew members understand the appropriate responses to protestors. In high-risk circumstances, hiring private security may be advisable to provide an additional level of security for vessels.

But it’s not just individual luxury yachts that are likely to be the target of environmental protests. Industry trade shows and events are also a target of these types of protests. With Monaco Yacht Show fast approaching, enhanced security in the face of environmental protest movements will be a top consideration.

If you are concerned about being targeted and would like impartial, expert advice, contact one of our team at and schedule a consultation with one of our experts. 

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