Tonga seizes ammunition from Abramovich's yacht

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The Independent Online

Customs officers in the South Pacific nation of Tonga today seized boxes of ammunition, but located no firearms, on the luxury yacht of Russian oil billionaire and Chelsea soccer club owner Roman Abramovich.

The 330-foot yacht, Le Grand Bleu, is moored off Tonga's Pangaimotu island with 37 crew members on board.

The "Matangi Tonga" website said customs officers carried out a rummage of the yacht, removing three boxes of different types of ammunition.

It said officials, inquiring about the weapons for which the ammunition was intended, had been told they were "locked in approved lockers in San Francisco".

Senior customs officer Felise Tonga Finau said the search was standard procedure and the ammunition would be returned when the yacht was ready to leave Tongan waters.

David Hunt, agent for the vessel in Tonga, said that there had been no difficulties with Tongan authorities and the yacht could stay in Tonga as long as an African grey parrot which lived on the vessel did not leave the boat.