The government is seeking legal advice as it moves ahead with intentions to sell the Alfa Nero; a superyacht owned by Russian billionaire businessman Andrey Guryev, which has been moored in the Falmouth Habour for over a year now
On Wednesday, according to Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister Lionel Max Hurst, the Cabinet invited three lawyers from the Legal Affairs Division to reflect on an amended law governing the Antigua Port Authority.
Hurst said in the Cabinet report this morning that the amendment will make clear the ability of the Government to sell by auction a vessel that appears sanctioned or falls under the proceeds of Crime Act.
The superyacht has according to reports received more than 500,000.00 dollars’ worth of fuel; and, “the money to buy food for the crew is projected to last no more than two weeks.
A ten-day notice is expected to appear in the local press and newspapers outside of the jurisdiction, Hurst reported, “such that everyone in the world will have notice of the Government’s intention to sell the vessel and an auction will follow”.
The government has said that the Alfa Nero “poses a threat to other vessels and to the harbor where it is moored”
But the vessel seems to have been abandoned, according to Information Minister Melford Nicholas.
“This particular yacht, we had undertaken some research many, many months ago to determine the beneficial owners of this particular yacht, and it seemed to have been abandoned. We were not able to get to a definitive position with that. And the Government has latterly moved towards seeking to take control of the vessel and sell it on the open market,” Nicholas said at a recent Cabinet press briefing.
In August last year, the vessel was searched by local authorities after a request from the US to search it, seize relevant material, and question its crew.
Reports are that both the vessel and its owner are on sanctions lists issued by the US, the UK, and the European Union (EU).