The government has explained why the names of Flying Dutchman Overseas Ltd in Tortola, BVI and Guernsey-based wealth management firm Opus Private, were placed on a notice signed by Port Manager Darwin Telemaque to local media for publication for the sale of the Alfa Nero.
A public notice which expires in 10 days according to the country’s legislation was issued on Wednesday, as the government prepares to sell the superyacht owned by Russian Oligarch Andrey Guryev
In the notice, Telemaque said the boat was abandoned, uninsured, and a threat to safety and security to the Falmouth Habour and those utilizing the area.
In his notice, the Port manager also claimed that the government wanted the vessel moved because it has not been maintained by the owner or claimed in over a year.
“Should you fail to take all necessary steps to remove the Alfa Nero, I shall sell the said Alfa Nero pursuant to section three of the Port Authority (Amendment) Act 2023 without further notice,” Telemaque’s notice said
But Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister Lionel Max Hurst said at the weekly Cabinet’s Press Conference this morning that the reason why the two companies were listed, along with Guryev, is because they were listed on the registration of the yacht.
“They are listed as the companies that actually own the vessels, so they had to be listed as proper so to do in order for notice to be complete and to be accurate. And that’s why they are listed. And it is our intention to ensure that everyone involved in this is notified now. Guryev is himself a sanctioned person and the vessel is itself sanctioned. The vessel cannot sail the high seas, and neither can Guryev show up any place to claim it because he would be in serious trouble since he is sanctioned. So the companies are listed for that reason,” Hurst said.
The amendment was made to the Port Authority Act and passed by both the Lower House and the Senate, which in essence provides the clear direction that the government requires in order to ensure that the vessel, after ten days of advertising, will by law become the property of the state.
Hurst explains that once this process goes through, the Alfa Nero will then cease being the property of a sanctioned person; nor will the vessel be a sanctioned property.
“Under those conditions, a sale of the Alfa Nero will cause the resources realized to become the property of the state. The law directs that the money realized be placed in the Consolidated Fund. Antigua and Barbuda has already given assurances to the several creditors of the Alfa Nero that it will reimburse them from the sale proceeds”, Hurst said.
Adding, “the new purchaser, not yet known, would justifiably desire to own the vessel free of all liabilities; and, the Government wishes to ensure that its ownership under the law will be free of any liabilities also. In a few days, the ten-day period would have run and the process of bidding will be complete”.
Hurst said the vessel no longer has a flagship and has lost its registration and also its seaworthiness.
“And it’s been here in Antigua. It’s accumulating wastewater and other kinds of accumulated waste. And also, it has been accumulating debts to those who provide it with fuel and also other services that it needs in order to keep the vessel in as best a condition as it can be kept while it remains in our waters, stagnant, and moored.
“So we’ve reached a point now where the notice for its auction will run for ten days. And at the end of that ten-day period, we anticipate that the vessel will be sold to the highest bidder. The resources so raised will be placed in the consolidated fund”.
“The treasury of Antigua and Barbuda and Antigua and Barbuda will meet some of the obligations that were incurred while it sat here in Antigua. It will also be provided with a new name and the flag of Antigua and Barbuda so that it can actually sail out of port” according to him.
Hurst, like other government officials, believes that the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda will realize something of a windfall.
“And I believe that there is great opposition on the part of those who would not wish to see the government of Antigua and Barbuda experience a windfall in profits that it can then apply to the further development of our country,” he added.