Editorial Staff
12 months ago

Editorial Staff
12 months ago

New name and new flag for Alfa Nero

Alfa Nero

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.

2 Comments

  1. A Concerned Antiguan

    Lets be straight. The Government of AB are profiteering off assets that have been placed on a foreign sanctions list! Not even powerful EU countries or the US have changed their laws to confiscate “frozen” Russian central bank assets, because to do so would be illegal, immoral and been seen as outright theft in the eyes of the world! The environment argument doesn’t require a confiscation of assets, a forced sale of said assets and the appropriation of said sale proceeds by the Government. The unpaid bills argument is a private and civil matter. Again, not something that requires the confiscation of assets, a forced sale of said assets and the appropriation of said sale proceeds by the Government. The Government’s stated ambition is to confiscate and sell the Alfa Nero, which has a reported value of approximately US$ 100m to settle debts of less than US$1m, and to keep the rest of the proceeds for itself! If that is not immoral or theft then I don’t know what else is! Forget the owner is purportedly a Russian (if you hate Russians and all things Russian). We must defend private property rights and the rule of law. What if the sanctioned individual owned property on the island but couldn’t pay utility bills? What’s to stop this Government confiscating and selling the property? Where will the line be drawn?

    The ongoing saga of Alfa Nero’s current predicament, and fate, has grabbed international headlines for the past year. With the US’ role a mere subplot in the media, all eyes (and in particular those of investors and partners) are on Antigua and Barbuda and its Government, with potentially dire and long-lasting consequences for our rule of law, private property rights, the economy and investment climate. Not only that (as if that weren’t enough to worry about), optically, how would it look to the outside world? An outside world amid great change as more and more countries are beginning to act more independently and in their own interests. Mr Browne should take heed. These countries have politicians, leaders, prominent business people. What if they and/or their assets end up a sanctions list? Will they take heed of the Government’s decision to amend laws so that it can confiscate private property “on a sanctions list” and decide not to ever step foot again on the island or bring or purchase property or do business in Antigua?

    If Alfa Nero does indeed belong to Mr. Guryev, then she is not subject to US sanctions, as she is in Antigua and Barbuda, not in the US. As a sovereign nation, we have no obligation to abide by the US’ political and legislative decisions. This is the correct legal position and one that has been taken by most countries that have found themselves hosting US-sanctioned Russian assets. As such, any compliance by Antigua and Barbuda is entirely voluntary. However, compliance does not equate to confiscation of assets. Compliance does not require a change in laws to allow the confiscation of assets and the appropriation by the Government of the sale proceeds. Only real sanctions, and not apparent sanctions should matter; and those sanctions should be sanctions imposed by Antigua and Barbuda, not those of a foreign state. With this in mind, it appears that Government has rushed legislative changes so that in the context of “apparent sanctions”, “abandonment” or “economic and environmental risks”, confiscation and appropriation would be permitted. This has frightening implications for all private property in Antigua and Barbuda.

    As a nation, we have a choice. To be the willing enabler of US dictate (and be seen as profiteering from the sanctions), diminishing our standing in this new multi polar world that is emerging, or to stand by our own laws and economic interests as an independent and sovereign state. If we go for the money, it will come back to haunt us. It will reinforce old stereotypes “why you can’t trust doing business in any banana republic cause it’s the law of the jungle down there”. The real owner armed with their lawyers, the banks, the financiers, the third parties with their liens and security interests and contracts to boot will come for their boat. By then the money will be long gone and the Government of the day will be left holding the bag and we the people, the taxpayers will suffer.

    If US sanctions have stranded Alfa Nero in our waters, the US should pay for its upkeep and debts. If not, the US should issue a clarification that Alfa Nero is not sanctioned and facilitate all actions needed to get her on her way and out of our waters to then become someone else’s headache. If not, we, Antiguans, should stay out of it! Take steps to better secure the boat from an environmental disaster if you have to but don’t confiscate the boat and pocket all the proceeds as if it belongs to you because you passed a local Act of Parliament! That does not negate legal claims of ownership! Lets call a spade a spade!

    Alfa Nero has been a regular and loyal visitor to the shores of Antigua and Barbuda. She, her crew and her guests have made notable contributions to our local economy and yachting industry for many years. She is our respectful guest and should be treated as such. And we should respect our own laws, principles and ourselves when navigating troubled waters, especially when those troubled waters are not of our making and have nothing to do with us. We can be respectful to all sides in this dispute, but we must first respect ourselves and our principles.

    – A Concerned Antiguan

    Reply
    • Mystic

      It’s Locafion is on b Radar
      Worst Case Scenario
      Dirty Bomb/Lock & Liad Missile..
      Stop Warping zour Minds

      Reply

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