On Saturday, the government is expected to select the highest bidder to move on to the purchase of the Alfa Nero.
Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin explains that Saturday is when the legal requirements provided by the amendment of the Antigua Port Authority Act would have materialized.
“The Port Manager who is responsible for the process will begin opening the bids on Saturday, following the expiration of the ten day-notice for anyone who has an interest in the vessel to come forward and claim it; as well as the notice of the proposed sale being advertised in the international media. We want to ensure that all the legal hurdles are crossed before we proceed with the eventual sale of the vessel,” Benjamin said in an interview with Pointe Express
Essentially, the amendments allow Darwin Telemaque, the country’s Port manager, to give the government control of the vessel and proceed to have it sold. Telemaque also determined that the vessel has been abandoned and has become a liability to the state
Meanwhile Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister Lionel Max Hurst confirmed this week that the government is currently perusing several bids from a number of individuals who wish to purchase the Alfa Nero.
Hurst said that based on the number of bids, there is keen interest by many individuals, to purchase the vessel.
“Several bids have arrived by way of interest, FedEx, and through DHL indicating the interest of several persons wishing to acquire the Alfa Nero. Although the bid is open to any amount, I have learned that two bids have gained the attention of the government. One is for US$53 million and the other for US$72 million,” he said
Hurst added “The yacht was built for a little more than US$81 million and although it has fallen into disrepair, many still regard it as a fine specimen’ of a vessel and continue to show an interest in acquiring it for themselves,”
He said buyers are even declaring a willingness to outbid the highest bidder at the point of sale.
The bidding process is secretive and the names of potential buyers will not be disclosed.
He said prospective buyers are all foreign nationals
After the vessel is sold, it will have its name changed and will be presented with a ‘flag’ or registry allowing it to be able to traverse international waters
The Alfa Nero, a $120 million superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrey Guryev Sr has been moored in the Falmouth Habour for over a year and has accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
The government said it is a threat to the marine environment and owes a fuel company over EC$500,000. Its staff also needs to be paid, with the majority of them already gone
A superyacht is linked to Russian oligarch Andrey Guryev, a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Guryev, whose wealth is put at around $10.1 billion, is the co-founder of fertilizer giant PhosAgro.