On Tuesday, right after the holidays, the government will take full possession of the Alfa Nero, the Russian-owned Superyacht that has been docked at the Falmoth Habour for over a year now.
The multi-million dollar superyacht which has become a liability for the state was expected to become the property of Antigua and Barbuda on Saturday ahead of the looming auction of the vessel.
The auction of the abandoned 81.3-meter superyacht has been given the green light after no official claim to ownership was made.
However, just as the Antigua and Barbuda government moved to take possession of the vessel, attorneys for the government advised them to hold for a few more days.
“As part of the legislation we had to advertise that order in an international outlet. We didn’t do that on the 21st or the 22nd. That was done on the 28th. Having lost a few days, we had to add those few days back, so this is why yesterday was the expiration of the ten days for the international publication,” the General Manager of the Port Darwin Telemaque said.
“There is some time required to tie up a few legal issues and to be fully in compliance with our ability to take action. We do not wish to have an action that can be questioned. We want to ensure that what we do is in line with the legal requirements meeting all the statutes. We are showcasing Antigua in this instance on the global stage and we can’t go wrong” he explained
Adding, “The lawyers have advised that there be some time given to evaluate and discuss further and we will move towards doing this. Today is Saturday. Tomorrow is Sunday, and then we have Easter Monday. We wouldn’t do it on a holiday. We wouldn’t do it on a Sunday. So we’re going to ask you to be back here hopefully on Tuesday”, Telemaque said
Once the possession process is complete, the boat will be auctioned to the highest bidder, and the revenues placed into the consolidated fund, as stated by Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
“We have to address the issue of putting it under a state and then that state would be Antigua and Barbuda. And because there is that relationship with the treaty that we have, the sanction treaty between the US and Antigua, we are hoping that the removal of the sanction can be swift. That sanction process is being supported by a legal team here in Antigua, legal professionals that we’ve engaged in the United States, as well as Ron Saunders, who is the ambassador to the United States in Washington, DC. And he too is working furiously to try to ensure that we can execute on getting the sanctions off so that we can liquidate the vessel,” Telemaque added
Meanwhile, Chief Pilot Sam Beresford says once the vessel becomes the property of the government several measures must be taken.
He said a meeting will be held with the captain and the remaining crew, five of them, and talks will be held on security and insurance.
“Our first concern is with the crew because the International Maritime Organization said that we have to take care of the crew. Presently in Antigua, we don’t have a harbourmaster, so the job of the harbourmaster falls to the chief pilot. So we have to make sure that everything is okay, even the environment. We have to protect that,” he said
Meanwhile, Telemaque said his phone has been inundated with calls and messages from possible buyers of the Alfa Nero.
“We’ve had quite a few offers to buy out outright. I think we’re up now to almost 20 and they vary from all different countries. I get calls from Bulgaria, Monaco, Australia, and everywhere in the world, every single day. I get WhatsApp messages from friends from New Zealand, Algeria, Saudi Arabia. I am just amazed…It is a pretty big deal. And a lot of people are interested in the ship. So I can tell you this from the speed that people are trying to move here when the auction goes away, the yacht is going to leave because there are just people waiting to grab at this piece of the machine”, he said
It is said that the yacht is owned by sanctioned Russian fertilizer tycoon Andrey Guryev.
The Alfa Nero has not been moved since arriving around the start of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine
According to a google search, the Alfa Nero was sold in 2011 to its current owner with a last known asking price of $115 million.
It offers accommodation for as many as 12 guests across six suites, comprising a master, two VIPs, two doubles, and a twin.
Alfa Nero can also host 28 crew and has a long list of key features that include a hydraulically operated pool and a helipad on the aft deck.
The boat has been said to be a liability and marine hazard. When it leaves Antigua, it will have a new name and a new flag.