Seized ‘Russian’ superyacht costs Antigua a fortune – Bloomberg
The luxury vessel allegedly owned by a fertilizer tycoon has been piling up huge bills, the outlet reported
The sanctioned superyacht Alfa Nero has racked up vast unpaid bills since being moored in Antigua’s Falmouth Harbor last April, Bloomberg reported this week. It reportedly costs tens of thousands of dollars per month just to keep the vessel afloat.
The yacht, which is believed to be owned by sanctioned Russian fertilizer billionaire Andrey Guryev, measures 82 meters and boasts luxury amenities that include seven staterooms, a gym, a spa and a pool that doubles as a helipad.
The Alfa Nero has not been moved since arriving on the island, part of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, after the US and the UK imposed sanctions on its purported owner following the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine last year.
The $120 million floating palace was recently deemed a hazard to the harbor and marine environment as it needs to burn diesel constantly to power everything on board. The crew of the vessel has not been paid, nor has the provider of the fuel that the vessel has consumed since its arrival on the island.
Of the 44 crew members only six remain on the yacht while 25 members have sued to recover $2.1 million in unpaid wages, Bloomberg wrote citing Craig Jacas, a local lawyer representing them. Crew expenses alone cost $112,000 a month, the news agency said.
“Our clients’ objective is simply to secure what is lawfully owed to them,” Jacas said.
Antigua and Barbuda authorities have asked the US to lift the sanctions on the yacht so that they can sell what they consider an abandoned ship.
“Nobody’s laid claim to it, nobody’s been paying its bills. It’s been running up money left, right and center, and it has become a risk to the harbor itself,” Sir Ronald Sanders, the country’s ambassador to the US, told Bloomberg.
The Antigua and Barbuda government has said it has received 20 bids for the vessel. However, the Alfa Nero cannot be auctioned as long as the US considers it a “blocked” property.
Last week, the Caribbean nation’s authorities announced they were “drawing ever closer” to selling the superyacht to a buyer.
“The proceeds from the sale will go towards paying the debts incurred since the vessel sailed into Antigua’s harbors more than one year ago. The overage will go into the Consolidated Fund operated by the Antigua and Barbuda Treasury,” the government said in a statement.
The US and its allies have imposed sanctions against a number of wealthy Russians over the past year in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. More than two dozen luxury vessels worth about $4 billion have been impounded in ports around the world.
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