By Robert A. Emmanuel
Following the government’s notice of intent to sell the Russian-owned superyacht Alfa Nero, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst said that the government will commit to making public the buyer’s name and ultimate sale price of the 267-feet vessel.
Having been moored in Falmouth Harbour for more than a year, the yacht believed to be owned by Russian fertiliser tycoon Andrey Guryev has yet to be claimed by Guryev and has become a nuisance to the government, with rising incurred costs.
Hurst said he has “no doubt” that information about who ultimately buys the vessel and the figure of the accepted bid will become public knowledge as soon as the sale has been finalised.
He also said that the two companies—Flying Dutchman Overseas Limited of the British Virgin Islands and Opus Private Limited of the Channel Islands—that the notice was addressed to were “listed on the registration on the vessel”.
“They are listed as the companies that actually own the vessel, so they had to be listed in order for notice to complete, and it is our intention to ensure that everyone involved is notified,” Hurst told yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.
The government has deemed the superyacht an environmental and security hazard and recently passed an amendment to the Port Authority Act in Parliament to allow the government to sell the boat with reduced liability. Opposition MPs walked out of Parliament over the lack of prior forewarning over the tabling of the bill which had a two-day passage through Parliament.
Yesterday, Hurst sought to assure potential buyers that they would not face any legal liability over the superyacht as the government will seek to change the vessel’s name and provide an Antiguan and Barbudan flag to allow for safe departure from its waters.
“It has lost its registration and its sea-worthiness and it has been here in Antigua and Barbuda accumulating waste water, other waste and debts…the resources raised [from the sale] will be placed in the Consolidated Fund—the Treasury—and the government will meet some of the obligations that were incurred and it will also be provided with a new name and the flag of Antigua and Barbuda so it can sail out of port,” he said.
Guryev, 62, is a known associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has been sanctioned by the UK, US and EU in connection to the Russian war in Ukraine as part of a concerted effort to pressure the Russian government and its allies.
The notice also said that the yacht has outstanding moorage fees and dockage charges, and has not been maintained by an owner or agent of the owner.
Built in 2007, Alfa Nero is reportedly worth more than US$80 million and, according to Port Manager Darwin Telemaque, bids between US$ 48-50 million have already been received.
The Guardian stated that, in March 2022, the vessel was registered in the Cayman Islands having been bought by Guryev for US$120 million in 2014.