By Gemma Handy
The sale of superyacht Alfa Nero – believed to be owned by Russian fertiliser tycoon Andrey Guryev – has moved a step closer with government issuing an official notice of intention to do so.
The notice signed by Port Manager Darwin Telemaque and sent to local media for publication declares the luxury 267ft vessel to be “abandoned”.
The Alfa Nero has been languishing in Falmouth Harbour for over a year with government claiming it poses both an environmental and a security risk.
Multi-billionaire Guryev, 62, is a known close associate of Russian president Vladimir Putin and is under sanctions from a number of countries including the US, UK and Canada.
Telemaque’s notice dated March 21 is addressed to an entity by the name of Flying Dutchman Overseas Ltd in Tortola, BVI. It is also copied to Guernsey-based wealth management firm Opus Private, along with Guryev himself in Lobnya, on the outskirts of Russia’s capital Moscow.
It lists a number of reasons for wanting the boat moved, citing that it is uninsured, likely to become unseaworthy, and is a threat to the safety and security of people and other vessels using the harbour.
The notice also points out that the yacht has outstanding moorage fees and dockage charges, has not been maintained by an owner or agent for the owner, and also that ownership has been unclaimed for more than 90 days.
It references a recent amendment to the Port Authority Act – passed by both Houses of Parliament – which sought to bolster the country’s legal standing in the event of a sale.
“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 adds.
No deadline is stated for how long Guryev has to come forward but the legislation affords a 10-day timeframe.
Built in 2007, Alfa Nero is reported to be worth more than US$80 million. It is one of the world’s largest private motor yachts and, should a sale take place, the new owner will have an array of plush amenities to enjoy including a gym, spa and a pool that transforms via a hydraulic system into a helipad or dance floor.
Government previously declared its intention to keep the proceeds of the sale, after paying off debts accrued during the vessel’s time in Antigua. Those also include crew wages and $500,000 in fuel to keep the boat running, owed to the Antigua Yacht Club Marina.
A number of people are said to have already expressed an interest in buying the yacht.
To what extent the government would be on safe legal ground in going ahead with a sale, despite the legislative change, remains to be seen.
Other countries across the world to have seized assets owned by sanctioned Russians have run into subsequent complications when they are unable to prove the assets were obtained through the proceeds of crime.
Online details of Flying Dutchman Overseas are sparse and Opus Private did not respond to requests for comment up to news time.
Telemaque confirmed to Observer last night that he had signed the notice of intent and that the port was poised to take the subsequent stated action.
He said interested buyers had already offered bids in the range of US$48-50 million.
“We have to take steps to protect our marine environment,” he added. “The harbour is a critical waterway and we are limited in terms of space and our ability to recover a vessel of that size.”