Billionaire's impounded superyacht sold off for £38.6m28 June 2018
Nautilus International, the trade union for maritime professionals, has welcomed the court-ordered sale of the superyacht Indian Empress, which has been abandoned by its multi-millionaire owner since September last year.
One of the world's largest private yachts, the Kingfisher beer tycoon's vessel, was sold at auction to the sum of €43,500,000 (£38,600,000).
The court-ordered sale followed the arrest of the vessel in Malta, with Nautilus seeking to recover unpaid wages for 24 members, owed nearly $1m. Now sold, the Union is seeking prompt payment so that the $250,000 in outstanding wages owed to the crew of the 95m vessel can finally be settled.
Nautilus has already secured the payment of four months' unpaid wages – totaling more than US$615,000 – under the 'safety net' financial security provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention. This followed negotiations with the insurers and managers of the superyacht which was abandoned since September last year.
Earlier in the year, a civil court in Malta ordered Vijay Mallya to pay more than €650,000 owed to a local marine services company for fuel supplied to the Isle of Man-flagged superyacht. The court upheld the claim, ordering the settlement of the EU€651,399.77 bill with accrued interest until effective payment.
The Indian government is seeking the extradition of Mr Mallya – whose business interests have spanned Kingfisher beer, Kingfisher Airlines and the Force India Formula One team – after he fled to the UK in March amid allegation of debts totalling more than EU€1bn.
Nautilus strategic organiser Danny McGowan commented: 'This is a really significant milestone in this long-running saga and it demonstrates the importance of Nautilus membership for crews in this sector. We are working with our lawyers in Malta to ensure that the crew are paid all their outstanding wages as soon as possible. The sale proceeds must be deposited in court within the next seven days and the court will then arrange for the creditors – including Nautilus members – to be paid the sums they are owed.'