By decree of the Civil Court (First Hall) of Malta on 14 May 2018, the 95m Oceanco-built motoryacht, Indian Empress, will be auctioned for sale at the Courts of Justice in Valetta on Monday 21 May at 12pm noon, on the application of Melita Power Diesel.
The Indian owner of the Isle of Man-flagged superyacht, Vijay Mallya, whose business endeavours include the Force India Formula One team and Kingfisher Airlines, was arrested in London on 3 October at the request of the Indian government, which asked for his extradition to stand trial over an alleged debt of more than 90 billion rupees (£1 billion).
As such, Indian Empress has been completely abandoned since September 2017, leaving the 40-person crew with months of unpaid wages. By the time the yacht was impounded in Malta in March 2018, the crew was owed over $1 million in unpaid wages, with individuals owed anything between $6,250 to more than $92,000.
Representing some of the affected crewmembers was the maritime professionals’ union, Nautilus International, which was instrumental in having the vessel arrested. Nautilus made use of the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) to secure a payment of $615,000 for the crew via Norwegian protection and indemnity insurance specialist, Skuld, however there remain arrears.
The yacht has been held under a maritime lien since March while Nautilus sought the payment of outstanding wages and other costs over and above the amounts covered by the MLC financial security provisions. The lien has provided the crew with claim over the vessel to the value of the debt owed, but with the owner having ignored multiple requests to settle the debts, the yacht will now be auctioned by the Courts of Justice.
A source close to both SuperyachtNews and Indian Empress said that the crew has been ‘really suffering’ during this tumultuous period and is ‘thrilled’ that the formerly prolific charter boat is up for auction.
SuperyachtNews will post updates on the auction as and when there are developments.
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