Golden Horizon released from Dover, heading for Torquay

Sail ship Golden Horizon (IMO 9793545) operating for Tradewind Voyages, has been released from its arrest in Dover and was travelling to Torquay, Tradewind Voyages and the Golden Horizon’s shipbuilder, Brodosplit have said.

A joint statement from Tradewind and Brodosplit read: “In July 2019, Brodosplit Shipyard first offered a “buyers supply” payment, followed by several offers more, but each time it was declined. Finally, on the July 14th 2021, at the request of the ship owner, the Courts allowed the establishment of a Court Deposit to pay “buyers supply” after the mortgage was taken out. This meant that a mortgage ceased to exist (the reported proceedings commenced a day after the opening of a Court Deposit). The payment was offered voluntarily, as evidenced by the opening of a Court Deposit.”

The vessel was reportedly released after Star Clippers received the repayment of a debt, said to be €7m (elsewhere reported as $11m), from Brodosplit. Tradewind and Brodosplit said that they were “pleased” that “the UK authorities are not only efficient but also expeditious and professional and they completed the process quickly.”

The Golden Horizon was detained at the port of Dover on July 15th as part of a long-running legal dispute between the builders of the vessel in Croatia (Brodosplit) and the cruise line which originally ordered its construction (Star Clippers).

A UK Admiralty court ordered the ship detained at the Port of Dover after it arrived from a pre-inaugural travel industry event. The cruise line sought the order in a financial dispute with the builders, which continues to own the ship and had then chartered it to a newly formed company, Tradewind Voyages.

The original CEO of Tradewind Voyages, Stuart Mcquaker, left in May, along with product director Oliver Hammerer and Jeremy McKenna, the sales and marketing director. Subsequent reports have stated that Mcquaker left because he was not confident that the owner and his close team at Brodosplit could deliver Golden Horizon to Tradewind Voyages to the standard required by the charter agreement.

Mcquaker was taken on when the Suffolk-based company was set up to operate the world’s largest tall ship, following the legal dispute between Star Clippers, which originally ordered it, and the Croatian yard Brodosplit, which built it. Brodosplit and Tradewind Voyages have a linked majority-controlled structure, with certain individuals holding significant interests in both businesses.

The debut of Golden Horizon had also faced a number of difficulties because of the pandemic. A planned rehearsal voyage from Portsmouth along the south coast was cancelled when the UK government extended it Covid restrictions for England. Then a round-Britain tour had to be cancelled when the Scottish parliament banned cruise ships from calling at its ports. A rescheduled rehearsal trip was then cancelled because of a delay in delivery of furnishings. The ship finally set sail on July 7th from Portland, Dorset, to Falmouth, Fowey, Dartmouth and Poole.

The vessel is due in Australia at the end of the year and again in 2022. It was on its first sailings when it was put under arrest.

2019-built, Croatia-flagged, 8,784 gt Golden Horizon is owned by XB Ahts Hero Shipping Inc care of manager Brodosplit-Plovidba DOO of Split, Croatia. It is entered with Skuld  on behalf of Brodosplit Ship Management Ltd.