Sanctions-linked superyacht could be auctioned off

Superyacht Alfa Nero (IMO 1009376) could soon be sold at auction by the government of Antigua and Barbuda after reportedly being “abandoned” in a local harbour.

The 81-metre yacht, which had been linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrey Guryev Sr (IMN, June 7th 2022) turned up in Antigua in March last year, according to its final AIS, although the Antigua News Room Report had the vessel in Antigua since February 2022. That seems unlikely, as on March 3rd 2022 it emitted an AIS signal from St Maarten, and then went dark. On March 11th it emitted a signal from English Harbour, Barbuda.

Guryev Sr was cofounder of the fertilizer company PhosAgro. Through his previous position as Executive Vice President, he supported the Kremlin by working for a company operating in a sector of strategic importance to the Russian government, namely the Russian chemical sector.

The yacht was blocked from leaving Antigua Yacht Club Marina subject to an official search to determine whether the ultimate beneficiary owner had been named on international sanction lists following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Minister of justice and attorney general of Antigua and Barbuda, Steadroy Benjamin, declared the vessel “a hazard to shipping and to the harbour where it is moored”.

A statement from the Office of The Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda said: “A notice to the newspapers and other media will be published for a period of 10 days, notifying the sale of the Alfa Nero vessel in order to satisfy the requirements under the law for a forced sale. If the owner fails to claim the vessel within that time period, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda will sell it to the highest bidder.”

The vessel was delivered in 2007 by Oceanco, and was sold in 2011 to its current reported owner, with an asking price of $115m. The yacht won the best interior and exterior styling awards at the World Superyacht Awards in 2008.

The statement claimed that the crew had not been paid, and neither had the provider of the fuel that the vessel had consumed since it arrived in Antigua.

In August 2022 the government obtained a warrant to search the vessel, following a request by the US government, in an attempt to confirm the identity of the ultimate beneficiary owner. The A&B government said that the search had proved unsuccessful, and that the vessel — which had not been maintained since it was left behind — now posed a hazard to other ships and to the harbour where it is moored.

2007-built, 2,159 gt Alfa Nero is recorded by Equasis as owned and managed by Flying Dutchman Oveseas ltd of London, UK. Marine Traffic lists it as Cayman islands-flagged.