Alfa Nero sold to US billionaire for $68m


Alfa Nero, courtesy of Merjin der Waard, SuperYachtTimes.

The government of Antigua and Barbuda has sold superyacht Alfa Nero to an American billionaire for $67.6m, despite eleventh-hour attempts by its alleged owners to stop the sale. The new owner is the former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt.

The auction closed on Friday June 16th, with three bids for the 81m (267ft) Oceanco superyacht. The former Google executive secured the vessel for a below-market value price too. According to Dennis Causier, senior superyacht specialist, VesselsValue the superyacht is worth a cool $79.5m (€75.3m).

We’re happy because it’s a very reasonable amount of money and will cover all the costs of what is owed to the government and to [Alfa Nero’s] suppliers and for fuel and the crew,” Lionel Hurst, chief of staff, Government of Antigua and Barbuda told Superyacht Investor.

Schmidt, who headed the multinational technology firm’s holding company, Alphabet, is worth around $24.8bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. He now has until the end of the week to pay into the Consolidated Fund in Antigua and Barbuda’s treasury, with the government of Antigua and Barbuda poised to receive all proceeds from the sale.

This follows the recent change in legislation, the Port Authority (Amendment) Act, that gives the country’s port authority to take ownership of ships that are abandoned, detained or seized. The amendment came into force in March this year, allowing the government to seize the luxury vessel, believed to be owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrey Guryev.

The change of the law is something we are especially proud of, because we are sufficiently protected from the same instance from happening again,” said Hurst. “The main thing is to protect our waters, because if a vessel that size is abandoned in our harbour during a hurricane, then that could cause serious harm to people and the environment.”

The yacht was put up for auction after the yacht was abandoned in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua for over a year. During this time, Alfa Nero has accrued a fair amount of debt, with the government claiming the vessel was costing them tens of thousands of dollars every week to maintain, supply and pay crew. Hurst added that the official amount owed to creditors will be disclosed by the Port Authority later this week.

There were also attempts by two separate entities to try to prevent the sale just hours before the bidding closed on Friday. However, Hurst said that they were nothing of concern.

“They were not serious claims whatsoever. Why would the owner not come forward for over a year and then appear at the last moment? It was just some foolishness,” said Hurst.