The government of Antigua and Barbuda is moving forward with plans to auction the 81.3-metre Oceanco superyacht Alfa Nero amid claims that the yacht has been "abandoned" in Falmouth Habour.
The yacht has been moored at the Antigua Yacht Club Marina since February 2022 and was blocked from leaving the port subject to an official search to determine whether the ultimate beneficiary owner had been named on international sanctions lists following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
At the start of March, the government announced its intent to auction the vessel. On 16 March, the Office of the Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda announced that three lawyers had been invited to reflect on an amended law that would clarify the government's authority to auction any vessel that "appears sanctioned, or falls under the proceeds of Crime Act."
A statement noted that the vessel had been moored in Falmouth Habour for more than a year and a half and had received "more than five hundred thousand dollars’ worth of fuel" and "the money to buy food for the crew (reduced from forty-one to five members), is projected to last no more than two weeks."
The statement continued: "A ten-day notice will appear in the local press and newspapers outside of the jurisdiction, such that everyone in the world will have notice of the Government’s intention to sell the vessel. An auction will follow. The Alfa Nero poses a threat to other vessels and to the harbour where it is moored."
In an earlier statement, the Office of the Prime Minister stated that neither the crew, nor the provider of the fuel, had been paid.
In August 2022, the government obtained a warrant to search the vessel, pursuant to a request by the government of the United States, in order to confirm the identity of the ultimate beneficiary owner. Local businesses were advised against conducting transactions with anyone named on the United States list of sanctioned individuals.