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The way now clear to sell Alfa Nero…

by pointe team
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The House of Representatives has approved several amendments to the Antigua

Port Authority Act paving the way for the government to proceed with the sale of

the super yacht, the Alfa Nero, which has been moored in the Falmouth Harbour

for over a year.

The House proceeded with the debate on the matter given its urgency despite a

walkout staged by the Leader of the Opposition, Jamale Pringle (see accompanying


PM Browne noted that the vessel was among several sanctioned by American and

UK authorities suspected of belonging to Russian oligarchs following Russia’s

invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago. “The Alfa Nero is an abandoned vessel;

most of the crew have left, it has racked up huge bills for fuel and supplies to local

merchants and it now poses a national security risk,” the prime minister declared.

He reported to the House that the captain of the vessel informed the government

that the remaining crew members – down to five from more than forty – plan to

leave the vessel in a matter of days. Additionally, he added that the operators of the

vessel have withdrawn their services and its presence in the harbour poses a

national security risk; that is both as an environmental risk and a tourism risk.

PM Browne went into some detail to explain the risks. Firstly, the engines of the

vessel have to be kept running, thus requiring a constant flow of fuel. Then, it is

uninsured, if anything happens while it is moored in the harbour, it could damage

other vessels moored there, creating a huge liability for the government. If for

some reason it should sink while in the harbour, that would create a nightmare for

the government, as it could harm the yachting sector for as much as ten years.

According to the prime minister, the government had no choice but to move

quickly to get the vessel sold to settle outstanding amounts and to place the

remainder in the national treasury.

He also informed the House that the vessel is deteriorating daily and while it was

once valued at US$80 million, a recent evaluator placed it at US$48 million.

The government is asking the House for permission to reduce the required notice

period from 60 to 10 days, noting that there are at least six persons or entities who

have expressed an interest in purchasing the vessel at an auction. “We will accept

the highest bidder,” PM Browne told the House.


Representative for St Paul, E.P Chet Greene noted that he has received daily

complaints from residents of the area about the vessel’s presence in the harbour.

He added that there are concerns, especially with the fact that sailing Week is just

over a month away. He advised that there are reports that the sewage from the

vessel is not properly treated and this poses an environmental risk, especially given

the fact that a reverse osmosis plant is located at nearby Pigeon Point.

Tourism Minister, Charles Fernandez, Utilities Minister, Melford Nicholas and the

Attorney General all rose to express their support for the government’s action.

Following amendments and additions at the committee stage the Bill was

eventually passed by the House.

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