Indian Empress to be auctioned for second time this year

It’s understood that 95-metre (312-foot) superyacht Indian Empress will be put up for auction for a second time this year after the winning bidder of the first auction was refused an extension to the lapsed payment deadline.

The original winning bidder, believed to be an Iranian national, was unable to pay the agreed sum of €45.3 million to Maltese courts by 5th July. They cited “transaction issues” as the reason, and requested a 15-day extension to the deadline so that they could pay the sum.

Indian Empress was ordered for sale by the Civil Court (first hall) of Malta in May, on the application of Melita Power Diesel. The Oceanco superyacht was sold at auction in June for €45.3 million, some €35 million below her most recent €80 million valuation (dated March).

Previous owner Vijay Vittal Mallya, a business magnate, former politician and Formula One boss, was arrested in London in October 2017 at the request of the Indian government, which requested his extradition to stand trial over an alleged debt of more than ₹90 billion (Indian rupees; approximately €1.13 billion).

Indian Empress was left abandoned after Mallya’s arrest, leaving the 40-plus-strong crew aboard the superyacht with months of unpaid wages totalling in excess of €860,000. Maritime workers union Nautilus International has confirmed it is hoping to use the funds raised from the sale of the vessel to pay these outstanding wages.

Despite all parties – including Nautilus – agreeing on the new date, the courts have denied the original winning bidder’s request for an extension.

The courts will reportedly now hold a second auction at an unspecified date in the future. At the first auction bidding began at €25 million, with six registered bidders confirmed to have attended.

In related developments, Mallya has now claimed he has not owned Indian Empress since 2011.

“I have not owned the Indian Empress boat for more than seven years now,” he told Reuters. Mallya added that she belonged to “a Middle Eastern gentleman”, who he would not identify, and that a deal had been struck which allowed the disgraced tycoon to use Indian Empress for one month each year.

Danny McGowan, strategic organiser at Nautilus, has questioned this latest move from Mallya. “Nautilus is keen to understand why Vijay Mallya has taken so long to claim he has not been the owner of the vessel since 2011,” he said. “If that’s the case, why did the wages stop being paid around the time of his assets being frozen?”


Yachting News
March 12, 2021
Tried & Tested: Best Yacht Crew Polo Shirts
Tried & Tested: Best Yacht Crew Polo Shirts

In this Tried & Tested, clothing specialist Sea Design conducts a review into the best yacht crew polo shirts on the market. Which garment comes out on top when put to the test? Find out the number one option...

By Nathan Bees
January 21, 2021
Tried & Tested: Best Yacht Cleaning Products
Tried & Tested: Best Yacht Cleaning Products

In this Tried & Tested, yacht cleaning expert Marine 16 Ltd and cleaning expert Judith Shaw rate and review some of the best cleaning products available to buy. Find out which product was crowned the best following rigorous testing.

By Yachting Pages
January 13, 2021
Tried & Tested: Best Water Toys
Tried & Tested: Best Water Toys

In our brand new Tried & Tested, yacht water toy specialist EAMS and a group of experienced superyacht captains and crew rate and review the very best luxury water toys on the market. Find out which brand and product was crowned the best...

By Nathan Bees
How sleep quality affects safety on board superyachts

Always feeling tired whilst on shift? Yachting Pages has spoken to sleep specialist Circadian Positioning Systems, Inc. ...

May 23, 2022
How sleep quality affects safety on board superyachts
2022 Australian Marine Industry Awards winners announced

ASMEX 2022, the flagship conference in Australia for the superyacht, marine export and commercial marine industry, annou...

By Annabelle Fox
May 23, 2022
2022 Australian Marine Industry Awards winners announced

Finished reading? Now find your perfect supplier.

Search our industry-leading directory for over 20,000 superyacht suppliers, providers and marinas.

Search now