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Court sets new auction date for Indian Empress

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A Maltese court has set June 28 as the auction date for the M/Y Indian Empress. The yacht was impounded in Malta in March following allegations that its owner, Indian liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, had abandoned the yacht and failed to pay the crew more than $1 million in wages.

Using a “safety net” financial security provision of the international Maritime Labour Convention, the maritime professionals’ trade organization Nautilus International was successful in securing about $615,000 in overdue wages for the more than 40 crew aboard the yacht. According to the trade organization, it was the first time in the superyacht industry that the MLC provision was successfully enforced.

The Indian Empress, a 312-foot (95m) Oceanco, has continued to be detained under a maritime lien while creditors seek payment of further outstanding debts, beyond the amount covered by the MLC provision. Other creditors seeking payment include Melita Power Diesel and yacht agents Agence Maritime Tropezienne and Luise Associates Riviera & Co., according to news reports. An earlier auction date of May 21 was suspended by the civil court of Malta for a number of reasons, including a request from the owner’s representatives for more time to advertise the sale.

The 62-year-old Mallya, co-owner of the Force India Formula One team, was arrested in London in 2017 over allegations he supported his F1 team with money-laundered cash. He also stands accused of fraudulently reporting losses from his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines onto banks by taking out loans, news agencies have reported. Mallya, whose assets remain frozen, denies the accusations.

M/Y Indian Empress is registered on the Isle of Man and estimated to be worth $93 million. The yacht, launched in 2000 as M/Y Al Mirqab, and was previously owned by the Qatari royal family.

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