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Megayacht impounded over unpaid crew wages

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M/Y Indian Empress, a 312-foot (95m) Oceanco owned by Indian multimillionaire Vijay Mallya, has been impounded in Malta following allegations that the businessman failed to pay the crew more than $1 million in wages, according to news reports.

The yacht was boarded by port officials and prevented from leaving Malta on March 6. More than 40 crew have not been paid since September, when Mallya abandoned the ship, according to Malta Independent.

Nautilus International, a maritime professionals’ trade organization based in London, had the yacht arrested while it works to recover an additional $330,000 in unpaid wages and other costs on behalf the more than 40 crew. Crew back-wages vary from $6,250 to more than $92,000 per individual, according to a press release from Nautilus.

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 palming off losses from his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines onto banks by taking out loans, Reuters news agency has reported.

Indian authorities are seeking his extradition to face trial in India. Mallya denies the accusations and is out on bail pending an extradition hearing scheduled in April.

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

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