An Antiguan High Court has ruled that Nautilus members working onboard the abandoned 82m superyacht Alfa Nero will receive more than a year in unpaid wages.
Allegedly owned by fertiliser billionaire Andrey Guryev, the yacht has been in Antigua since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Nautilus says it was contacted by the crew after they failed to receive owed wages, and the Union arrested the yacht in an attempt to recover the money both for original crew members and those who continued onboard or were hired as part of the skeleton crew between March 2022 and April 2023.
“This judgment is a massive win for us and the Alfa Nero crew, and it was the result of months of hard work,” said Nautilus director of legal services Charles Boyle. “It is an outcome we are immensely proud of, and one we aim to replicate for those in need in the future.”
“Although some crew may be slightly disappointed as they wanted to be successful on all aspects of the claims, securing payment for over a year’s worth of wages for our members is an amazing result. This is especially true given the context of the Russian sanctions, which has been a completely new legal territory for everyone.”
Crew will receive payment at the rates originally agreed upon in their contracts. The judge did not grant any pay increase given between 17 March 2022 and 10 April 2023, and dismissed claims of double pay.
The timing of the payment was not established in the judgment.
Usually, unpaid wages are funded through the sale of the vessel, but the government of Antigua and Barbuda has already attempted to auction the vessel once. This was complicated by a claim from Guryev’s daughter that she is the vessel’s true owner and that the seizure and sale was therefore illegal. In September 2023, it was reported former Google CEO Eric Schmidt backed out of purchasing the superyacht.