Stranded crew could fly home after ship sale

Malaviya Twenty, which is detained in Great Yarmouth after its crew failed to receive payment. Pictu

Malaviya Twenty, which is detained in Great Yarmouth after its crew failed to receive payment. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

The saga over the stranded Indian crew on a supply ship in Great Yarmouth is nearing its end after the impounded vessel was put up for sale.

The Malaviya Twenty, an Indian owned supply vessel, has been stuck in Great Yarmouth since June 2016 following a legal wrangle with its owners, which has seen crew members go months without pay.

Following legal instructions from the four remaining Indian crew on board, the Malaviya Twenty is being sold by the Admiralty Marshall under a sealed tender bid process.

The bid process ends on Tuesday, September 11 and if a bid that day meets a reserved price then she will be sold, with money going towards paying the crew’s outstanding pay.

If a bid is not met, then the Admiralty Marshall can see if a lower bid can be accepted and if not an auction may then follow.

The giant vessel was arrested by the Admiralty Marshal when the crew’s lawyers secured a High Court order last month.

The boat’s owners had gone into liquidation in January.

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Paul Haworth is part of the shipping and international trade team at solicitors Birketts which is representing the crew.

He said the four crew men left, including captain Nikesh Rastogi, were owed about £7,000 in wages and the Admiralty Marshall would also pay for their flights home once the Malaviya Twenty was sold.

Mr Haworth said Birketts had estimated that the supply vessel was worth about $1.6m in a valuation fee.

He also said the crew had been boosted by the news the ship was due to be sold.

Mr Haworth said: “They are happy and they have been through a lot.”

The crew had been supported by port chaplain Peter Paine and residents had also offered support to the stranded men.

As part of the sale the Admiralty Marshall will take out its expenses incurred from paying the crew and costs associated with the vessel.

Great Yarmouth harbour owner Peel Ports should also receive recompense from the sale.

The vessel, serving the town’s oil and gas industry, was originally detained after the Maritime and Coastguard Agency found the crew and port had not been paid.