One of the world’s largest yachts has been arrested in Gibraltar over a €15.3m admiralty claim filed by the German shipyard that built it.
The sleek, futuristic Sailing Yacht A attracted wide media attention when it sailed into port on Wednesday morning for what should have been a short refuelling stop.
But just hours after its arrival, lawyers for superyacht builder Nobiskrug filed a claim in the Supreme Court against the vessel’s “owners/charterers/operators” for breach of contract.
According to court documents, Nobiskrug says the final €9.8m payment of a shipbuilding contract between the yard and Valla Yachts Limited, the vessel’s Bermuda-based registered owner, was due on January 27 but has not been paid.
Nobiskrug is also claiming sums of €2.6m and €2.9m which, according to the court documents, are already the subject of a dispute between the yard and Valla Yachts over liability for sub-contractor invoices and disputed variation orders during the building process.
The total sum sought by Nobiskrug amounts to €15,298,297.05 [£12,748,581] plus interest, according to the claim filed by Triay Stagnetto Neish, the Gibraltar law firm acting for the yard.
A spokesman for Sailing Yacht A told the Chronicle “outstanding issues” were not uncommon in a bespoke project of this nature and scale.
But he added that the €9.8m claimed for payment was part of ongoing discussions between the owner and the shipyard.
“We find this act of arrest of Sailing Yacht A in Gibraltar an astounding act for a shipbuilder of Nobiskrug’s standing,” the spokesman said.
“We assumed the matter was progressing to a resolution as Nobiskrug were happy to release the yacht on February 5th to the owner’s project team for further works to be carried out in Spain.”
“The money was paid by the owner the following day into an Escrow account pending a resolution of the discussions.”
“All monies now being claimed are in arbitration and there will be a tribunal hearing on Tuesday next week. The matter is in the hands of our lawyers.”
Nobiskrug did not respond to requests for comment.
Yesterday Sailing Yacht A remained anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar under the custody of admiralty marshals.
The vessel is described by Nobiskrug as “the most advanced, sail-assisted superyacht ever built”.
It measures almost 143 metres in length, with a gross tonnage of 12,600 and a mainmast that towers 100m above the waterline, taller than Big Ben.
The vessel’s three masts are the tallest and most highly-loaded freestanding composite structures in the world.
The cost of the superyacht has not been formally confirmed but is reported to be as high as €450m.
Sailing Yacht A’s unconventional look was created by world-renowned French designer Philippe Starck, who was also responsible for the design of another visitor to Gibraltar, Motor Yacht A.
“Born from the desire of the owner to ‘push the boundaries of engineering and challenge the status quo of the industry’, Sailing Yacht A is undoubtedly one of the most visionary projects Nobiskrug has ever been involved in,” said the yard’s Managing Director, Holger Kahl, earlier this month when the vessel was delivered.
Pics by David Parody