Vijay Mallya's $93m superyacht impounded in Malta

The Indian multimillionaire's superyacht was impounded in Malta after he failed to pay his crew members more than one million dollars 

Vijay Mallya's superyacht was impounded in Malta
Vijay Mallya's superyacht was impounded in Malta

A $93m superyacht owned by Indian multimillionaire Vijay Mallya has been impounded in Malta after he failed to pay more than one million dollars in wages to crew members.

Mallya’s 95-metre Indian Empress was boarded by port officials and prevented from leaving Malta on Tuesday as part of the crew’s legal action to recover unpaid wages.

The superyacht was abandoned by Mallya in September last, the union Nautilus International said.

More than 40 crew members, which include several Indians, Britons, and eastern European workers, have not been paid since last September.

Some of the senior crew, who have not left the vessel since it was abandoned, are owed up to $92,000 in unpaid wages.

The self-proclaimed 'King of the Good Time' has had most of his assets frozen and is currently bail pending an extradition hearing
The self-proclaimed 'King of the Good Time' has had most of his assets frozen and is currently bail pending an extradition hearing

The crew members are being represented by Maltese Lawyer Malcolm Mifsud.

The Yacht has been seized in a 'maritime lien' giving the crew claim over the vessel to the value of the unpaid wages.

"Our members onboard gave their employer and the shipowner multiple opportunities to pay monthly wages, displaying a loyalty and restraint greater than many would show in such situations," said strategic organiser of the maritime union Nautilus International Danny McGowan.

McGowan said that the union has recovered secured 615,000 dollars from the vessel's insurers under the International Maritime Labour Convention, but the still a large amount is to be paid.

Charles Boyle, Nautilus’s legal director, said: “The superyacht sector is seen as one of glamour and glitz, but the sad reality is that crew members can experience exploitation and abuse, and that is why Nautilus has become increasingly involved in such justice case.”

Mallya, a co-owner of the Force India Formula One team and self-proclaimed “King of the Good Times”, was arrested in London last year over allegations he supported his F1 team with money-laundered cash.

Indian authorities are also seeking his extradition to face trial in India.

Mallya spent more than £5m refitting the yacht in 2015, which included making space for Sir Elton John’s black Yamaha Disklavier, which the singer had used to write the Songs from the West Coast album. Mallya bought the piano for €226,000 at a charity auction. The yacht also features a 15-seat cinema

Mallya is among 53 persons, who are facing prosecution complaints from the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, and they are absconding, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said in July last year.

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