Ship to leave port before end of February
The MV Lyubov Orlova is shown at St. John's Harbour. — File photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
The saga of a ship that has been docked in St. John’s harbour for almost 16 months should soon reach its end, as news spread Thursday of the MV Lyubov Orlova’s sale to a buyer based in the Caribbeans.
The sale was confirmed to The Telegram by Sean Hanrahan, president and CEO of the St. John’s Port Authority.
According to Hanrahan, the sale was made at a hearing in federal court Wednesday in Montreal, with the final price coming in at $275,000. He said the buyer is based in the Caribbean.
John Andrews, a Newfoundland-based broker who worked on the deal for the buyer, refused to comment on the sale when contacted by The Telegram.
The ship was initially flagged in the South Pacific Cook Islands and has been tied to the docks in St. John’s since Sept. 25, 2010. The ship’s 51-member crew had not been paid, and is said to be owed $300,000 plus interest.
The creditors were owed more than $750,000, according to figures provided by sources who spoke with The Telegram in November. That number has likely risen since then.
Hanrahan said the port authority will lose more than $100,000 as a result of the sale.
“Even though I’m happy to see her go for the financial, operational, and environmental reasons, we still did lose on the file, because we were the only ones out of all the creditors on this that paid money to maintain the vessel as best we could.”
It was the St. John’s Port Authority who made a motion in court last fall to allow for the vessel to be sold, with creditors to be paid by the proceeds. The motion was later approved by a Federal Court of Canada judge.
Hanrahan said one condition of the sale is the boat must be removed from the harbour by the end of next month.
“From our perspective, there was a financial risk in that we were losing money on the vessel everyday,” said Hanrahan. “There was an environmental risk, because as much as we were maintaining the vessel as best we could, we didn’t know how long the vessel would be able to be maintained, and there was an operational risk in that it was using a very high profile, really useful berth in the port that others could use. Those three things were on our mind, so we’re really glad (the sale) came to fruition.”
Aylmer Gribble, acting sheriff for the Federal Court on the sale of the Lyubov Orlova, could not be reached for comment.