A crew of Indian sailors, left stranded in Aberdeen Harbour for more than a year, have been left in limbo again after their ship failed to sell at auction.
The six remaining men aboard the Malaviya Seven had been hoping the sale of the offshore supply boat would raise enough money to pay them the £612,000 they are owed.
The crew have been stuck in the port since their ship was detained last June, when a routine inspection discovered they had not been paid their wages for several months.
Yesterday morning, the men were excitedly making plans for their return home, with the vessel expected to fetch more than £1million at auction.
But when it went under the hammer at the city’s Rox Hotel, it attracted only one bid of £300,000.
Auctioneer Dominic Daley is now entering negotiations with the bidder in an attempt to convince him to increase his offer.
Doug Duncan, the port’s chaplain, has been assisting the men and revealed last night they were “devastated” by the outcome.
He said: “Everyone was on a high in the morning, thinking they would be home soon, and they were all pretty low after the auction.
“They thought it would be done and dusted, and plans were to be made to get them back to their loved ones, but we can’t do that until we know what’s happening with the ship.
“Hopefully, there is progress being made behind the scenes to get it sold.
“The men have seen several seasons here, we don’t want them to have winter in Aberdeen when they should be home with their families.”
The auction began shortly after noon, with Mr Daley describing the Norwegian-made boat as the “Rolls Royce” of its kind.
He added: “Special credit must go to the crew, who have looked after the vessel exceptionally well.”
However, an awkward silence ensued when he asked for an opening bid and it was only after some cajoling that an offer of £300,000 was eventually made.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Daley confirmed that one of the “most credible” buyers had pulled out hours before the auction.
He said: “We are anxious to sell it, but we aren’t going to give it away, it’s a good vessel.
“There is private interest out there.
“Hopefully, I can negotiate a better deal with the gentleman.”
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