An unwanted cruiseship has found a trading buyer despite its Panama-based owner Ocean Builders claiming last December that it had been sold for recycling in India.
Ownership of the 70,300-gt cruiseship Satoshi (built 1991) has been transferred to Wake Asset Co, a British Virgin Islands-registered single-ship entity, according to IHS Markit data.
Sources with knowledge of the sale said the vessel was sold to a European cruise start-up that plans to refit the vessel and put it in service in early 2022.
The Satoshi left its lay-up moorings in the Panamanian port of Colon at the end of February and is scheduled to dock at the port of Bar in Montenegro on 27 March. It will be laid up there until it is sent to a shipyard for refurbishment later this year.
Wake Asset reportedly paid around $12m for the ship.
The company is believed to be backed by Greek interests, which has led to market speculation that prolific cruiseship buyer Marios Iliopoulos may have been behind the deal.
However, sources with knowledge of Iliopoulos’s cruiseship activities told TradeWinds that the owner of Seajets was not involved.
Ocean Builders, itself a start-up, bought the Satoshi as Pacific Dawn from Carnival Corp subsidiary P&O Australia in October 2020.
Broking sources reported at the time that the ship had gone for $9.5m.
Ocean Builders' intention was to turn the cruiseship into a floating crypto-currency community permanently anchored off Panama. But that plan fell apart shortly after the ship arrived in Colon.
Chad Elwartowski, Ocean Builders' chief operating officer, blamed the International Group of P&I Clubs for ending the company’s vision of turning the ship into a 777-unit condo complex that would have provided “sustainable living on the sea” in the Gulf of Panama.
He claimed that they refused to provide insurance coverage for the vessel if it were deployed in such a role.
The Panama Maritime Authority also denied a request to class the ship as a non-seagoing vessel.
In December, Elwartowski said Ocean Builders had sold the ship for recycling in India.
Sources said the demolition deal failed after the Satoshi was arrested in Colon over payment disputes.
TradeWinds was unable to ascertain whether Wake Asset acquired the ship directly from Ocean Builders or via a judicial sale.
Wake Asset has no listed contact details and shares a British Virgin Islands address with a corporate services company. Ocean Builders could not be reached for comment.