About 20 bidders came forward to vie for a product tanker that went under the hammer in Malta last week, shrugging off a vow by its previous owner to keep fighting for his vessel in court.

The top bid for the 40,200-dwt MR Dominia (built 2009) came in at €23m ($24.3m), according to a source familiar with the matter.

It was submitted by a Marshall Islands-based company, which the source and brokers are linking to the Vafias shipping group of Greece.