Force Blue was seized by Italian Customs Officers early on Friday morning in La Spezia, near Genoa. Officers from the Guardia Di Finanza took control of the vessel with the authority of a local prosecutor. The claims made against the vessel’s owners, Autumn Sailing Ltd, state that there is outstanding VAT owing which should have been paid on the fuel used by the yacht.
Fraser Yachts, the world’s leading luxury yacht services provider, based in Monaco, was appointed in 2005 to provide specialist management services to Force Blue by the beneficial owner and oversees matters relating to the yacht’s management, charter management and charter marketing. Our immediate priority is to address this problem with the Italian authorities and to offer our client full support in order to secure the release of the yacht as quickly as possible. We are naturally providing our client with our full back up, resources and expertise to try and bring about a swift resolution to the matter.
Fraser Yachts’ team of yacht management and charter experts is in direct contact with the yacht’s Captain on a regular basis and is not aware of any contravention of the legal or financial requirements, as set out by the Italian authorities, by either the owning company, Captain or beneficial owner. The vessel is a renowned charter yacht, it is actively marketed and has been extremely popular among charter clients over the past few years with a minimum of 14 weeks of charter per year. The vessel is chartered by the beneficial owner for his own use for approximately four to six weeks per year.
As far as we are able to ascertain, this issue appears to have arisen as a result of regulations which can appear confusing and inconsistent rather than through any wrong-doing on the part of Autumn Sailing Ltd. Fraser Yachts keeps detailed records and will naturally assist the authorities with whatever documentation they require in order to bring about the release of the em>Force Blue at the earliest possible opportunity. We will also be seeking further clarification with regard to the regulations so we can also advise our many other important clients on this matter.
Any yacht owners with concerns or questions in relation to VAT on fuel, the legal status of their own yacht or any other management issue are encouraged to contact their nearest Fraser Yachts office.