Star Clippers says it has been awarded ‘substantial damages’ in its dispute with a Croatian yard over the ship now known as Golden Horizon, which is due to start sailing from the UK in July.
The Monaco-based company reports that an arbitration tribunal in the Netherlands ruled in its favour in a case against Brodosplit, which it contracted in 2015 to build the world’s largest square rigger, Flying Clipper.
The two sides wrangled over money for years – at one stage the yard tried to freeze Star Clippers’ accounts and have one of its ships, Royal Clipper, ‘arrested’.
In 2020, Brodosplit announced that the new ship – now called Golden Horizon – would be operated by a subsidiary, Tradewind Voyages of Suffolk, but that ownership would remain with the yard.
Star Clippers retorted by saying it was involved in arbitration proceedings with the company based in Split, Croatia, adding: ‘Brodosplit has taken the position that it is not under an obligation to deliver Flying Clipper to Star Clippers. This is disputed by Star Clippers.’
Star Clippers has now announced that the Dutch panel decided that Brodosplit ‘acted unlawfully against Star Clippers by attaching its bank accounts and seeking the arrest of the Royal Clipper vessel’ and ‘has been ordered to make substantial payments in damages’.
It went on: ‘Star Clippers will not take delivery of [Golden Horizon] but will proceed with taking all necessary steps to enforce the award, which may include the enforcement of Star Clippers’ mortgage on the vessel.’
In response, Brodosplit said the tribunal had dismissed Star Clippers’ claim for delivery of Golden Horizon and that the amount awarded, which the yard didn’t dispute, was ‘a minimum percentage’ of the ship’s value.
Tradewind Voyages also issued a statement, which said: ‘Following a recent tribunal in Dutch courts between Brodosplit Shipyard and Star Clippers, Tradewind Voyages reiterates that the ownership of Golden Horizon is, and always has been, unequivocally within DIV Group Croatia and that a formal charter agreement exists between Tradewind Voyages and the vessel owner. The outcome of the tribunal is not relevant to Tradewind Voyages and in no way impacts on our plans.’
Golden Horizon is due to arrive in Portsmouth on June 22 and sail a ‘dress rehearsal’ cruise along the English south coast before beginning a series of round-Britain voyages from Harwich on July 1.
World’s largest square rigger to sail from Britain (Telegraph subscription service)