Hope may not be lost for a crew of Indian sailors stranded in Aberdeen after an auctioneer said he was “optimistic” that the sale of their ship could be completed soon.
The six remaining men aboard the Malaviya Seven had been hoping the sale of the offshore supply boat would raise enough cash to pay the £612,000 they are owed when it went under the hammer last week.
But the boat, which was expected to fetch more than £1million at auction at Aberdeen’s Rox Hotel, only attracted one bid of £300,000.
An interested party was aboard the ship on Thursday to inspect it more closely, and it is understood they have increased their bid.
Auctioneer Dominic Daley is now in negotiations with the bidder in the hope that he will increase his offer, and insists that there is private interest in the boat.
When asked if the boat was any closer to being sold, Mr Daley said: “There is continued interest. I’m always optimistic. There has been movement.”
The crew have been stuck in the port since the ship was detained last June. A routine inspection discovered they had not been paid their wages for several months.
Captain Lal Behari Singh told the P&J the men were “depressed, furious, annoyed and tormented” before owners GOL Offshore eventually entered liquidation.
Last month, six of the men headed home to see their families after 17 months apart – making it even harder for those still stuck in the north-east.
Doug Duncan, the port’s chaplain, said: “There is hope that something will surface.
“They (the sailors) were extremely low. They just want to go home, especially after thinking on Tuesday that it was going to be all over.
“They’ve picked up a little bit since. We’re hoping over the next few days something will happen and justice will finally be done. We are waiting very patiently.”