A Hong Kong court has ordered a casino cruise ship be put up for auction in order to settle a HKD3.8-million (US$490,000) claim for unpaid wages said to be owed to its crew.
A High Court judge on Monday ruled that the nearly 40-year-old vessel, New Imperial Star, should be evaluated by two court-appointed experts in anticipation of the disposal, reported the South China Morning Post newspaper.
The vessel, detained in Hong Kong waters off Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Kowloon, is expected to fetch at least US$2 million even if sold for scrap, reported the media outlet.
A privately-held Hong Kong firm called Arising International Holdings Ltd bought the ship for more than HKD100 million in late 2012 and later rented it out at a monthly fee of HKD2 million, added the newspaper.
It reported the business experienced setbacks when demand for its casino cruise services declined.
The ship’s crew – 20 reportedly from the Ukraine, 18 from Myanmar and eight from mainland China – had been stranded on board since November after the owners allegedly failed to pay their wages and to buy them air tickets to get home.
At present, only 13 crew remain on board to maintain operations, said the report.
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”We expect Goa to quickly become a US$1 billion market as it transitions to land-based casinos (from US$150 million today), which is still just a fraction of India’s total GGR potential of US$10 billion to US$17 billion”
Analyst at Union Gaming Securities Asia