The Dutch ship broker at the centre of the LÉ Aisling re-sale controversy said he is “testing the market” by seeking €683,000 for the former Irish naval ship he snapped up at public auction for just €110,000 two months ago.
Amid claims the State has lost out financially, the Rotterdam-based Dick van der Kamp told the Irish Examiner that comparisons between the auction price and the $750,000 (€683,000) resale price give a “wrong impression” of the value of the 1980-commissioned former fisheries patrol vessel which was decommissioned last year.
“I was not so happy that all over the internet, the purchase price was advertised as this is giving a wrong impression about the value of the ship as such, but that value still has to be seen and that is what we are trying to test right now,” said Mr van der Kamp.
PDforra said the resale price now appears to prove that the State got a terrible deal, and it could not understand why a higher reserve was not set at auction.
Public Accounts Committee member Alan Farrell said the difference between the two prices presents a difficulty, while Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice said it is clear that the State had lost out financially.
However, auctioneer Dominic Daly, who oversaw the auction for the Department of Defence, said the State got as much as it could at the time.
He said that, despite the ship being advertised nationally and internationally, just two parties — an Irish ship owner and the Dutch broker — bid for it.
Mr Daly said department officials were in the room and were consulted before the sale was concluded.
And he said the new owner would have faced significant costs, running to several hundred thousand euro, to prepare the vessel for resale, including the cost of towing the ship to Rotterdam, dry-docking and inspection, and reclassification.
Mr Van der Kamp said there are still various options for the ship including resale or conversion to a yacht, or both.
The Skipper magazine discovered the resale ad on industry website of OffShore Solutions Ltd, yesterday.
The ad said: “Price will go up as owners will spend money on further improvements. Better be quick.”
LÉ Aisling has been renamed Avenhorn.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved