32-passenger superyacht Island Escape sold to pay back creditors

   June 7, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

A premium cruise ship deployed in Australia's Kimberley region has been sold to repay its creditors, but it is unlikely that $4 million owed to unpaid customers will be returned.

Island Escape Cruises NZ left numerous customers in a financial bind after abruptly canceling voyages along the Kimberley coast last year. Shortly after the cancellations, the company went into receivership, and the vessel was seized at Broome Port (Western Australia).

According to a recent report submitted to the creditors, the luxurious 54-meter/175-ft superyacht was sold for AU$5.5 million, which is significantly lower than its estimated value (~AUD 40M). The urgent sale was conducted by the Federal Court in order to reimburse international creditors, namely the Bank of New Zealand and Eksfin/Export Finance Norway.

Unfortunately, due to the underselling of the vessel, unsecured creditors are unlikely to receive refunds for their canceled vacations. Island Escape Cruises NZ, led by Erik Helseth, went into receivership in August, and subsequent investigations into the company's finances were initiated. The company had promised 12-night cruises along the Kimberley coast, and the news of the cancellations devastated many customers.

The boat Island Escape was seized by the Federal Court marshal, and an urgent sale was ordered on November 30th. On January 13th, it was sold to the Paspaley Group for the highest bid of $5.5 million, and the transfer of ownership took place on February 22nd.