Wickwar Shipping was behind the highest bid in what has become one of very few sales and purchase stories to be covered by mainstream media. The $1.34m virtual deal was covered by multiple broking reports as well as news outlets in the US. It took less than 15 minutes to sell the 24,000 dwt bulker, Evolution lying detained outside Charleston harbour since January. The US Marshals Service teamed up with London-based brokers CW Kellock & Co who handled the sale from the UK.
The ship was sold as insurers wanted to recoup $1.45m from the Evolution’s owner. Equasis says the ship is under the care of Greek outfit Beta Maritime Corp. According to South Carolina local paper, Post and Courier, a few maritime lawyers and a handful of other onlookers gathered under sunny skies to take in the action from a local parking and the bidding was streamed on Zoom via an Apple laptop computer placed on the trunk of attorney Scott Bluestein’s convertible while the captain of anchored ship, watched it in real time just offshore through a FaceTime connection. 21 crew members, mostly from the Philippines, have been stuck on the ship and are now expected to be paid with proceeds from the auction. Some of the stranded sailors haven’t left the ship in more than a year.