LÉ Emer sold for a 'bargain' €320k
on 24/10/2013 00:00:00
Auctioneer Dominic Daly said he was "a little disappointed" the ship went for so little in the end, "especially as the initial interest had been very positive".
He said one of five interested parties did not attend the auction and only three of the remaining four parties engaged in the bidding, which kicked off when Mr Imobhio made an opening bid of €50,000.
Mr Daly had earlier asked for bids of €400,000, which he then dropped to €250,000. Following an eerie silence he said he already had knowledge that somebody was prepared to bid €100,000.
This eventually got the ball rolling.
Mr Imobhio, who is based in London, said that he got the 35-year-old vessel, which had been stripped of all its armaments, for "a good price".
He said he was impressed with the upkeep of the ship when he first viewed her decked in the naval base at Haulbowline.
"It's a beautiful boat," he said. "Navies are very meticulous organisations and they always keep their equipment well maintained. It was quite well looked after for its age, but it's still 35 years old, so there are a few things that need to be done."
Mr Imobhio said he plans to carry out some upgrading works on the vessel here before bringing her to a dock in London.
"It's always a pleasure to get a new boat, and this is an exceptionally big boat," he said. "It's not every day you come across a boat like this. We are going to make some changes and decide from there what we are going to do with it. We will either use it privately or use it commercially."
He said if it was the latter it could be used to provide protection for oil companies working in the Niger Delta.
Mr Imobhio, whose company is involved in hotels, road construction, and marine services in Africa, said he would be staying in Cork for the next few days and was getting to enjoy the taste of Beamish.
The LÉ Emer will be replaced by the €50m LÉ Samuel Beckett, which is being constructed at a shipyard in Devon. It is expected she will be delivered next spring.