I am in Florida and trying to purchase an Italian boat that was imported to the states a year ago. its a SV from 1983. the boat is listed by broker and we are under a contract, actually today was closing day but we didn't close because we have a problem....
Talking to the boat home port in Italy I discovered that the boat has 4 owners and not one owner, as I been told.
In 2002 this guy (suppose to be the only owner) didn't verify that there wasn't a deletion of the previous owners and probably in the official records he joined the previous 3 . now we need all the 4 of them to agree for the sale but some of them are not alive anymore...and.... bla bla bla....
the way that I see it I have three possible options :
1) to pay a company in Italy that will organize everything- transfer of the ownership and I can keep the boat under Italian flag- they want 2000-2500 E !!! and I don't have this money to spend on this, and they still need the 4 owners (or power of attorney) to be present.
2) Another option is to forget about Italy and to make a new registration in the states. with the papers I have I know its possible, but then I am not sure if I will have any problems in the future ... I am planning to go around the world with the boat... basically the boat will be register in two places, in the Italian records the owners will be all the 4 of them but in the states it will be only me.
3) to walk away - which I really don't want, I love the boat and already spent a lot of money on her (survey, accommodation and some repairs)
BTW I am not planning to have any insurance but maybe the next owner will.
I already spoke with many documentation agencies and except the one in Italy no one else knows what to do.
So... what you think I should do?? any advises??
Thank you very much for Reading!
The first question is how is the actual title to the boat vested. In a single individual? In a Partnership? In a corporation? There may be various claims of ownership but, from your perspective, the issue is the vesting of the current title to the yacht and whether it is merchantable by the single individual that listed the boat for sale regardless of claims of ownership by others (or their estates). If a single person has the right to alienate the title, the claims by others are irrelevant to the buyer.
Further, if the yacht was listed for sale by the presumptive title holder and you acted in reliance on his/her representation to the selling broker and you as to his/her ability to transfer a clear title but such representation was false, whether by intention or otherwise, you have a right, at the least, to recover the costs you incurred. Considering that, I would get yourself a local attorney versed in Admiralty Law that could file a Notice and Demand for the repayment of your money damages and file a Maritime Lien on the ship to make it stick. I would also put the selling broker on notice that, while you might regret having to do so, you will be using a shotgun approach to recovering your costs, if necessary, even though he/she may be no less a victim of the presumptive title holder/seller's misrepresentation(s) than you which, in all likelihood, will motivate him/her to work with you to either clear the title or recover your costs. In no case would I simply walk away.
Lastly, as to your comment about not insuring the yacht, unless you have the means to self insure, both for hazard and liability, doing without insurance in Florida would be unwise IMHO.