The White Fleet must publish “MS Stadt Düsseldorf”.

Judgment after an auction on Ebay
The White Fleet must publish “MS Stadt Düsseldorf”.

The purchase of the ship “MS Stadt Düsseldorf” via the Internet auction house Ebay has legally expired and is therefore effective. This was decided by the Düsseldorf District Court on Tuesday. The White Fleet as a seller had refused to surrender the ship.

All excuses were in vain: the white fleet must hand over the passenger ship “MS Stadt Düsseldorf” to the buyers in Cologne. As expected, the 8th Civil Chamber of the Düsseldorf District Court ruled on Tuesday. Fleet bosses had previously tried unsuccessfully to overturn what they considered to be far too bad a buy through the online platform Ebay. But instead of achieving a higher price, the action for the white fleet becomes more and more expensive: in addition to the legal costs, the sellers now also have to pay the plaintiff from Cologne 2,000 euros for his legal costs . The verdict is not yet legally binding.

The company previously refused to release the vessel after the auction ended in August 2020. The reason given was that the auction did not run smoothly. Among other things, this was a security feature of the Internet auction house, which requests verification for bids over 50,000 euros – which is why potential bidders were unable to submit their offers on time. Moreover, the general manager’s wife simply “forgot” to mention a mortgage of at least 1.4 million euros that weighed on the ship.

The plaintiffs – four innkeepers from Cologne – saw things differently and have been trying since last fall to have legal action taken against the ship. And what the fleet bosses considered to be effective arguments to burst the trade, Judge Larissa Schildgen did not retain any point. Accordingly, according to the verdict, the contract for the purchase of the “MS Stadt Düsseldorf” was concluded completely legally – and the ship must be returned to the buyer. According to this argument, a contract for the sale of an inland waterway vessel can be concluded without complying with the formal requirements. The chamber also rejected the objection that the vessel should not have been auctioned due to the mortgage.

The final backdoor left to the White Fleet is to challenge the Regional Court’s decision and appeal to the Higher Regional Court. The company’s lawyer had already suggested this during a hearing at the end of March. However, should the White Fleet’s losing streak continue in the Higher Regional Court, the Fleet would also have to bear the legal costs – and on top of that, all expenses incurred by Cologne’s highest bidder up to that point. (Az 8 O 321/20).

The ship, built in 1970, was overhauled a few years ago for around 100,000 euros. The “MS Stadt Düsseldorf” can carry 250 people, the lower deck offers a large dance floor and a bar. The Küffner family’s shipping company had its fleet of four ships Paid content want to clear up after the corona-related drop in sales. At the auction, the family expected sales proceeds of around 400,000 euros.

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