We were introduced to Edwin Butter and OceanConservation by Erik Dalhuijsen, a trusted work colleague of 5 years. Mr Butter officially claimed to be a certified Lloyds certified surveyor who had continually maintained the Orion of Aberdeen, and officially presented as a "worldwide expedition vessel" .
They claimed to take scientists into the Atlantic to conduct research. In reality the Orion was "acquired" from Deiter & Angelika Schilling in 2011 for an agreed sum of 65,000. In depth police interviews with the Schillings, the original yacht broker in Lemmer Netherlands, marina staff and others revealed the truth. Dalhuijsen, a very close friend of Butter and long time steel vessel owner was in the area when Orion was acquired by Mr Butter.
Mr Butter had borrowed €30,000 from Dalhuijsen who wanted his money back. He also borrowed €28,500 from Michael Strottman (SY Hang Loose) who was never paid back, plus failed to pay an outstanding €2,500 to the Schillings before heading to the Canaries. So the Orion was acquired by Mr Butter for a total of €4,000 !
No proper maintenance was ever performed on the vessel. Serious deficiencies were cosmetically concealed and the vessel described as a thoroughly seaworthy vessel.
It transpires that very little of what Mr Butter claims can be substantiated:
- Lloyd's have no record of his claimed qualifications,
- HSE have no record of his claimed qualifications,
- RYA have no record of his name, despite being on possession of a Ocean Yachtmaster qualification card
- A claimed airline pilot with Air Holland but ten long standing employees contacted by investigators,
including Air Holland chief pilot 1985-2005 had never heard of him.
"Orion" was purchased from Dieter & Angelika Schilling in 2011.
A subsequent police investigation revealed that to make the purchase, €30,000 + €28,500 was borrowed from two individuals, neither of whom have been paid back (M.Strottman s/y Hang Loose + an other). A police interview with the Schilling's also revealed that only €62,500 of the agreed purchase price of €65,000 was handed over.
The Schillings sold "Orion" under full disclosure regarding its condition including serious corrosion and an historical catastrophic grounding.