Another Royal Olympic Cruises ship faces arrest

Jan 7, 2004
Author: P&S

The Royal Olympic Cruises ship Olympia Countess faces likely arrest on arrival in Durban tomorrow morning (Thursday, 8 January).

Ports & Ships has learned of two arrest orders that were issued in the Durban High on Tuesday. The ship is currently returning from a New Year cruise to Mauritius and unless there is some last-minute development the arrest orders will be served on the ship when she docks at 07.00 in the morning. The orders have been brought on behalf of creditors but other arrest orders are pending subject to the two being served.

Hundreds of passengers were due to embark later in the day on a cruise along the Mozambique coast. A spokesman for Starlight Cruises said he was in touch with Royal Olympic Cruises and the respective lawyers and was still hopeful of a solution before the ship docked.

The International Transport Federation (ITF) also intends going on board the ship to investigate claims from several Greek crew members who say they have not been paid for several months. Earlier the ITF interceded on behalf of Filipino crew members over a dispute involving double employment agreements signed in Manila and with the Greek owners. The crew members were subsequently paid outstanding salaries and repatriated home.

The future for Greek cruise operator Royal Olympic Cruises (ROC) is beginning to look more bleak by the day with the company struggling to avoid further liquidation of its assets.

Two of the company’s latest cruise ships, Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer are already subject to Chapter 11 bankruptcy and are restricted to operating within US waters. German banks holding mortgages worth USD 230 million on the two ships that were built in a German shipyard are seeking to have the ships arrested should they move to a non-US port.

A third ROC cruise ship, the Triton is also in trouble in the Mediterranean. According to British newspaper reports passengers on board the Triton, who had intended seeing in the New Year in style were forced to transfer from the cruise ship to a car ferry in mid cruise, from where they were taken to Venice for a 5-hour bus ride to Genoa to catch their flights home. Passengers said they were told that if the ship had proceeded to Athens as planned it would have been impounded.

Several directors of ROC resigned their positions last week and share prices for ROC have plummeted. ROC has recorded losses of USD 50m for the past two years.

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