Riga Port buys Baltic Kristina ferry

  • 2005-12-21
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA 's The administration of Riga Free Port has purchased the Baltic Kristina, the ferry that had belonged to the Riga Sea Lines, for 2.5 million lats (3.6 million euros).

The port was the sole bidder for the ferry, which was Riga Sea Lines' only asset of any significance. The company was declared bankrupt after failing to repay a $7.7 million loan to Parex Bank that the port guaranteed. The funds were used to buy the ferry, which was built in 1973, for $5.5 million.

The port will have to pay for the ferry in one month's time.

For now, the port is unsure what to do with the ferry. Spokesman Karlis Leiskalns said it could be resold, or turned into a hotel.

According to Baltic News Service, he admitted that the port has come across difficulties after having guaranteed the loan Riga Sea Lines defaulted on.

Leiskalns said that ferry employees, who had refused to leave the ship for weeks after it was barred from leaving the port, would receive their back-pay.

Riga Port owns 19.72 percent of Riga Sea Lines, while Riga City Council, which owns and manages the port, 35.48 percent. They, along with other shareholders, this fall decided not to raise the company's capital to meet its debts; as a result, the company defaulted on the loan and went into receivership.

The company is likely to be liquidated, as the Estonia's Tallink prepares to become the premier operator of the lucrative Riga-Stockholm.