Riga Port hopeful on deal with idle passenger ferry

  • 2006-02-01
  • From wire reports
RIGA - Riga Port officials said they expected to sign an agreement on selling or leasing the Baltic Kristina ferry within two months.

Port spokesman Karlis Leiskalns said that the port had received "very many" offers for leasing or purchasing the ferry. The port said it discussed two specific offers on Jan. 27, but Leiskalns declined to reveal either the potential owners of the ferry, the ferry's future fate, or the countries represented in the possible deal.

Leiskalns said that the first offer covered all the damages that the port had incurred in purchasing the ferry. He also said that the second offer also was much better than it would have been if the Riga Port administration had not bought the ferry.

The port administration ordered CEO Leonids Loginovs to work on sales or lease proposals, and an extraordinary meeting of the port administration could be called to decide on the proposals.

The port can sign the agreement with the new owner of the ferry only after the ferry is officially registered in the name of Riga Port. Leiskalns said that the results of the auction had been appealed to the court, but he expects the court to uphold the outcome.

Leiskalns also said that he hoped the port would manage to sign the agreement with the new owner of Baltic Kristina before Tallink, Estonia's shipping company, began running the Riga-Stockholm route, which used to be served by the Baltic Kristina.

The Riga Port administration bought the Baltic Kristina from the insolvent Latvian shipper Rigas Juras Linija (Riga Sea Lines) at an auction organized by the bailiff on Dec. 21, 2005. The auction was organized in order to recover RJL debt of $7.7 million to Parex Bank, which financed the purchase of the ferry.

The Baltic Kristina stopped sailing between Riga and Stockholm on Oct. 15 last year and is currently idle in the Riga Passenger Port.

On Nov. 7, 2005, the court declared RJL as insolvent. The company applied for insolvency due to its financial hardship.