Old passenger ferry fails to lure investors, auction planned

  • 2006-08-23
  • From wire reports
RIGA - Riga Port is reportedly planning to organize an international auction to sell the Baltic Kristina passenger ferry, which has been at anchor since last October.

According to reports, Riga Free Port chief executive Leonids Loginovs has given up hope that the ferry might be taken over by Norway's Express Line Inc., with which the free port wanted to conclude a lease agreement with redemption rights.
Loginovs said he would prepare documents so that the port could announce an international auction for the ferry.
Port spokesman Karlis Leiskalns said the fate of the Baltic Kristina, which was built in 1973, might become clearer after a meeting of the port's administration this week.

In late June, the port's board approved the lease of the Baltic Kristina passenger ferry to Express Line Inc., which would have received also the rights to redeem the vessel.
Under the plan, Express Line would prepare the ship so that it could be put out to sea again and would pay a lease of $2,000 per day for use of the ferry. Express Line would then be able to redeem the ferry in one year's time for $3 million.
The Baltic Kristina used to carry passengers between Riga and Stockholm, but the route was suspended last October after Rigas Juras Linijas (Riga Sea Lines), a shipping company, went bankrupt.

The port acquired the Baltic Kristina at an auction last December for 2.5 million lats (3.6 million euros). Proceeds went to cancel the shipper's debt to Parex Bank, which had issued the loan for buying the ferry. Riga Free Port, which is one of the co-owners of RJL, had guaranteed the loan.
The court upheld the auction results in April this year, giving the port the right to decide the ferry's fate.