CMV falls into receivership

Cruise and Maritime Voyages, which focused on the UK market, has been placed into receivership. CMV was established just over a decade ago.

The Essex-based company, which employs about 4,000 people had been in talks with lenders and other creditors since June.

It had hit additional problems in June when the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency  boarded several ships operated by CMV over alleged non-payment of wages and contract expirations. (See IMN, June 22nd, June 23rd, July 13th).

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) stepped in to aid the repatriation of crew who were on six of Global Cruise Lines’ ships. The vessels were docked at Tilbury London and Bristol Avonmouth in the UK. All of the ships remain currently laid up in the U.K.

Crew members were reported stranded unable to return home due to the travel restrictions related to the coronavirus. Some of the Indian nationals onboard staged a brief demonstration to highlight their situation. The ITF said that was working to assist the repatriation of 1,500 or so crew members from countries that included Indonesia, India, Myanmar, and Mauritius.

CMV-Cruise and Maritime Voyages ships Astoria (IMO 5383304), Astor (IMO 8506373), Columbus (IMO 8611398) and Vasco da Gama (IMO 8919245) were at Tilbury, UK, while CMV Marco Polo (IMO 6417097) was docked at Bristol. The seafarers were stuck on the vessels because of the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic. The MCA surveyors discovered a number of expired and invalid Seafarer’s Employment Agreements, late payment of wages, and crew who had been onboard for more than 12 months. CMV’s sixth cruise ship, the Magellan, was not detained.

CMV’s rescue plans hit the buffers when Barclays Bank decided not to offer a £25m state-backed loan under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). Carnival Corp was said to be among CMV’s creditors.

CMV borrowed about €60m from Australian Bank Macquarie in February. It was reported that Macquarie had provided further support to the company by waiving interest payments and advancing additional funds to support salary payments to crew, as well as repatriation efforts.

A notice posted to the company’s website yesterday read, “We are sorry to inform you that South Quay Travel Limited (SQTL) – which traded under the name Cruise & Maritime Voyages – was placed into administration on 20th July 2020. Paul Williams, Phil Dakin and Edward Bines of Duff & Phelps Ltd. were appointed Joint Administrators of SQTL. At present the Administrators are evaluating SQTL’s financial position.”

CMV had expanded rapidly during its relatively short life. It had booking offices in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and the U.S. The company grew by acquiring older ships from Carnival Corporation. Given that Carnival is reported to be a significant creditor, CMV is unlikely to have paid cash. CMV currently owns five of its cruise ships, with the Astoria operating on a charter that was due to end in 2021.

The company had also agreed to acquire two additional ships in 2021 from Carnival’s P&O Cruises Australia and Carnival Corp had recently included those ships in the calculation for its fleet downsizing.

The receiver for CMV is telling people who still hold reservations that they should be protected by ABTA. The small number of people who purchased flight-inclusive packages would be protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme.

CMV chief executive Christian Verhounig said that “the directors have all worked tirelessly with CMV’s financial advisors, investment bankers, lawyers, and numerous private equity and hedge fund investors to try and secure the funding required to enable CMV to weather the storm,” but that the company however had been unable to secure financing to continue operations.

CMV follows Spain’s Pullmantur Cruises and Sweden’s Birka Cruises, becoming the third cruise and passenger ship operator to cease trading since the Covid-19 pandemic devastated the global cruise industry.

Spain’s Pullmantur Cruises had its three cruise ships repossessed by the Royal Caribbean Group, which had been an investor in the company. Those vessels were reported to have been sold for scrap.

Earlier this month short cruise operator Birka Cruises also announced that it was going out of business.

1948-built, Portugal-flagged, 16,144 gt Astoria is owned by Islands Cruises Transportes care of manager Sociedade de Consultores Maritimos Lda (SCMA), of Lisbon, Portugal. ISM manager is Global Cruise Lines Ltd of Athens, Greece. It is entered with American Club on behalf of Global Cruise Services Ltd.

1993-built, Bahamas-flagged, 55,877 gt Vasco Da Gama is owned by Mythic Cruises Ltd care of manager Global Cruise Lines Ltd of Athens, Greece. It is entered with American Club.

1987-built, Bahamas-flagged, 20,704 gt Astor is owned by Passion Shipping & Investment care of manager Global Cruise Lines Ltd of Athens, Greece. It is entered with American Club.

1989-built, Bahamas-flagged, 63,786 gt Columbus is owned by Lyric Cruise Ltd care of manager Global Cruise Ltd of Athens, Greece. It is entered with American Club.

1965-built, Bahamas-flagged, 22,080 gt Marco Polo is owned by Story Cruise Ltd care of manager Global Cruise Lines of Athens, Greece. It is entered with American Club.