Color Line lays-off 500 employees, suspends passenger service

Passenger ferry operator Color Line has announced that it is suspending passenger operations and laying off additional employees.

Citing new government restrictions that on passenger movements, Color Line has suspended passenger cruises between Norway and Germany. “Color Line has therefore decided to discontinue MS Color Magic (IMO 9349863) between Oslo and Kiel until further notice”, the company said.

In November last year Color Line removed Passenger/Cargo RoRo Color Fantasy (IMO 9278234), from operation after a previous round of travel restrictions were announced in Norway and Germany. The line had continued to operate its cruise service from Oslo, but passengers were not permitted to go ashore in Germany. Instead they were required to make a round trip to Norway.

The line’s cargo operations will continue. Ro-ro Color Carrier will continue to operate between Oslo and Kiel. Cargo service between Kristiansand, Larvik, and Hirtshals, also continues aboard the line’s two ferries, SuperSpeed 1 and SuperSpeed 2.

Noting the decline in the company’s revenues and costs of maintaining the two passenger ferries in lay-up, CEO Trond Kleivdal said that “Color Line, unfortunately, finds itself forced to announce further layoffs of close to 500 employees.” He noted that this would be in addition to the around 1,000 who have already been laid off. The company initially laid off 600 employees and added a further 400 when the Color Fantasy was removed from service in November. Norwegian media speculated that the company might permanently eliminate at least 300 positions as a result of restructuring.

Kleivdal said that Color Line was undertaking a constructive dialogue with the relevant unions for employees at sea, as well as for shoreside personnel.

“The redundancies may be revoked at short notice when the authorities allow passenger traffic to return between Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany”, he said.

2007-built, Norway-flagged, 75,156 Color Magic is owned by Color Line Cruises AS care of manager Color Line Marine AS of Sandefjord, Norway. It is entered with Gard P&I Club on behalf of Color Line Cruises AS. For H&M and Loss of Hire it is entered with Gard AS on behalf of Color Line AS.

2004-built, Norway-flagged, 75,027 gt Color Fantasy has a similar ownership and insurance structure.