India’s first dedicated cruise line operating a large cruise ship, Jalesh Cruises, will not be resuming operations.
The company had been struggling financially since the suspension of cruises. It cited the impact of the pandemic and uncertainty over when cruising would resume. It had previously announced plans to resume operations in November 2020 after the Indian government outlined plans to reduce restrictions and permit travel to resume. Citing mounting debts, the company which had begun operations in April 2019, announced its decision to cease plans to resume service.
The company submitted a written statement, appealing to India’s High Court and Port Trust to assist. It noted that the company’s creditors had arrested the ship, the Karnika (IMO 8521220). Jalesh said that 60 crew members were stranded on the ship which remained in Mumbai.
The company said that “unfortunately, due to this delay (in the court’s response), the crew on the ship are living in poor conditions with no fuel, power, etc. We are hoping to get the crew members signed off and relieve them so that they can go home, as soon as the legal formalities are completed.”
The 70,000 gt Karnika was built in 1990 and had operated as Princess Cruises’ Crown Princess. Carnival Corp later transferred the cruise ship to Australia where she sailed as the Pacific Jewel alongside her sister ship the Pacific Dawn. Carnival Corp sold the ship in 2018 as part of an effort to modernize its Australian operations and improve yields from the cruise ships.
Jalesh launched as a dedicated Indian cruise line offering short party cruises, with plans to expand into longer trips. The company also said that it planned to acquire a second cruise ship to increase service.
However, operations were suspended on March 12th 2020; days later the ship was ordered arrested by India’s Admiralty Court with approximately $4m in debt, mostly for fuel and supplies. Subsequently the ship was briefly permitted to reposition when a cyclone was approaching the port, but since then has remained at Mumbai.
“We would like to reassure the crew and their families that we have not forgotten about them, hence, have put the right wheels in motion,” said the statement. “In addition, we assure our crew members that they will receive their salaries as soon as the funds are received. The main priority is to reunite the crew with their families.” 1990-built, Bahamas-flagged, 70,310 gt Karnika is owned by Jalesh Cruises Mauritius Ltd care of manager Campbell Shipping Co of Nassau, Bahamas. ISM manager is Campbell Cruise and Yacht Mgmt of Nassau, Bahamas