Salamis Lines has sold its only cruise ship, Salamis Filoxenia, to Dubai-based Prime Spot Ship Trading, as part of the liquidation of the company.
Salamis Lines said in a statement carried by Trade Winds that it was exiting the cruise industry after more than 25 years due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 1975-built Salamis Filoxenia is expected to be sold for scrap by Prime Spot Ship Trading.
Salamis Tours, the parent company of the cruise line, said in an announcement to the Cyprus stock exchange that it had sold the 15,400-gross ton Salamis Filoxenia for US $4.1 million, and expects to make a US $1.7 million accounting gain on the sale.
Prime Spot paid a 15% down payment and the deal is expected to be concluded by the end of February.
Salamis Lines has operated seasonal cruises out of Cyprus since 1996, and acquired Salamis Filoxenia for US $6.5m in July 2009, when the ship was named Van Gogh.
The ship was built in 1975 by Wärtsilä Turku Shipyard as the Belorussiya class-cruiseferry Gruziya for the Black Sea Shipping Company, which operated in what was then the Soviet Union.
She was rebuilt into a cruise ship during the 1980s and served under various names for several owners in the Ukraine and Netherlands.
Salamis Filoxenia was the last ship still in service of the five Belorussiya class ships that were built.
While the sale marks Salamis Lines’ exit from the cruise industry, its parent company has indicated that it may offer cruise services again in the coming years once the pandemic has subsided.
The sale of Salamis Filoxenia and the liquidation of Salamis Lines also marks the latest cruise operator to cease operations due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cruise industry.
When the pandemic was declared in 2020, it forced the cruise industry to shut down globally, causing several cruise lines to declare bankruptcy.
The Spanish cruise line Pullmantur and the British line Cruise & Maritime Voyages were the first to go, followed by Indian cruise line Jalesh Cruises, and more recently the Hong Kong-based Genting, which owns Star Cruises and Dream Cruises.
Several dozen cruise ships have also been scrapped since COVID-19 emerged, thirteen ships were decomissioned in 2020, and nine in 2021.