PLANS for the first cruise liner to visit Portland have been thrown in doubt after the company behind the voyage entered voluntary administration.
Classic International Cruises (CIC) announced earlier this week that it was seeking administrators after negotiations broke down with the operators of cruise liner the MV Athena.
News of the company’s collapse has shaken the hopes of Portland tourism operators, who are keenly awaiting the arrival of the vessel in Easter next year.
The MV Athena was the first of three ships scheduled to bring hundreds of passengers to the region.
Glenelg Shire chief executive officer Sharon Kelsey said council was yet to hear if the a replacement ship had been found.
“We’d be disappointed if they do not come to the shire as expected,” Ms Kelsey said. “We do have others that are booked. It’s really about putting us on the map as a destination for cruise ships.”
Lawler Partner Brad Tonks told The Standard the receivers were still in talks.
“In the last 24 hours we’ve engaged in communications with a number of possible alternatives,” Mr Tonks said.
“We expect to know next week if there are any available options.”
About 5067 passengers have been confirmed for the Athena, which also had planned voyages to Tasmania, Kangaroo Island and Western Australia.
Circumstances behind CIC’s demise remain unclear, but Mr Tonk said the Athena had been unable to depart Marseilles in France due to “financial obligations”.
Talks between the company and the operators of another vessel, the MV Delphin, also broke down, with CIC then seeking urgent advice over its financial position before filling for administration.
The cruise ship had planned to anchor off Portland on February 5 and the South Australian town Robe as part of a five-night trip from Adelaide to Melbourne.
Ms Kelsey said Glenelg Shire remained hopeful it could bring cruise liners to Portland, with more cruises scheduled to arrive in 2014 and 2015.