A cruise firm which sailed from Dundee has entered administration after coronavirus impacted its ability to operate.
South Quay Travel & Leisure Limited, which traded as Cruise & Maritime Voyages, started the liquidation procedure on Monday night. All bookings have been cancelled.
The Essex-based company employs around 4,000 people with sales offices in Australia, France, Germany and the US.
The Courier publisher DC Thomson had partnered with the firm for planned Best of Norway and Scottish Isles cruises.
These bookings are covered by UK travel trade association ABTA, which gives customers protection when a travel company goes out of business.
The administrators said the action was “likely to result in the redundancy of the UK employees and an uncertain future for those employees in the wider group.”
Paul Williams, joint administrator at Duff & Phelps, stated: “The travel, tourism and wider hospitality industry has been engulfed with a devastating and unprecedented global pandemic of seismic proportions impacting very hard on CMV’s once thriving cruise business compounded by last week’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advisory against cruise travel.
“Unfortunately, despite the collective very best efforts and being very close to securing the long-term finance needed, CMV was unable to conclude the funding within the timescales required which has led to the administration of the business.”
The company, which formed 10 years ago and had a fleet of six ships, had previously been forced to suspend all its sailings from March 13 till August 25, resulting in the cancellation of 50,000 holidays.
In a statement, CMV chief executive Christian Verhounig, apologised to “loyal and hardworking” staff and travel trade partners, thanking them for their support.
He said: “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.
“Only last year CMV was celebrating a record trading year and our first decade in cruising but the CMV journey has tragically been cut short by this unprecedented global pandemic.
“We are truly sorry to our loyal and hard-working shoreside staff and seafarers, travel trade partners and suppliers who have all patiently stood by us and to our valued passengers for the disappointment and further disruption to their cruising holiday plans.
“On behalf of the CMV family, directors and shareholders, I would like to thank everyone for their great support and sincerely apologise for these circumstances which are directly related to Covid-19 and beyond our control.”
The inaugural DC Thomson Travel cruise venture on the ship Magellan had initially been due to depart this summer. It was then rescheduled to 2021. The Magellan has been a regular visitor to Dundee since her inaugural 2015 season.
Craig Houston, head of enterprise at DC Thomson Media, said: “The challenges being faced by the travel industry are worrying, and I’m saddened to hear the news of Cruise & Maritime Voyages entering administration.
“We have worked closely with the team at Cruise & Maritime Voyages to offer DC Thomson Travel customers exciting destinations with a quality cruise partner.
“It’s disappointing to know our customers won’t be able to enjoy what would have been a brilliant travel experience.”
Anyone who has made a booking should refer to the ABTA website.
The ABTA guidance states: “South Quay Travel & Leisure Limited – trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages – sold mainly cruise packages which are protected by ABTA.
“They also sold a small number of flight-inclusive packages which are protected by the CAA’s ATOL scheme.
“Please be aware that all bookings that have not taken place are cancelled.
“Customers that have booked a package holiday provided by South Quay Travel & Leisure Limited – trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages – through a travel agent should contact the travel agent in the first instance for further advice and assistance as they may have made alternative arrangements for you.
“If you booked a non-flight package holiday (eg a cruise without flights) through South Quay Travel & Leisure Limited – trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages – it is protected by ABTA or by your credit or debit card issuer.
“If you paid South Quay Travel & Leisure Limited – trading as Cruise & Maritime Voyages – directly using a debit or credit card you will need to submit your claim for a refund to your card issuer.”