The future of Greek shipping company NEL Lines (Maritime Company of Lesvos) is up in the air, following a decision by Alternate Marine Minister Thodoris Dritsas to side with the verdict of the Coastal Transportation Council (SAS) and declare the ferry operator forfeit, barring it from running routes to the Cyclades islands.
The procedure now foresees the launch of a bidding process in the coming days to the Greek Shipowners Association For Passenger Ships (SEEN) for the direct three-month concession of the company’s two lines to shipping companies with ferries meeting the requirements to operate the said routes.
According to media reports, Hellenic Seaways, which has repeatedly expressed interest in expanding its operations to the southeastern Attica port of Lavrio towards the Cyclades islands, is expected to show up.
NEL Lines was forced into the predicament after ongoing problems, which included severe delays and cancellations of ferry routes due to action launched by seamen demanding unpaid wages.
In response to the decision, the company issued a statement in which it said: “The company is exploring ways to replace these revenues by leasing its ships for charter travel in Greece, or preferably abroad, granted that it has been proven that coastal shipping in this continuing and intensifying financial crisis is no longer a profitable business.”
According to media reports, NEL is planning to issue new shares in an effort to seek investors who will help maintain the company’s activity and implement its recovery plan.