October 2, 2001
Renaissance Cruises, which filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, halting cruises midstream for some 2,000 passengers, has revealed the debt it faces as $110 million in passenger claims, $75 million in supplier claims and -- here’s the mammoth one -- $1.1 billion owed in relation to the ships themselves. The latest? * Renaissance has relinquished 8 out of 10 ships. Currently, the fleet is under the control of a group of French banks. Most, with the aid of skeleton crews, are being sailed to Gibraltar where they will be held for the time being. Some ships have been detained -- notably one that’s been ceased in Dover for debt to the port’s shipping agency -- and some are on their way. * The other two are in Tahiti and due to the legal agreement Renaissance had with the French government (the cruise line received funding assistance for those two ships from France) they cannot sail off without permission. The ships, according to sources, have been seized by port authorities in Papeete, Tahiti, over $1 million in unpaid fuel bills. * They may not need to, anyway, because reports indicate that R3 and R4, the ships that sail Tahiti (and were not part of the 8 that are being sent to Gibraltar), may resurface; Renaissance representatives are negotiating with possible financiers to resume sailing. Sources say an announcement could be made as early this week. This effort, according to the company’s bankruptcy lawyers, is a front-burner project in terms of any possibility of getting the company up and running again. *The banks now controlling Renaissance have said that crew will be paid for the month of September.