Olympia Countess remains under arrest
Jan 10, 2004
The cruise ship Olympia Countess that was arrested on arrival in Durban on Thursday (see reports in this column and in the Cruise News section dated 22 December 2003), remains firmly in the hands of the Durban sheriff despite the hopes of the charterer, Starlight Cruises, that the ship’s owners Royal Olympic Cruises would settle outstanding debts in time to allow the ship to sail on Monday.
Based on the existing history and background of ROC the likelihood of Olympia Countess being able to continue her present cruise season from Durban seems increasingly less likely and the current betting in Durban is that the ship will end up being sold at a judicial auction.
The ship was arrested at the conclusion of a cruise to Mauritius, which also left more than 600 passengers on board disgruntled, confused and angry after the ship aborted a three-day stopover in Port Louis, Mauritius. It is thought this was to avoid the ship being arrested at the Indian Ocean port although some Olympia Countess personnel claim that the ship sailed immediately to avoid a cyclone in the vicinity.
However passengers who were on board complained of not being informed why the visit was cancelled and say they received little explanation from crew on board the ship.
The largely Greek crew are also unhappy about not having received their wages since October and as a result Mr Sprite Zungu, the ITF (International Transport Federation) representative in Durban has also had an arrest order granted against the ship. On a previous visit to Durban Mr Zungu was successful in negotiating the back pay of Filipino crew who were repatriated home, after they reported they had not been paid and had been forced to sign conflicting agreements regarding their contracts.