Wednesday, September 19, 2018

PORTO sold for breaking up

The Portuguese passenger ship PORTO has just been sold at a public auction in Lisbon on September 13, for 1,000,005.00 USD. The ship was purchased by a Turkish scraper, and is expected to be towed to Aliaga, Turkey on the next coming weeks. 
The sale of PORTO puts an end to the lasting agony of the small classic cruise ship, which had transported the final passengers in 2012 and has been laid up since March 15, 2013, when she arrived Lisbon from Montenegro, following rescue from creditors after the bankruptcy of George Potamianos' Classic International Cruises. 
The ARION returned to the river Tagus at the time on the initiative of Rui Alegre, who had just acquired four of the CIC's fleet of cruise ships by agreement with Montepio Geral, a Lisbon-based bank and set up Portuscale Cruises. Shortly afterwords the ship's name was changed to PORTO, which underwent major repairs at the Navalrocha shipyard in order to go to Greece, in June 2013, supposedly to cruise in the Aegean chartered to a Greek operator who entered into breach of contract even before the ships´s departure from Lisbon. 
PORTO ex-ARION dragged on from berth to berth until she was tied up in a lost former tanker jetty, the Matinha Pier, in 2014. 
PORTO was built in 1965 in Yugoslavia under the name ISTRA, a sistership of DALMACIJA, for a regular line linking the Adriatic to the Middle East. In 1969 she was converted for cruising, an activity in which she obtained significant success. As ASTRA1, she was bought in Haifa by George Potamianos, at a public auction, for USD 1 million, back in March 1999. A complete modernization followed in Lisbon, in an investment that then reached 18 million euros. With the name ARION the ship operated in the international cruise markets from May 2000 to November 2012. Although a few millions were poured into the ship in 2013, Portuscale Cruises proved unable to reactivate PORTO, which will now end her days in the same place former fleet mate LISBOA ex-PRINCESS DANAE, ended in 2015.
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