Company collapse hits Portsmouth port's cruise trade

Portsmouth International Port Image copyright Google
Image caption Portsmouth International Port is used by passenger ferries, cruises and cargo ships

Portsmouth is to lose more than 40% of its cruise ship trade after a holiday firm went bust.

All Leisure Holidays (ALH), which owns Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery, went into receivership on Wednesday.

An emergency meeting was called earlier between Portsmouth International Port and its owner Portsmouth City Council.

But council leader Donna Jones played down the impact on the city, saying port fees from the company represented less than 1% of the port's turnover.

She said: "We're talking just over £100,000 here so it's not going to be a massive blow to the city council or for the port.

"Our cruise business is a very small part - less than 10% - of the turnover for Portsmouth International Port."

According to the port's website, the two affected ships - Minerva and Voyager - represented 19 of the ports 46 cruise bookings for 2017.

Image caption Voyager (pictured) and Minerva's sailings have been cancelled following the collapse of ALH

The £16m cruise terminal, which opened six years ago, is used by a number of other operators, including Saga, Viking Ocean Cruises and Fred Olsen.

ALH's vessels were the port's most frequent cruise visitors - Minerva was due to call at Portsmouth 11 times in 2017 and Voyager - eight times. Other operators' vessels are each due to visit one to three times this year.

Ms Jones said the council would be putting in a claim to the company's administrators for loss of revenue, having signed a three-year contract with All Leisure Holidays in 2016.

Port harbourmaster Rupert Taylor said: "The port remains committed to establishing and developing its cruise business. With its first-class facilities, great transport links and reputation for excellence we are confident it will remain a popular choice for cruise companies and passengers."

About 400 holidaymakers were left stranded and about 150 people lost their jobs when ALH ceased trading.

Future bookings for about 13,000 people have also been cancelled.

Image copyright James TM Towill
Image caption Minerva was originally intended to be a Soviet research vessel

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