On October 15, Baltic Kristina’s cruise from Riga – Stockholm was cancelled.
Many passengers refused to abandon the ship. The problem with foreign
passengers was solved – they were sent to Sweden through Tallinn. Meanwhile
Latvians and Lithuanians who were supposed to return to Latvia with the same
cruise from Stockholm were not able to do that.
On October 14, the Freeport of Riga Authority announced that Rigas Juras
Linijas will have to stop operating due to the company’s financial problems. It
was planned that Baltic Kristina would make its last cruise last weekend and
would take passengers from Stockholm back to Riga, however, the trip was
suddenly cancelled. The cheated passengers refused to abandon the ship.
Chairman of the Board of Rigas Juras Linijas, Janis Butnors, ordered his
staff not to kick out the the passengers and to open the cafeteria, restaurants
and to feed them without any charge. Representatives of the company are not even
allowed to enter their office in the port due to rental debt of LVL 120,000 to
the Riga Passenger Terminal. On October 15, the port was closed for everyone. On
October 16, all passengers had left the ship. Meanwhile Latvians in Sweden
kicked up a big fuss. However, now the situation is better and passengers have
agreed to return to Riga with a bus through Tallinn.
After negotiations between the Freeport of Riga, the company Rigas Pasazieru
Terminalis and the Estonian company Tallink, the public relations director of
the Freeport of Riga, Karlis Leiskalns, announced that Tallink could start
traffic from Riga to Stockholm in January of 2006.
The Estonian company has announced it is ready to establish a daughter
company -Rigalink- in Latvia. Leiskalns said that all interested parties are
ready to make compromises. The second stage of negotiations will be held on
October 25 in Tallinn. Leiskalns is certain that Rigalink‘s offer will not
differ from the offer of Rigas Juras Linija. The Finish company Viking Line is
also showing interest in the route Riga-Stockholm and hopes to start regular
traffic there. Director of Viking Line, Nils-Erik Eklund, is planning to visit
Riga and meet with the relevant authorities within the next few weeks.