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Coronavirus puts Japanese Cruise Co. into insolvency

A cruise ship company in Kobe was effectively bankrupted by the coronavirus crisis on Monday after filing for protection from creditors under the corporate rehabilitation law.

In a statement, Luminous Cruising Co., which runs one of Japan’s largest restaurant cruise ships, laid the blame on customer cancellations linked to the COVID-19 outbreak on the Diamond Princess, the virus-hit cruise ship operated by Carnival Corp. of the United States.

Luminous Cruising, which operates the Luminous Kobe-2, a 4,778-ton liner with enough capacity for 2,000 passengers, now has ¥1.243 billion in debt, according to research firm Teikoku Databank Ltd.

The company was already experiencing financial difficulties due to disruptions caused by recent earthquakes and typhoons in western Japan. In addition, rising fuel prices were hurting the company even before the coronavirus outbreak.

Of the roughly 3,700 passengers and crew members on the Diamond Princess, more than 700 have been infected and six have died. The health ministry’s heavily criticized quarantine received wide coverage around the world, heavily damaging the cruise ship industry’s image.

“We have decided to start corporate rehabilitation processes because it would for sure cause great trouble to creditors if we leave this status quo unattended,” Luminous Cruising said in a statement on its website.

Tokyo-based First Pacific Capital Ltd., which operates the cruise ship Kobe Concerto, will help rehabilitate Luminous Cruising. Passengers who booked trips on the Luminous Kobe-2 will be offered trips on the Kobe Concerto instead.

Source: The Japantimes