Pullmantur denies liquidation– The company still owes money to the Crew

Feb 21, 2021

The fate of the Spanish cruise line Pullmantur who filed for reorganization, claiming insolvency under Spanish law, is still unclear after mixed messages in the Spanish media were reported in the past few days.

On February 19, the Spanish newspaper Cinco Días,  reported that Pullmantur announced liquidation of the company in one year. The newspaper stated that the bankruptcy administrator has failed to find new investors to back the plan to refloat the company. The two major stakeholders Royal Caribbean (with 49% interest) and Springwater Capital (with 51% interest) agreed to proceed with the liquidation of the company.

One day after Cinco Días published the article, Pullmantur spokesperson denied the information about the liquidation of the company, reports AGENT TRAVEL. According to the latest update Pullmantur is holding meetings with different investors in relation to the financing of the business plan. In addition, the company said that the appropriate steps are already being taken to expedite refunds to passengers and travel agencies. The company said that the Employment Regulation File (ERE) is currently being processed and the business plan is finalized.

Despite the great progress Pullmantur made in 2019, the standstill of the cruise industry coused the COVID-19 pandemic have made Pullmantur operations untenable without reorganization. Before the company filed for insolvency Pullmantur fleet consisted of three vessels, Sovereign and Monarch (former Royal Caribbean ships) which were sent to the scrapyard in Turkey, and the Horizon waiting to be scrapped.

After Pullmantur canceled all cruises, the company promised to refund guests and travel agencies by the end of 2020, and the employees in the company’s headquarters in Madrid said they also didn’t receive their salaries.

Pullmantur owes money to the crew

Following the latest developments, several Pullmantur crew members sent Crew Center messages saying that the company owes them money. According to them, Pullmantur has charged the crew for an airplane ticket from home back to the ship, just before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and during the repatriation. This is a standard procedure (in normal circumstances) for most of the cruise lines in order to provide an airplane ticket for its employees and charge them on the last week before they sign-off. However, the crew said they didn’t use these tickets because all Pulmantur ships were sent for scrap and didn’t receive any money back or any update from the company since last year. Other cruise lines didn’t charge its crew for return tickets once they were repatriated, because this is a financial burden for the crew, and the simple fact that nobody knew when they will resume cruises. For example, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises crew members didn’t pay for return tickets when they were repatriated last year.

“I left the ship and paid a flight ticket to return back on board.  I to embark in Dubai and paid my ticket for my home to Dubai but all was cancel because of of the covid crisis and Pullmantur never returned the money we are waiting maybe we will come back that why until now nobody received the money but as i can see Pullmantur they said cannot operate again. As for the crew, Pullmantur didn’t send us any updates or emails if we are not on Facebook we don't know anything what is really going on and this is not professional. The worst is that nobody from the crew received an email and we paid for our ticket.” said one Pullmantur crew member

Here's a message from another crew member:

"I would like to know if Pullmantur will be able to pay back our paid ticket. It's been 1 year and two months since the last time I disembark but until now keep on communicating with our agent regarding the refund of the paid ticket but nobody gives us the answer. They just left us behind without notice to the crew very sad want that money back. I really need that money for my family they have bring back that paid ticket to us specialy now when I don't have a job"

and another message from a crew member:

"Hello crew center I hope that you could help us to solve our problem as of this moment Pullmantur did not respond to our emails since the company already out of the business. I was repatriated last March 2020 in Dubai. But before I disembark they cut off my money because of the returning ticket. But as of now, the company is no longer active in the business we ask to bring our money back. I need that money for my family. They cut 598 us dollars before I disembark. It's huge money for me and It will help my family.

At this point, the Pullmantur crew don’t know what to do or how they can get their money back. This problem should be addressed by all authorities involved in the Pullmantur process included the Insolvency Administration headed by bankruptcy administrator Francisco Vera, and Pullmantur Cruises itself. The company owes money to the crew as well as the travel agencies and the HQ employees in Madrid. The return of the money to the crew must be a top priority, regardless if Pullmantur sails again or the company will cease to exist.