Wednesday October 24, 2012
Fred Olsen Ferries Threaten Closure of Canaries Routes
The Norwegian owned shipping giant Fred Olsen is threatening to call time on their ferry services in the Canaries as subsiding residents inter island travel to the tune of over €17 million creates a seeminly insourmantable debt burden.
Fred Olsen currently operates six routes in the Canary Islands, La Gomera-Tenerife, Tenerife- Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria-Fuerteventura, La Palma-Tenerife, and El Hierro-Tenerife and Lanzarote-Fuerteventura. So any withdrawal of the service between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura would give Spanish ferry company Navieras Armas a monopoly on this route.
According to Fred Olsen spokesperson Sebastian Cerezo; “It may be necessary to close ferry routes the company doesn’t make money on, and routes that depend on direct support from the Canarian authorities to remain in service.” As the Canarian Government has effectively run up a debt of €17.87 million, the bulk of which can be attributed to the fact that Canary Island residents are entitled to subsidised ticket prices.
Fred Olsen is currently examining ways in which they can maintain the current service, but according to Cerezo this is becoming increasingly difficult. Any closure of these services could have a negative impact on the job market as Fred Olsen currently employs 820 staff locally.