UK-based Tradewind Voyages, operator of the five masted square rigged cruise sailing ship ‘Golden Horizon’, has suspended bookings and will probably have to cancel voyages, due to sanctions-related disruption to its financing, owner Croatian DIV Group, said.
The world’s largest sailing ship was scheduled to cruise the Mediterranean until October, 2022 and then in the Caribbean for the 2022/23 winter season.
It has been revealed that the company has a financial tie-up with the German division of Russian state-owned VTB Bank. The bank has been hit by European and US sanctions.
As a result, VTB’s German subsidiary was cut off from its Russian parent.
German financial regulator BaFin ruled that, due to EU sanctions, VTB’s Moscow headquarters can no longer give the German branch instructions or access its assets.
DIV said that it was taking financial advice and exploring its options. Meanwhile, Tradewind had ceased sales and has warned that “voyage cancellations are expected.” The company said that all customer deposits for bookings were secure, being kept in a trust fund.
DIV CEO, Alan McGrory, said; “While we have been working with VTB Germany, its headquarters are based in Russia where the bank has been sanctioned because of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. DIV Group continues to explore every option to rectify the issue. The decision to pause sale on voyages is a difficult one, but the right thing to do currently.