Two unfinished cruise ships that may only have scrap value and an insolvent shipyard: The situation on the coast is not good for the people of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. And after Nord Stream 2, there could be another political scandal for Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig.
“Global Dream One” and “Global Dream Two” are the names of the two cruise ships that are more or less completely built at the shipyards in Wismar and Warnemünde. They are waiting for buyers but may only have scrap value. Your client and thus also the MV shipyard as the builder are bankrupt.
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The worldwide dream, as “Global Dream” can be translated, has become a nightmare for those involved. The cruise giants that nobody needs anymore stand for a gigantism that is difficult to understand in times of sustainability. In the meantime, they are also unfolding a very special nightmare for the country’s head of government, Manuela Schwesig (SPD). Because there are increasing signs that Schwesig personally released state guarantees for the shipyards when it was already becoming apparent that the shipbuilder would no longer be able to survive.
The cruise has a future and so does the construction of cruise ships. The state government will support the MV shipyards in need due to the corona pandemic. Cruise ships would also be built in Rostock-Warnemünde, Stralsund and Wismar in the future. This optimistic message was spread by Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig and her SPD party friend Reinhard Meyer, who has been Minister of Finance until the elections in September and Minister of Economics since then. Since the shipyard went bankrupt and it has become more and more likely that no buyers will be found for the cruise giants that have started, this assessment by politicians from last year has become explosive.
The following happened: MV Werften filed for bankruptcy in January. A few days later, the sole shareholder of MV Werften, the gaming and cruise company Genting from Hong Kong and Malaysia, had to admit that it was bankrupt, as was the cruise subsidiary Dream Cruises. Since then, the federal government and the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which promote cruise ship construction in the north-east with billions in loans and guarantees and even supported them with emergency loans during the pandemic, have been threatened with a net loss that, according to calculations by a reporter team from NDR, is well over one billion euros could lie.
It is tax money that has been sunk and it could have been saved. However, Schwesig and her team were campaigning last year, and it would not have looked good to refuse to support the traditional shipyards in Wismar and Warnemünde. “As a state, we are ready to continue to support the MV shipyards,” said Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig on May 31, 2021 in the state parliament in Schwerin. “In return, however, we expect the owner to stand by the three locations and the employees. Genting has promised that.”
However, MV insolvency administrator Christoph Morgen found that he had not been able to discover anything of such a promise. In a press conference, he reported that the Asian owners had been planning to close the operations on the north German coast for some time. A “solvent liquidation” was planned – and thus the opposite of what Schwesig had set as a condition for guarantees.
“Did the Prime Minister and her government know nothing about the closure concept? Or were they informed and withheld the truth from the public for a year and raised false hopes?” ask the NDR reporters. A request from FOCUS Online in the Schwerin Ministry of Economic Affairs remained unanswered. The exact loss for the taxpayer resulting from the guarantees for defaulting loans is therefore also unclear. In any case, it should be in the three-digit million range and depends on what the insolvency administrator still earns if he can sell parts of the shipyards and the ships started.
What is clear, however, is that Schwesig is dragging another political burden around with him. She is already neck deep in the Nord Stream 2 scandal. It has allowed itself to be externally controlled by the Kremlin, installed a climate foundation worth millions as a front company and lobby institution for Gazprom, deceived the public and got caught up in all sorts of contradictions. Despite calls for her resignation, she has remained in office so far. The shipyard affair is now an additional burden.
The post “Cruises canceled: The “Global Dream” is now becoming a nightmare for Schwesig” comes from WirtschaftsKurier.