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Scandal Hit Cruise Co May Close

Date Posted: 2000-05-19

Star Cruise Lines which operates a regular cruise line between Taiwan and Okinawa is rumored to be ending its operations here by fall, because of accumulating debts.

The company is said to have run up debts on the cruise to the tune of ¥1 billion since it started running the six-day cruises in 1997.

The ship leaves Keelung in Taiwan every Sunday, then docks in Hirara City in Miyako Island, proceeds to Awase Port in Okinawa, and on its way back to Keelung, stops at Ishigaki Island.

Local tour officials have pleaded with the company to reconsider, as they regard the cruises as a very important in promoting local tourism.

Star Cruise Lines on other hand, accuses local municipalities and the prefecture of giving them less than enthusiastic support.

Specifically, the company complains that the port facilities in Nakagusuku Port and Naha are totally inadequate for passenger operations. Yoshikazu Higashi, Vice President of Okinawa Tourist Service Co. agrees.

“Okinawa’s ports are made for cargo handling. It gives tourists a very bad first impression of Okinawa when they land here in the middle of a sea of containers.”

The cruise line brings about 80,000 tourists a year to Okinawa from Taiwan.

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