FRENCH POLYNESIA PRESIDENT FLOSSE IN PARIS TO NEGOTIATE TAKEOVER OF STRANDED

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LUXURY LINERS IN TAHITI

PAPE‘ETE, Tahiti, French Polynesia (February 19, 2002 – Oceania Flash)--French Polynesia's President Gaston Flosse is in Paris, where he has initiated talks with a major shipyard that could take over two luxury liners, the Renaissance 3 and Renaissance 4, which the government seized last October, the Presidential Office said Tuesday in a statement.

The two vessels' parent company, Florida-based American Renaissance Cruises, wound up its operations during October of last year, as a result of adverse business effects resulting from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

As Renaissance 3 and 4 were at the time in French Polynesia and had outstanding debts with local providers, authorities seized the ships as a precautionary measure.

They have since remained stranded at Pape‘ete's main wharf.

On Tuesday, Flosse met Chantiers de l’Atlantique (Atlantic Shipyards) Chairman Patrick Boissier, who briefed the president about possible buyers for the two liners.

However, no formal agreement has yet been signed.

Flosse was reported as saying that since the matter "did not progress fast enough in his view," he would consider "involving the Territory (of French Polynesia) more directly.

This could mean the government stepping in to purchase the two vessels.

For additional reports from Tahiti Press, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources: Agence Tahitienne de Presse.

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