Cypriot owner Salamis Lines has quit the cruise industry and sold its only cruise ship to Prime Spot Ship Trading of Dubai.

Salamis, via parent company Salamis Tours, said in an announcement to the Cyprus stock exchange that it had sold the 15,400-gt Salamis Filoxenia (built 1975) for $4.1m.

Prime Spot has paid a 15% down payment and the deal is expected to be concluded by the end of February.

Salamis expects to make a €1.55m ($1.77m) accounting gain on the sale.

The Covid-19 pandemic was cited by Salamis as the reason it is exiting the cruise market. The company, which has operated seasonal cruises out of Cyprus since 1996, said it might acquire another cruise ship once the pandemic has died down.

The Salamis Filoxenia was acquired as Van Gogh for $6.5m in July 2009.

It was to have been sold in November 2018 in a deal that would have netted a €3.95m accounting gain. However, that deal failed and the ship continued to operate for Salamis until the end of its summer 2019 cruise season.

The sale leaves Salamis with a pair of ro-ros that operate in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Prime Spot Ship Trading appears to be a special-purpose vehicle set up specifically to acquire the Salamis Filoxenia. The company is not listed in any shipping databases, nor does it appear in any United Arab Emirates corporate registries, and could not be reached for comment.