NATO bombings cause losses to Slovak shipping company

Slovakia's official river shipping company said in April that the Danube blockage due to NATO bombings in Yugoslavia could seriously jeopardise the company's future.

"We can say that a longer duration of a military conflict in Yugoslavia could cause our company serious losses which will fundamentally impact our already tight economic situation," Slovenská Plavba a Prístavy (SPAP) general director Pavol Šesták said in a statement.

Šesták estimated monthly losses due to the destruction of bridges on the Danube in northern Yugoslavia at 20.6 million crowns a month ($0.5 million). The losses were mainly from river transport, as well as from lost revenues from the Slovak river ports in Bratislava and Komárno, the company said.

The statement added that a part of the company's fleet remained cut off from Slovakia, but that all personnel had been successfully evacuated from Yugoslav territory.

A NATO air attack destroyed a bridge in Novy Sad on April 1. Two other bridges in Novy Sad were destroyed by bombings on April 3.

SPAP posted a loss of 15.18 million crowns on revenues of 614.3 million in the first three quarters of 1998. The company operates some 250 river vessels.

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