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Old 07.11.2008, 17:38
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SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

After the disappearance of Basel-Liverpool with easyjet, another of my regular travel options to get back to Blighty (England) has today stopped...

Seems to me like a dirty trick from Boulogne, especially as Boulogne is in negotiations with another operator. Also Speedferries drove down the cost of other channel ferrycompanies' services so if this lasts we can expect to lose more than one alternative.

A notice has appeared today at http://www.speedferries.com/
"7 November 2008 09:00
Arrest of SpeedOne by the Port Authorities in Boulogne
Yesterday afternoon, shortly after 17:00 UK time, the Port authorities of Boulogne arrested SpeedFerries’ SpeedOne during its turnaround. The arrest was made on the basis of SpeedFerries Limited’s debts to the port in relation to port dues and taxes.
The arrest was totally unexpected, as the authorities had given written confirmation that no legal steps would be taken prior to a meeting planned for 10:00 today. At this meeting SpeedFerries in consultation with its bankers and financial advisors, were to present a proposal for a resolution of the issues relating to outstanding dues and taxes, as well as disputes with the Port regarding:
A) Substantial counterclaims towards the Port which have been entirely ignored by the French authorities, and
B) Serious competition and discriminatory issues in relation to the Port’s dealings with a French ferry operator preparing to start-up a Dover-Boulogne service.
The authorities informed the SpeedFerries staff on site that the arrest was carried out despite the written agreement, as “this would strengthen the negotiating position of the Port against SpeedFerries”.
As the actions of the Boulogne Port authorities are now proven to be unpredictable and inconsistent with their given guarantees, SpeedFerries finds itself in a position where it is unable to inform its customers, employees or business partners, of a firm date for the resumption of services.
The company deeply regrets this situation and asks everyone affected to accept our sincere apologies. Further statements will be issued when more information of substance becomes available.

SpeedFerries Limited
Curt Stavis
Chief Executive Officer
"

Let's hope it gets resolved quickly and doesn't put Speedferries out of business.
Mike
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Old 07.11.2008, 18:19
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

This indeed sad news - especially if you have already booked or were waiting to board the 17:00 sailing yesterday.

I used Speedferries for 4 return journeys and often wondered how they were able to do this for around £50/CHF100 return and day returns at £29/CHF58 - now we see they weren't able to.

I'd have been happy to pay a little more and see them stay in business, but I fear this is the end of the road.

There'll be a lot of happy ferry operators now...
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Old 07.11.2008, 21:06
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

Any connection between the impounding of the Speed Ferries vessel and the discussions that the French authorities are having with a rival company in France to start another Dover-Boulogne crossing next year is a complete coincidence

http://info.itvlocal.com/speed_ferries.shtml
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Old 08.11.2008, 07:49
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

That's sad. I used them 4 times this year would hate having to use the others or Eurotunnel again. It's not just the cost, the staff have always been very friendly.
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Old 08.11.2008, 16:04
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

This is a shame. I've used them reguarly.
Friendly, cheap & a blissful lack of fruit machines & pis sed up booze cruisers.


They've not been having much luck this year - I got caught out twice this summer with them due to French fishermen blockading the port.
1st time it happened just as I was arriving to board, forcing a dash to Calais & £150 more. Unlucky.
2nd time they were great at informing me beforehand, phoning my mobile so I could make alternative arrangements & giving me a comp return ticket for another journey, which it looks like I won't be able to use now
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Old 08.11.2008, 18:43
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

It is indeed sad news, expecially as I am currently sitting on the "wrong" side of the Channel having used the last Bolougne - Dover crossing that sailed on the 6.11 being the 15:00 crossing. It was the trip after this one that was stopped in Bolougne.
Nevertheless, reading between the lines of the press announcement, it seems clear that the problem is that Speedferries may be in considerable debt to the port authorities. The press announcement mentions the fact that Speedferries had a planned meeting scheduled for Friday at 10am to discuss with the port and with their bankers a proposal to set up a payment plan and to discuss apparent counter-claims. From inside knowledge (and my own job and experience) I can tell you that it's not a simple matter to arrest a ship, Boulogne port must definitely have grounds to do so, arrest of vessel is strictly governed by international agreements. Also a clue is that Speedferries mentions that the port had given notice in writing that no action would be taken prior to the Friday meeting - obviously Speedferries were worried that action would be taken.

Now the situation seems to be that Speedferries are pushing the whole blame onto the port authority thus trying at the same time to avoid any compensation claims by claiming Force Majeuer.

I have not received a phone call or an email from Speedferries advising me what to do, so their customer service is a little lacking, I found out about the current situation purely by chance. I am still booked to return on Tuesday morning with the 8:00 Dover to Bolougne crossing. I have already made alternative arrangements as it's my belief that Speedferries are bankrupt.
A shame 'cos I liked their service.

BTW, the port of Bolougne were always acting in their rights to negotiate with other operators, Speedferries were unlikely to enjoy a monopoly for ever. They would not have been able to get an arrest without clear sufficient grounds to do so.

Ah well....
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Old 08.11.2008, 18:45
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

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This indeed sad news - especially if you have already booked or were waiting to board the 17:00 sailing yesterday.

I used Speedferries for 4 return journeys and often wondered how they were able to do this for around £50/CHF100 return and day returns at £29/CHF58 - now we see they weren't able to.

I'd have been happy to pay a little more and see them stay in business, but I fear this is the end of the road.

There'll be a lot of happy ferry operators now...
Indeed but my replacement trip bought from a ferry operator cost GBP 29 and I booked it yesterday evening for Tuesday sailing.
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Old 09.11.2008, 15:15
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

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Indeed but my replacement trip bought from a ferry operator cost GBP 29 and I booked it yesterday evening for Tuesday sailing.
Indeed, but I believe that the other operators dropped their prices significantly when Speedferries entered the market, and am also fairly sure that without Speedferries or another low-cost operator they will not be at the £29 level for much longer. The relationship between the other big players is ''alegedly" somewhat 'cosy'.
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Old 09.11.2008, 23:58
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

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Indeed, but I believe that the other operators dropped their prices significantly when Speedferries entered the market, and am also fairly sure that without Speedferries or another low-cost operator they will not be at the £29 level for much longer. The relationship between the other big players is ''alegedly" somewhat 'cosy'.
Not quite so following recent changes of ownership and orders for new vessels. Similar situation to the BA/Easyjet cost similarities for LGW-GVA route.

Curt Stavis (Speedferries CEO) has to be congratulated that his arrogance has allowed him to survive as long as he has but he's had some luck with the demise of Hoverspeed.

Given some of the characters still involved in the Dover area I wouldn't be surprised if something rises from the ashes for the 2009 season.
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Old 10.11.2008, 09:27
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

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Indeed, but I believe that the other operators dropped their prices significantly when Speedferries entered the market, and am also fairly sure that without Speedferries or another low-cost operator they will not be at the £29 level for much longer. The relationship between the other big players is ''alegedly" somewhat 'cosy'.

I don't doubt that without Speedferries appearing on the scene a while back, the other ferry operators wouldn't have reduced their prices by much. The price differential between conventional ferry operator and the Eurotunnel is still huge though, I'd use the tunnel more if they weren't so flipping expensive.
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Old 12.11.2008, 13:49
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

I have found the company which says it will be operating the same route from 1st July 2009. You can even book online now. I tried a sample set of dates for a return in July 2009 and got £30 return starting from Boulogne and £40 return starting from Dover. Crossing time 1hr 45 mins
http://www.ldlines.co.uk/index.php
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Old 17.11.2008, 20:54
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SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) - Now in Administration

"On 12 November 2008, on the application of the Directors, the High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, made an Administration Order in relation to Speedferries Limited. Angela Swarbrick and Tom Burton of Ernst & Young LLP were appointed as Joint Administrators of Speedferries Limited. "The Administration is necessary because of SpeedFerries financial position and to ensure the best interests of creditors and customers are served. The Administrators are currently exploring the option of selling the business as a going concern."
Crossings are cancelled until November 16 but customers are being asked to keep hold of pre-booked tickets in case of "developments."
"

Shame - Let's hope something comes out of the ashes...
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Old 17.11.2008, 21:03
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

Speedferries is now in administration and their future looks bleak.

http://www.speedferries.com/

Also, in case you are travelling via Dover in the next couple of days, there is a 48 hour strike at the Port of Dover from 7.00am 18th November.
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Old 26.11.2008, 12:59
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Re: SpeedFerries (Dover-Bologne) only vessel siezed

Looks like this is the end for Speedferries - no buyer has been found and the staff are being made redundant:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/7749077.stm
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