Friday, 20 February 2009


I have a reputation for being a bit sceptical about 'Good News' stories and the news that was trumpeted a few weeks ago about a new Euroferries service from Ramsgate to Boulogne was no exception.
As many 'savers' have found in recent times, if the 'return seems to be good to be true', then it generally is. So what are we in Thanet to make of The Euroferries announcement on its pretty cheap looking and uninspiring 'website' ( ?
Try and ring them; not possible.
Do they have an office anywhere?: cannot find it.
Do they actually own a ferry? : won't believe it until I see it.
Can I make a booking for the summer?: no details at all.
Do they run Ferries anywhere else? : don't think so.
When was the service due to start?: March (but isn't that only a few days away?)
Rumours abound of a 'state of the art ferry' due to speed up The Channel to Ramsgate in the next few days; presumably to the joy of 'Woger' Latchford and our South Thanet MP Dr Steve Ladyman who have welcomed this news and look forward to the hundreds of jobs that will result. That said, Dr Ladyman seems to be cautious and has said "I'll breathe a sigh of relief when I see the service started. We should save our celebrations until then".
Bertie, is'nt too optimistic, nor is his contact in The Port of Boulogne; 'Monsieur Bertie, c'est tres difficile "we think it will not happen but will be happy if it does". ( Very laid back chaps, our Gallic neighbours.)
The veil of secrecy has fallen over this Ferry Business as the veil of secrecy fell over the 'air operator' doing some late freight stuff at Manston. For those who may have been alarmed that Iris Airlines were the people with one plane; fear not. A source tells me BWAC are descending in numbers next week on Manston to recce and discuss.
I digress. The last time Euroferries were involved 'in secrecy' was all to do with a ferry called 'The Spirit of Ontario'. Let me show you an extract from the Shipping Times in 2007:
"The SPIRIT OF ONTARIO is currently laid up at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, placed there in December 2006 months after the announcement in May 2006 that a British company called Euroferries Ltd were to purchase the vessel from Rochester's ferry company for $29.8 million.
Despite papers and emails flying to and fro across the Atlantic, the ferry hasn't done much crossing itself and the mayor is livid.Now Mayor Duffy wants a face to face.The Rochester Chronicle reports: "It really comes down to one thing: My frustration with how this process has dragged on for months and there has not been a face-to-face negotiation," said Duffy, who has told city Corporation Counsel Thomas Richards to make travel arrangements. "I'm putting an end to this endless stream of e-mails and phone calls."
Euroferries' own website, which appears to have been last updated on the date of its creation, 8th of June 2006, merely states that a press release on its intention to begin operations as "the most innovative, successful and effective high speed cross-channel operator" is 'imminent'. The address for the company is simply given as 'Dover, UK'.
Last year Euroferries had announced they were to source another ship as well as look to Austal to build them a new vessel. So far nothing seems to have materialised on these intended purchases.
The newspaper Kent on Sunday reported last year that Mr Geoffrey Ede, the former MD of Hoverspeed, was acting as 'advisor' to Euroferries and was angered by the Mayor of Rochester announcing the sale. The online newspaper quoted him as saying "The mayor of Rochester's blown it all out." Rochester officials say the agreement was not signed by Mr Ede, but a Mr Adrian Charles Gillan.
Adrian Gillan in a statement, again issued last year when pressed upon the operations of Euroferries, had responded, "We have a clear and well thought out strategy for this project ... and one that we are not at this stage prepared to share.".
It does not portend well for Ramsgate, is the way I view it. Maybe its time to take a closer look at Euroferries as I am sure TDC has made enquiries into their background and financial probity, hasn't it? I will get back with more info if I can find it out there.
I hope the ferry, if it materialises, will be a little sharper than the one in my picture. Who knows it might even be the $86.6 million 'Spirit of Ontario' which is now owned by Germany's FRS Maroc and is in service as ' Tanger Jet 11'.


Michael Child said...

Ok bit economical with the truth here but no reply, well didn’t say I was nice, just for Ramsgate

Subject: Ferry service
Date: 2/18/2009 10:50:21 GMT Standard Time
From: Michaelsbookshop
Reply To:
Secondhand and antiquarian booksellers

Local history publishers

72 King Street


CT11 8NY
Partners Michael & Anna Child Telephone (01843) 589500

Good morning, I gather that you are soon to set up a regular passenger service between Ramsgate and Boulogne.

Here in Ramsgate we have an healthy literary group, The Wilkie Collins Writers and Readers society, and I am hoping to set up a series of joint events with the literary group in Boulogne, Bard-de-Boulogne, this summer.

Could you please send me your time table for 2009 and prices for groups both from Ramsgate to Boulogne return and Boulogne to Ramsgate return.

Could you also provide me with a firm starting date for the ferry service so that can start making arrangements with Bard-de-Boulogne.

Could you also please send me a contact telephone number, so that I can confirm bookings.

The Wilkie Collins Writers and Readers society:

When Collins - author of what T. S. Eliot called 'the first, the longest and the best of modern English detective novels' (The Moonstone) - chose Ramsgate rather than Broadstairs after his friend Dickens had died, he may well have been attracted as much by the fact that it was nicely divided into two separate cliff-top areas, as by the ease with which he could hire a steam yacht for the holidays.

This was important because, unlike many people of the Victorian period, Collins was unmarried but had two mistresses who never met each other. In Ramsgate one would be installed in 14 Nelson Crescent on the west side, and the other in 27 Wellington Crescent on the east.

Kindest regards Michael Child

Bertie Biggles said...

No reply from them after 48 hrs? Odd, considering I am told that Invicta Radio is running 'adverts' concerning the 'new service'. Thanks for that, Michael.