Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Friday, June 15, 2012

An Ignominious end for SeaFrance .. or is it?

Word of the day - "Ignominious" ?

A wonderful word that I had perfectly in mind for the title to this Blog posting, but then recent events have tried to spoil my plans, but I won't be thwarted and am still going to use Ignominious. There I said it a third time.

Anyway, I digress,

Whilst passing through Dover the other day on my way to the Gite (see swimming pool filter installation story), I was reminded of the sad tale of Sea France.

Sea France for those that don't know, SeaFrance went into liquidation on January 9th this year after the French courts ruled that a French government bailout was illegal and the company was forced to cease trading.

As I drove through Dover the sad demise of the Ferry company was all too evident on the checkin lanes where the SeaFrance name had been hastily sticky taped over on the signs over the lanes:

No more SeaFrance, their name stick-taped over on the Dover check-in lanes

And on the French side in Calais when I returned back through the port the SeaFrance checkin booths were now hidden by recently erected DFDS booths that now stood in front of them. As I drove along the quayside to load onto my boat I spotted the SeaFrance ferries were now tied up and looking forlorn (although still rather ablaze with lights) in Calais port:

Waiting for a buyer, SeaFrance ferries tied up and unused in Calais port

And that was to be my Blog posting about an ignominious end to SeaFrance.

But just when I was about to publish this prose, news came through from Craig over on ThisFrenchLife that Eurotunnel has been successful in its bid to buy three of the SeaFrance ferries for €65 million, and I found more news on the BBC website that a key condition imposed by the French courts was that the SeaFrance ferries would be leased back to a workers co-operative.

There's a brief press release from Eurotunnel on their site, but other than confirming the same facts and stating that the ferries would require "a technical overhaul before being brought into commercial service" (to catch up with necessary maintenance work), there's no details of when, the new company name, etc.

Obviously it would make most business sense if the ferries could resume operation before the peak summer holiday period, but even so I suspect that Eurotunnel will have missed the proverbial boat as most families will surely have booked their summer ferry crossings by now and they're unlikely to be able to pick up a lot of trade even if they were to start operation imminently?

Labels: , ,


  • Far be it for me to suggest how they run their company.......Do they all still have the advantageous prices for travellers who cross the Channel and return within five days? How they all had this structure that was good for day trips but worse for those who came away on holiday for a longer period, I would have thought that it was a cartel of the worse kind. As you say, Eurotunnel may well have missed the boat, but it's a pity that we can't just use the train - like a buy a ticket and travel on the next train.

    By Anonymous Lesley, at June 16, 2012  

Post a Comment

<< Home