Managers plan Ramsgate / Ostend ferry service – The Isle Of Thanet News

Ramsgate port photo Trevor Shonk

Seaborne Freight grabbed the headlines after securing a £ 13.8million government contract to provide additional ferry capacity in the event of a no-deal Brexit on March 29 – despite being a start -up with no ships or history yet.

The company, which offers to operate a Ramsgate / Ostend service, said operations would begin at the end of March – to coincide with the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union – initially with two ships.

Despite protracted negotiations, no announcement has yet been made that an agreement has been signed with Thanet City Council for the road. A service had been mentioned to start in March last year, but the date has come – and gone – with no sign of progress.

In a statement, Seaborne Freight says directors and shareholders have been working over the past two years on a business plan to reintroduce the Ramsgate ferry service to Ostend from early 2019.

A spokesperson said: “During the development phase and pending the finalization of strong financing deals, the company was funded by shareholders.

“This phase has included locating the appropriate vessels, making arrangements with the ports of Ostend and Ramsgate, building the infrastructure, such as bunkering, as well as crewing the ferries once they start to operate. function. A preparation phase is part of the program and training will be provided by a specialized organization.

So who exactly are the directors of Seaborne:

Glenn Dudley, 64, was previously involved in the export of live cattle from Shoreham in the 1990s.

He was a director of International Trader’s Ferry, which was formed by cattle ranchers who wanted to export live calves to the mainland for slaughter.

Activists against live animal exports protested and police had to recruit hundreds of additional officers. Exports were eventually moved to Dover and fizzled out due to the BSE crisis.

Mr. Dudley also worked for MyFerryLink which was created following the disappearance of SeaFrance. The vessels were leased to MyFerryLink by a workers’ cooperative, Scop SeaFrance, which in turn leased to Eurotunnel. This triggered a decision by the Competition Commission which ultimately led Euotunnel not to renew the leases. This in turn led to workers’ strikes and their occupation of both Rodin and MS Berlioz in the port of Calais. The ships were then sabotaged to protest their impending leasing purchase from competitor DFDS.

Jean-Michel Copyans has also been involved with MyFerryLink and the French national rail company SNCF.

Ben Sharp – listed on Companies House as John Sharp – is a former Royal Navy submarine officer.

He set up the Mercator ship charter company which went into liquidation with debt of £ 1.7million, including money owed to HMRC.

He is also a director of Albany Shipping, which is a “vessel operator in the offshore and oil and gas industry. He is also an investment advisor to a UK shipping fund, ”according to the company’s website. According to the financial statements this company is dependent on loans from one of the directors who currently owes £ 89,074.

According to the Albany Shipping website, Mr. Sharp, 50, served for 10 years as a Navy submarine officer. obtain an engineering degree and complete professional naval training. After his service in the Royal Navy, he moved to the City of London where he converted to a marine insurer and became the managing director of a P&I management company. In 2002, he joined QBE-HKSI Insurance Limited (QBE) in Hong Kong as a regional underwriter of protection and indemnity insurance, then marine underwriter of QBE Hong Kong.

The site adds: “In 2005, Ben established his own company Mercator in Hong Kong with the main purpose of providing advice to financial institutions and to chartering / operating vessels. Mercator has operated over 20 vessels for a variety of offshore projects and has undertaken consultancy assignments with international financial institutions. In 2014, Ben made the decision to make Mercator an operator shipowner and Albany Shipping Limited was created to achieve this.

Brian Raincock, insurance consultant for the management of LML disputes, and Keith jones are also directors of Albany Shipping.

Peter hampton blackmore is a lawyer and director at LML and Ralph Lucas is listed as a company director living in Wales.

Both Mr. Blackmore and Mr. Raincock were also directors of Litigation Protection which went into voluntary liquidation in 2017.

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