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About kenw

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  • Birthday 15/05/1950

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  1. If Zierbena doesn't cater for footies, that suggests we won't be able to go from Roscoff, so will have to go via Santander to and from Portsmouth, then as Jonno suggests, catch the train.
  2. Dear all We're wondering about a "triangular" trip to Bilbao: Caen (home) – Roscoff by train, 1 night Roscoff Roscoff - Bilbao 2 or 3 nights Bilbao Bilbao - Portsmouth 1 or 2 nights Portsmouth Portsmouth - Caen Either autumn this year or next spring. Any thoughts? One immediate query. The website doesn't offer Bilbao as a route for footies. Not possible? Or is it phone only? Capacity issue on board, or the fact that the port is remote from the city centre has persuaded BF that only motorists want to go there? Suggestions or recommendations for hotels in Bilbao particularly welcome.
  3. Sadly if Barfleur dropped you off at her current mooring you'd have a bit of a hike to the city centre - it's nearer to the Renault Trucks plant than the city centre port de plaisance, but I don't think there are any regular buses from there, only occasional works services.
  4. Normandy is currently the only region [of the French mainland] without any clusters of infection, according to the local media. https://actu.fr/normandie/caen_14118/coronavirus-normandie-corse-seules-regions-france-metropolitaine-sans-clusters_33682745.html Quick timesaving translation Normandy and Corsica are the only ones of the 13 regions of metropolitan France which have not seen new clusters since the start of deconfinement, according to Journal du Dimanche, (Sunday, May 17) quoting an interview with the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran. Elsewhere new clusters have been identified in both "green" and "red" areas. In view of the continuing cross-Channel uncertainty, we're postponing our next trip to Portsmouth until later in the year when we hope for a clear run. Until then, a few days in Granville looks the most likely option for a short break. [If you haven't been, a day on the terrace of the Ibis – overlooking the port de plaisance – with a good book and supply of nibbles and drinks is highly affordable and heartily recommended!]
  5. Fingers crossed that BF finds a safe solution to managing footies at the ports. I would have thought that a combination of the following would work: distance markers and numbers management for check-in queues restricted seating – eg alternate seats or tables out of use no standing and limited seating on the transfer bus The first two can be replicated on board as required, while access to food service areas and maybe the shops can have queue management in the same way that some supermarkets are doing: staff at the entrance administering a "one out, one in" policy. And obviously no help-yourself service, replaced by staff handing over items as requested.
  6. Bus links from Caen Gare SNCF P&T is quite correct in that Bus 12 has a 20h10 departure from Caen which would be in time for the overnight ferry. Not recommended in winter, when it's a walk in the dark up to the terminal. Personally I'd wiped that departure from memory after an autumn trip meant that I was very cold and very wet by the time I limped into the ferry terminal, then a queue at check-in to discover no cabins left – and hot food finished for the evening at the café. Fortunately Mont's Blue Note bar was open late, providing warmth in the shape of Calvados and whatever the red wine was on offer. Just don't ask about the next day's breakfast meeting!
  7. Do they know something we don't? Just seen this on the update page of Twisto [the Caen agglo bus operator] I don't think anyone needs me to provide a translation. For those not familiar with Ouistreham, the Maritime Express is the bus link from Caen rail station to the ferry. AIUI the service is supported / subsidised either by BF or the port authority, although I can't recall where that info [?] comes from. In any case, I can't imagine the bus co announcing a service with no customers. It serves the daytime arrivals and departures, but not the evening sailing. So those of us wanting to travel overnight have three choices: between €30-40 for a taxi getting the regular bus to the stop by the fish market – arriving, from memory about 18h40 – and either enjoying beer and pizza at one of the local restaurants before walking up to the ferry OR heading straight to the ferry terminal for a long wait with a good book
  8. So the governments have apparently agreed: no need for quarantine when travelling between France and UK. Not part of Boris's "road map" – which I don't think is much use for navigation – but is this a big step on the road to a return of at least some passenger services by our favourite ferry operator? Starting with one a day to and from Caen and St Malo perhaps? Or is this where we see a renaissance of Cherbourg-Portsmouth for a two-ship service? One sailing daily in each direction, thus giving ample time for cleaning before return vehicles and pax are boarded.
  9. Detroit? Even the smallest Great Lakes freighters would be far too long for any of the ports on the Western channel. Unless the Navy want to share the carrier berths! Dieppe, now, that's a different story. More choice of decent port eateries than Ouistreham, but still lagging behind Havre.
  10. I don't think a "midnight pirate raid" is on the cards. Removal and relocation of the part-completed hull would be subject to the terms of the build contract or if not agreed between BF and the management could well be a matter for arbitration. But a removal / transfer would be very damaging to the yard's reputation if it has any hope of continuing in the shipbuilding business and likely disruptive to BF so I think both parties would work very hard to avoid it. AIUI much of the design and engineering work is being / has been done by and at FSG rather than independent firms of marine architects and engineers. So the transfer would have to include a mass of data, drawings and documents. We know that – like many shipowners and operators – BF itself has only limited technical resources, which might not be adequate to support the process without employing specialist [and costly] consultants / engineers.
  11. I think parallels between German self-administered bankruptcy and UK prepacks are wide of the mark. AIUI in the German system an outside administrator works alongside the management with input from stakeholders including creditors and the works council. Shareholders and lenders have far less control. Although the new administration is not bound to honour the letter of previous contracts with customers, it is expected to "have appropriate regard for the terms" as my German lawyer friend put it in a summary translation. In other words the "new FSG" can't simply the flog part-completed Honfleur to another operator and bank the cash. Newbuild contracts commonly say that title does not pass until completion payment – but the rights of the builder over the hull until then are limited. Depending on the amount handed over instaged payments at milestones [ eg x% at keel-laying, x% at watertight hull, x% at superstructure and so on]. Sorry to be a bit vague but my older records with sample contracts and the like are offline just now. Although we obviously don't know details, it would be surprising if the Honfleur build is not subject to a refund or failure guarantee which would provide at least some financial comfort to the BF management. Such guarantees are normally provided by commercial banks at the shipyard's cost – and normally include trigger clauses spelling out how, when and why the guarantors have to pay out. Some of these will be technical, for example failure of the build to meet Class [Lloyd's, BV etc] or failing survey [MCA etc]. Others will be legal, maybe specifying that disputes must go to arbitration. These aren't off the shelf contracts; marine lawyers pore over the fine detail for hours if not days before allowing clients to sign! BF could also benefit from legal costs insurance, eg through an organisation such as the Defence Club which covers uninsured risks in shipbuilding and related perils. But it is likely to be weeks if not months before an accurate picture emerges of how and when Honfleur will be completed and delivered.
  12. The legal challenge to the renewal of Serco's Northlink Ferries contract – linking the Scottish mainland with Orkney and Shetland – has finally gone away. Rival bidder CalMac had challenged last year's contract award by the Scottish Government, but then in February the West coast operator said that it would not proceed with the lawsuit. That was confirmed this week, leaving Serco clear to continue. The outsourcing giant had been running the ferry service on an interim basis, but this means that the substantive longterm contract can now be finalised. That in turn will pave the way for a package of improvements, including an upgrade to the Kirkwall terminal and a new smart ticketing system. Serco originally took over the ferry service in 2012, and has seen an 18% increase in passenger numbers and a 38% increase in vehicles carried.
  13. I'm working my way through The Bill. Currently part way through Series 19. But then I did start before the Covid confinement, since I was convalescing from a serious infection. (Big thanks to the Croix Rouge Hopitalisation à Domicile - hospital at home service).
  14. Consider these factors: the current order book - AIUI there are some steelwork subcontracts pending as well as the ships to be completed [I've heard conflicting info re future newbuilds] relatively modern equipment and facilities [compared with, say, Poland or Croatia – obviously not some Far East yards] traditional mindset of German banks – unlike US and UK, always hesitant to bust clients pressures on regional govt to safeguard post-virus economy, particularly when election approaches ... and in the context of [4] lack of alternative capacity available in the area. So the regional govt would not support a "tow away to complete elsewhere" solution All of which, IMO, makes 'when' more likely than 'if'.
  15. Thanks for the updates, folks. Peel Ports is known as one of the UK's least-loved companies, to put it mildly. Without going into details (since a court case is pending) some friends of mine lost a multi-£million deal related to Peel's extensive property business. All of which took the family firm into the red for the first time - and caused much personal distress to the two older generation directors who said they were "forced to break their word" as a result.
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