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HONFLEUR - New Build for Ouistreham Route - CANCELLED


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That may well be the view being presented for now, but things can change. My point being that until the several thousand tons of hull sat floating actually have a decided future, I wouldn't 100% disco

I get the impression we've put more hours into this thread than the German shipyard have into the real ship. Ed. 

And don't forget that the ship's real achievement was the production of zero CO2 emissions, zero waste water and zero satisfied passengers for the whole of the 2019 summer season. Ed. 

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5 minutes ago, Jim said:

Sure about that? :)

Wow thanks Jim! ¬†Are there any others we can activate? ¬†An eyes to ceiling one would be particularly useful! ūü§£

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4 hours ago, Jim said:

With the surprise announcement that the yard was placed under the protection of the Commercial Court in May 2020, and unsuccessful discussions with the current management of FSG and its main creditors

Having a bit of experience of these situations in Germany, there would have been quite a few parties involved in the discussions. Management and creditors are mentioned, but employees, local government , chamber of commerce, banks ... It sounds like the current management cannot come up with a plan that creditors will run with. BF are presumably a creditor, but their claims may have been affected by the previous takeover / refinancing, renegotiations, the protection procedure? Still all very murky.

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Is it public knowledge know how much Brittany Ferries et al have already paid in stage payments for the missing Honfleur.?

It must  makes the amounts people are whinging about re cancelled crossings look like a drop in La Manche

One suspects its all part of a slate wiping exercise. If you cancel your over-hanging right to compensation for late delivery, we will be in a better position to refinance, and then negotiate a sum to complete the contract. BF must be in pole position to negotiate some completion deal for a ship that is almost completed, and custom built for one of their routes. Anyone else is going to have just as much to pay PLUS any modifications to suit their needs.

 

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23 minutes ago, colin said:

Having a bit of experience of these situations in Germany, there would have been quite a few parties involved in the discussions. Management and creditors are mentioned, but employees, local government , chamber of commerce, banks ... It sounds like the current management cannot come up with a plan that creditors will run with. BF are presumably a creditor, but their claims may have been affected by the previous takeover / refinancing, renegotiations, the protection procedure? Still all very murky.

With that in mind there would seem to be very little point in a continued relationship with the present FSG management/owners...as I said above, best to step away and then possibly try to forge a new relationship with the new owners (if that is still possible, given there appears to be no viable business to acquire ). If BF actually still want the vessel the best option would appear to be buying the hull from the receivers in due course and taking it elsewhere. The question is do they still need it and what sort of financing package could deliver it if they do?

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I agree with the reverend - what new owners? Who would buy the job of finishing the one order  and looking about for other work now? What's interesting is what happens to the hull next. As for the yard any future will start after the place has been allowed to go bust and the work in hand disposed of. But even then this isn't the kind of business a hedge fund or the likes of Edward Lewis can get into, sweat for a year or two, and get out of. The insolvency systems in other countries may be kinder but the balance sheets tell the same story.  So many companies the world over these days are undercapitalised yet carry on buying work at fixed prices. I suppose FSG could be forgiven in this case as the structuring of BF means that they will pretty well certainly get paid, but clearly there was no margin for error or unexpected eventualities.  

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There are two sides to the consequences of this cancellation for FSG. On the one hand, having work to do on an existing contract is much firmer than speculative new business for investors. On the other, a contract on which you were tied to losing money is a millstone.

We do not know contract details, nor the changes negotiated along the way, or imposed by the latest protection procedure. Nor do we know what BF have paid nor whether any payments were protected in any fashion.

Without clarity on all of this, we can dream and speculate, but not really much more.

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5 hours ago, Gareth said:

Interesting, that new fender.  Chris, do you think its primary purpose is to enable the main berth to take longer ships or to enable the port to have a lay-by berth for ships of the existing size?

Probably both Gareth. It certainly allows for a vessel larger than the current 2, having just gone on Google Maps with a tape measure (ūü§£) you would definitiely¬†fit MSM and Normandie alongside, and I reckon with a push Honfleur and one of the others as well if she ever materialises. FYO there was dredger working for most of last winter near the current linkspan, and right across the area the vessls turn so maybe the channel has been widened below¬†water level.

And in reply to another post the old linkspan looks pretty decrepit and I doubt would work but never say never.

Chris

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The old linkspan was last used to accommodate NEX when she operated to Ouistreham.  I am not aware that it has been maintained since then.

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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

The old linkspan was last used to accommodate NEX when she operated to Ouistreham.  I am not aware that it has been maintained since then.

I used her many times on her morning Portsmouth -  Caen run, arrival time at around 11h30 local time meant the main linkspan was always empty and therefore the one she used. The last time I saw a vessel moored on the old one was the 22nd December 2002, MSM’s maiden voyage at 14h00 and DDN had arrived that morning. Out of interest the legendary Alexis Gourvannec was on that inaugural crossing, 3 sheets to the wind following a rather good lunch on board, completely plastered before we cast off....

Chris

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One main problem that limits size of vessels at Ouistreham is the size of the approach channel and the depth which equally limits the draught of the future vessel. I remember a Captain once telling me that the Honfleur nearly sets the maximum size that can be used. 

Sad news altogether though, yet I should believe that BF management are just talking the least worse steps right now without having a clear planned future. 

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The specific issue is the diameter of the dredged turning circle.

If anyone has watched the ferries enter and leave Ouistreham, one of the things that is noticeable is how much cross-tide that has to be compensated for by crabbing in the approach channel.  This makes it all but impossible to enter or leave the port stern-first, and any ship that uses the port has to be able to turn around in the harbour.  The existing turning circle limits ferries to not much more than the length of MSM.  For Honfleur, there were plans to widen the turning circle.

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1 hour ago, Fine Whine said:

I used her many times on her morning Portsmouth -  Caen run, arrival time at around 11h30 local time meant the main linkspan was always empty and therefore the one she used. The last time I saw a vessel moored on the old one was the 22nd December 2002, MSM’s maiden voyage at 14h00 and DDN had arrived that morning. Out of interest the legendary Alexis Gourvannec was on that inaugural crossing, 3 sheets to the wind following a rather good lunch on board, completely plastered before we cast off....

Chris

That would have been Quiberon you saw on the other¬†linkspan & not the Duc. ¬†The¬†MSM was very late coming Into service¬†and the Quiberon took over the DDN‚Äôs role 6months or so early In Normandy¬†because of the delayed build of MSM. DDN maintained Plymouth~Roscoff service as ‚Äúoriginally‚Ä̬†Planned as if the¬†MSM wasn‚Äôt late...

 If I remember right, Quiberon also spent a long time on the adjacent Ouistreham linkspan next to Normandie & MSM while they were in port.    Quiberon was moved off to Brest for a paint job & onward service for her new owners....

(not as if It’s history is repeating itself with Ouistreham new builds being late!)

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A lot of the time in that spell Quiberon was running opposite the Purbeck to make up for the capacity deficit - when in port together the Purbeck used the old linkspan and the Quiberon the twin deck one.

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What happens to the part-finished Honfleur?

My old firm City Cruises went through a worse experience, albeit on a much smaller scale, when the yard building its new boat Millennium of London went bust. With no buyer for the yard in prospect, CC rented it for a peppercorn from the receiver, took ownership of the hull and delivered materials, hired the workers on temp contracts and finished the job. 

More recently there was a case in the US where the firm building a dinner cruiser was forced into bankruptcy. [I'm not sure how much is in the public domain and how much is still confidential ‚Äď but¬†system upgrade in progress here means I can't easily check, sorry.]

The customer and a couple of "friends in the trade" set up what I suppose we could call a special purpose vehicle ‚Äď a company which acquired the hull and agreed new contracts for fitting out, mostly with the same suppliers, handed the finished ship over and then itself ceased trading.¬†

IMHO the latter could be a solution for BF/Somanor and the administrators of FSG if there is no immediate prospect of new ownership of the facilities and assets.¬† If, as is highly likely,¬†one of the public banks such as KfW is involved, they would probably have the connections in the supply chain as well as access to finance. And I suspect that¬†IB-SH, the state development bank for Schleswig Holstein, would¬†want ‚Äď or be persuaded to want ‚Äď some involvement.

So I think that talk of Honfleur completed and sailing under a different flag, ownership and name could well be premature.

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On 30/12/2019 at 15:58, Gareth said:

I wonder if the thread about Honfleur will get to 100 pages before she is even delivered! ¬†Barfleur would pale into insignificance by comparison! ūü§£

Nearly there! ūüėČ

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14 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Nearly there! ūüėČ

I get the impression we've put more hours into this thread than the German shipyard have into the real ship. Ed. 

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24 minutes ago, TonyMWeaver said:

It was exactly 3 years ago today that Brittany Ferries confirmed the order for 'Honfleur'.

I bet that's cheered them up. Well done Tony! 

Ed. 

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Back to the long article in the restart thread, the comment re new ships is at the end:-

Avec nos alli√©s de la Somanor, nous avons perdu confiance dans la capacit√© du chantier de terminer le¬†Honfleur¬†dans un d√©lai qui soit raisonnable. Normalement, il aurait d√Ľ √™tre livr√© en avril 2019. Puis, ce devait √™tre le printemps 2020. Cela n‚Äôa pas √©t√© le cas, non plus. Nous avons donc d√©cid√© de r√©silier le contrat. Ce qui ne veut pas dire que tout est fini pour le renouvellement de la flotte. Le¬†Galicia,¬†le premier navire du projet E-Flexer, va commencer ses essais √† la mer le 10 juillet. Il nous sera livr√© vraisemblablement fin ao√Ľt. Ensuite, dans un an, ce devrait √™tre le¬†Salamanca, qui fonctionnera au GNL. Il n‚Äôy a pas non plus de retard d‚Äôannonc√© pour le¬†Santo√Īa. Et nous verrons √† la sortie de la crise du Covid-19 la possibilit√© de nous lancer dans un nouveau projet de ferry avec la Somanor.

which Google translates as

With our Somanor allies, we have lost confidence in the site's ability to complete the Honfleur within a reasonable time. Normally, it should have been delivered in April 2019. Then, it should have been spring 2020. That was not the case either. So we decided to terminate the contract. This does not mean that everything is over for the renewal of the fleet. The Galicia, the first ship in the E-Flexer project, will begin its sea trials on July 10. It will probably be delivered to us at the end of August. Then, in a year, it should be the Salamanca, which will run on LNG. There is also no delay in announcing the Santo√Īa. And we will see at the end of the Covid-19 crisis the possibility of embarking on a new ferry project with Somanor.

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Just a thought, but with the cancelation of Honfleur, I was wondering if BF could use the Cotentin in pair with MSM on Caen-Portsmouth?  

As stated last year, she's due to be back in the fleet in 2021 with "rebuilt" for Cherbourg-Poole. If this rebuilt is extended, she could maybe be a suitable replacement for Normandie, being 15 years younger. Normandie could then be transferred to Le Havre as initially planned, and Barfleur stay on Cherbourg Poole.  

When comparing them (according to faktaomfartyg.se) :

MSM : 173m / 2250lm / 2120pax

Normandie : 161m / 1720lm / 2160pax

Honfleur: 187m / 2400lm / 1680pax

Cotentin : 167m / 2188lm / 213pax + rebuilt?  

If BF is expecting less passengers but same freight levels, then a rebuilt Cotentin might be enough? Something like what Stena did with Highlanders and Blue Puttees of Marine Atlantic (without the shortening of course).   

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