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HONFLEUR - New Build for Ouistreham Route

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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Not carrying passengers.

She did during one winter in the late 90s when the winter route was switched from Portsmouth to Poole. It wasn't repeated however!

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40 minutes ago, quibby said:

She did during one winter in the late 90s when the winter route was switched from Portsmouth to Poole. It wasn't repeated however!

Actually might have been more than one season...this is 1999:

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15878179753711516772509167335449.jpg

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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.

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Posted (edited)

@kenw so BF could decide it’s not worth the hassle and walk away from it all? Which from the amount of effort put into her is unlikely but with current circumstances not implausible, regardless it is most likely it will be months before work starts again wether it’s in Germany or  they do another midnight pirate raid and get a tug to drag her to another yard to finish her , I suspect we will see her sailing for BF eventually but it definitely won’t be this year and maybe not even next year , she may not be needed.

Edited by Jim
Removed name of individual not related to post
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18 hours ago, neilcvx said:

@kenw so BF could decide it’s not worth the hassle and walk away from it all? Which from the amount of effort put into her is unlikely but with current circumstances not implausible, regardless it is most likely it will be months before work starts again wether it’s in Germany or  they do another midnight pirate raid and get a tug to drag her to another yard to finish her , I suspect we will see her sailing for BF eventually but it definitely won’t be this year and maybe not even next year , she may not be needed.

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.

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I think if I were BF I'd write it off as a dead loss now frankly.

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20 minutes ago, Millsy said:

I think if I were BF I'd write it off as a dead loss now frankly.

BF still are going to need a replacement for Normandie sometime in the near-ish future though, would they want another 3 year wait?

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1 minute ago, The Ferry Man said:

BF still are going to need a replacement for Normandie sometime in the near-ish future though, would they want another 3 year wait?

Quite - if they think they will need a replacement, regardless of what's already been spent, what is the cheapest way to get one from where we are now. I'd find it hard to believe that the answer is anything other than the Honfleur; even if it ends up costing a lot more than originally planned, it is most likely to be much less than starting the process again.

If they think Normandie can plough on for say another decade (she can) and the market means they can ditch the Le Havre replacement or even the route given nobody's going to open a rival operation any time soon then they may want to call it quits.

What's in their favour is that they aren't desperate for the ship so can sit back and watch how it plays out in Germany - and play hardball with the administrators who will want to get rid of the hull a bit like Scandlines did with the Stralsund yard which built Berlin and Copenhagen.

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@hhvferry where else would be able to finish him if FSG didn’t , never mind the potential for another delay due to Covid.

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10 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

@hhvferry where else would be able to finish him if FSG didn’t , never mind the potential for another delay due to Covid.

Many places would be capable of doing so. Damen Brest for a start. The workmanship and engineering competences required are available in Brittany and around. Think of all subcontractors of the St Nazaire shipyards who have the experience of working on both cruise ships and LNG tankers... 

 

The current situation is a very complex one needless to say. But... Most posters here look at the situation through British tinted glasses ( with liberalism) and underestimate both the determination of a firm like BF and the French state (and regions of course) to keep things going as they are and protect the local economies. 

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On 24/04/2020 at 17:11, Solo said:

Not been on her but from early reports the Yeats isn't suitable for 20hr passages either.

But Yeats has 1,600 cabin berths and Honfleur only 800 so the former vessel is much more suited to a long distance route.

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On 25/04/2020 at 10:45, Gareth said:

Not carrying passengers.

I think she did for one or two winter seasons at one point.

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1 hour ago, crechbleiz said:

Many places would be capable of doing so. Damen Brest for a start. The workmanship and engineering competences required are available in Brittany and around. Think of all subcontractors of the St Nazaire shipyards who have the experience of working on both cruise ships and LNG tankers... 

 

The current situation is a very complex one needless to say. But... Most posters here look at the situation through British tinted glasses ( with liberalism) and underestimate both the determination of a firm like BF and the French state (and regions of course) to keep things going as they are and protect the local economies. 

That’s good to know hopefully they would have the time to do it too.

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On 25/04/2020 at 13:50, Gareth said:

Ah, the days of timetables published in brochures....

... But more worryingly; is that at 1999 image, or are those his actual carpets now?! 😮

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Posted (edited)

Im sure @tarbyonline won’t mind me posting this 

FSG latest.  The yard wants to continue building ferries and production could resume as early as June.  While investor Lars Windhorst has committed to investing in the company, he will NOT be bankrolling ships built at a loss.  Suggestion at the end that the bankruptcy could get the company out of a contract (with Irish Ferries I assume as it’s the only other order).  Unfortunately much of the report is in videos and my German is nowhere near strong enough to translate, so there may or may not be more detail!

(Google Translation)

Despite bankruptcy: FSG wants to continue building ferries
 At the shipyard of the Flensburg Shipbuilding Society (FSG), construction should continue - despite the bankruptcy that the company announced on Friday.  This was announced by the new managing director Martin Hammer and investor Lars Windhorst on Sunday at the shipyard.  The FSG is therefore in prospect of building four freight ferries.  But only if the banks would give loans and guarantee the country despite the Corona crisis.

 
 Windhorst: Shipyard must focus on strengths
 Schleswig-Holstein Magazin - 04/26/2020 7:30 p.m.
 Despite bankruptcy, new orders are in prospect for FSG, said investor Lars Windhorst on Sunday.  On the other hand, the construction of another passenger ferry that has already been ordered should only be started if there are no further losses.
    
 5 out of 3 reviews
 Program information
 Ex-owner wants to buy ferries
 The former owner Siem would order the ferries.  Siem had sold the company to Windhorst and its Tennor Holding last year.  The Norwegian company wants to continue to get involved through the possible purchase.

 Windhorst is also ready to invest additional millions in the yard.  However, this money should not be used to finance orders that generate losses.  "Personally, I assume that in the medium term it makes sense for the shipyard to focus on where it has experience - and that is RoRo shipbuilding. Of course, one has to think about whether this can also be the only perspective in the long term  or whether you have to find other niches as well, "Windhorst continued.  Production at the shipyard has been suspended since mid-March.  Hammer hopes that production could start again in June.

 
 Hammer: "Burning money cannot be a solution"
 Schleswig-Holstein Magazin - 04/26/2020 7:30 p.m.
 For the new FSG managing director Martin Hammer, bankruptcy is the last opportunity to draw up a recovery plan for the shipyard that also works sustainably.
    
 5 on 1 reviews
 Program information
 FSG has been in the red for some time
 Although the order books were full, the FSG recently posted red numbers in the hundreds of millions.  The construction of large passenger ferries apparently cost more money than the yard had negotiated for it.  The ferry for an Irish shipping company was built at a high loss, a second one for France is under construction, but production is on hold.  Two contracts for almost half a billion euros were recently canceled.  The bankruptcy could now help to get out of another contract.

 
 Flensburg shipbuilding company plans to continue building
 NDR 1 Welle Nord - Nachrichten für Schleswig-Holstein - April 26th, 2020 3:00 pm Author: Peer-Axel Kroeske
 Ferries are to be built at the Flensburg shipyard - despite the bankruptcy.  That was the message of the new managing director Hammer and the financial investor Windhorst.
    https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/schleswig-holstein/Trotz-Insolvenz-FSG-will-weiter-Faehren-bauen,fsg308.html

Edited by neilcvx
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Mer et Marine has an article today about FSG, sadly pay walled. The headline seems to suggest that the shareholders are stepping up to the plate?

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34 minutes ago, jonno said:

It suggests that the yard needed to get out of the 2nd IF contract, after quoting silly money to get it in the first place. The `Bankrupcy` will achieve that and result in the Honfleur getting completed, albeit with an other lengthy delay, suiting both sides. One way or another it might add some certainty for both the workers and the customers.

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9 minutes ago, TonyMWeaver said:

€5 million won't go far.

The article says how far it goes:-

"It said it would also enable the yard to “prepare for a resumption of work on the completion of Hull Nr 774” – a reference to the only ship still at FSG, the LNG-driven RoPax ferry Honfleur for Brittanny Ferries. But FSG stressed the cash was not enough to allow actual work to resume on Honfleur and that further financing would be needed.!

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