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There is a really interesting link on the SCOP Seafrance Twitter page. You will have to use google translate or similar, but it is worth a look. The Calais port authority and the press have today been taken aboard the Rodin. There is an account of what they found on board, including several photographs. Needless to say the ships are immaculate, and all regular maintenance is being carried out by the teams on board.

 

I have a slightly higher opinion of these guys now, but they are still acting illegally.

 

Anyway take a look if you can.

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I have a slightly higher opinion of these guys now, but they are still acting illegally.

Has there been anything anywhere which confirms the illegality of the actions of MFL workers?

 

 

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A big pile of blazing tyres across a road counts as an illegal action I think?
Probably, but I was referring to the actions of the crew in occupying their place of work.

 

 

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It's great for the UK tourism industry at the moment, even with the naff weather it's still pretty bumper right now!

 

We were going to book today to go to France in 2 1/2 weeks time, but with the farmers strikes and MFL strikes we have booked to go to North Devon instead

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We shall also give France a miss for a while, there seem to be escalating strikes all over the place - the tobacconists seem to be the latest ones. You go on holiday to relax, not cope with local aggro which is none of your concern.

 

According to the BBC yesterday the Leclerc at St Malo was invaded by farmers who stole all the non French meat, handed it out to passers by and dumped manure in the car park.

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Drive up to Fecamp and Etratat yesterday never noticed anything not really seen any sign of it around Rouen at all will be leaving in plenty of time next Friday although as it's the late sailing from Caen that would be the case anyway.

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we have booked to go to North Devon instead

 

Good choice!! I run the commercial side of a holiday park company in the area and have to see you're not alone - every time overseas terrorism, currency and all the various strikes end up getting mentioned then we see a spike in bookings.

 

 

 

 

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Our Gite was £430 for 2 weeks has all mod cons and owners who offered to drive us home from dinner (2 miles from centre of Rouen) dry out washing etc would cost a lot more in Devon for the equivalent.

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Good choice!! I run the commercial side of a holiday park company in the area and have to see you're not alone - every time overseas terrorism, currency and all the various strikes end up getting mentioned then we see a spike in bookings.

 

 

 

 

I don't know if you know of it, we are going to stowford farm meadow camping. We've been once already this year and loved the site and location so decided we are going back. Massive site and they have emailed checking we are ok with a pitch in their rally field as they have limited pitches remaining. Last time I was there I estimated approx 1200 pitches in their normal fields plus the rally field. Says a lot if they are limited to available pitches and using the rally field.

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Probably, but I was referring to the actions of the crew in occupying their place of work.

 

 

 

Apologies for delay in replying to you hub.

 

Had a bit of a dig round on this one and come to the following assumptions. The Myferrylink staff who are occupying the Rodin and Berlioz are not employees of Eurotunnel. They are subcontractors who were employed by Scop Seafrance on a fixed term contract. Once that contract expires or is terminated by either party they have no legal right to remain on the property of the owner, in this case Eurotunnel.

 

Eurotunnel has filed a lawsuite against the Scop on this basis, criminal damage and theft. The French authorities have made cancellation of this lawsuite part of the protocol agreement which will hopefully be signed next Monday.

 

The fact that there is evidence of criminal damage onboard the ships make the legality of the occupation pretty clear. It is with no doubt illegal.

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I don't know if you know of it, we are going to stowford farm meadow camping. We've been once already this year and loved the site and location so decided we are going back. Massive site and they have emailed checking we are ok with a pitch in their rally field as they have limited pitches remaining. Last time I was there I estimated approx 1200 pitches in their normal fields plus the rally field. Says a lot if they are limited to available pitches and using the rally field.

 

I do know it yes. I'm not too far away in Woolacombe. It's a very big place and they, like us, are having a bit of a bumper summer. There's not a lot of positive reasons to go overseas at the moment, the Great British Summer weather is one though!, and we've lost count of how many times we've been told that people aren't taking their tourers over the Channel because when they can find availability on the dates they want it's either an extortionate price and/or they can't get a cabin. I know that some tourers won't mind parking up in the check-in lanes and sleeping there overnight but that's hardly a holiday; noisy, not a great sense of security and no where to relax outside.

 

And the weather forecast for N Devon is looking much better in a week's time too. Have a great trip!!

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I do know it yes. I'm not too far away in Woolacombe. It's a very big place and they, like us, are having a bit of a bumper summer. There's not a lot of positive reasons to go overseas at the moment, the Great British Summer weather is one though!, and we've lost count of how many times we've been told that people aren't taking their tourers over the Channel because when they can find availability on the dates they want it's either an extortionate price and/or they can't get a cabin. I know that some tourers won't mind parking up in the check-in lanes and sleeping there overnight but that's hardly a holiday; noisy, not a great sense of security and no where to relax outside.

 

And the weather forecast for N Devon is looking much better in a week's time too. Have a great trip!!

 

They are so busy we couldn't get 7 nights at this short notice, they only had room Monday to Saturday which says a lot about how many people are staying in the UK. We had 7 nights there about 7 weeks ago, and said we'd go back just didn't think it would be this soon! We love the area, and with small children it's far enough to be away, but close enough to not worry about keeping the kids busy in the car for many hours.

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We're planning a cross-channel trip in a few weeks, but going to be using the western channel rather than Dover!

 

Ironic that it is on a route the CMA determined to have "overcapacity" that P&O are bringing in extra ships to cope with demand. That may be to make up for the fact Berlioz and Rodin aren't in service, in which case clearly MFL were simply meeting capacity, not providing overcapacity. I wish the press and public would stop beating up the french, because in the end it's the overzealous UK regulators to blame for the whole sorry mess. Obviously I feel sorry for those having their holidays disrupted, but the french are simply doing as they have always done, and I still support them because they've been royally screwed over.

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Just read LordDevereux's post. Surely its obvious there was not room for three operators to be profitable on the Dover routes, to suggest otherwise is living in fantasy land. The UK regulators were not over zealous - they removed the Eurotunnel ferry operation as it was unfair on the other operators. It was quite clear there was massive over capacity on the Dover routes.

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Room or not surely it was up to the three operators to slug it out so the best man won thus ensuring the we the consumer got the best possible service? Is that not what competition is all about? I'm not sure Lady Margret of Tartarus would have approved of such state intervention in the affairs of private companies...

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No the regulators were quite right. It was unacceptable for a monopoly operator, esp one whose gross indebtedness was conjoured away, on one mode to be able to influence the market in another mode.

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Looks like DFDS are withdrawing from Calais for the moment: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-33669561

 

Makes sense... Calais is in absolute turmoil at the moment, if you can get there the images on TV and in the press give the impression it's besieged by immigrants (I've not been to Calais for about 9 years so I don't have first hand experience). And can imagine that DFDS are going to have ongoing issues turning up with Rodin Seaways and Berlioz Seaways (tongue in cheek) several times a day every day in the face of the former employees and SCOP. They could concentrate everything on Dover-Dunkerque with a higher frequency and more simple product proposition.

 

So what the actions of SCOP Seafrance look to aim to have achieved in the long run is further damaging Calais' economic prospects.

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No the regulators were quite right. It was unacceptable for a monopoly operator, esp one whose gross indebtedness was conjoured away, on one mode to be able to influence the market in another mode.

 

One can certainly see how the employees of the SCOP will be disappointed, frustrated and irrate. They put their redundancy pay into setting up the operation and I believe a further 2% of their salaries every month to keep it running. Essentially the ships have been pulled away from them with nothing else they can do about it.

 

But someone in management at SCOP should have seen it coming. This who competition debate has been going on since before MyFerryLink started service and it would be blind arrogance and/or stupidity and/or naivity to assume that they will constantly be in possession of the ships. Indeed, in proper business planning they should have a back-up plan for additional tonnage should it be needed, for example if one of the two ferries became unservicable. It would appear that the issue is that these sorts of plans did not exist and weren't in place. Am sure Stena would have chartered them a couple of Visentinis if the SCOP were good for paying back the charter fees!

 

Business is all about taking risks, they're inherent in the concept. It's how you manage that risk, whether you go for a high or low risk option and how you balance it. It would appear that the SCOP have been somewhat asleep to this reality.

 

Eurotunnel since day one is a failed project financially. It was essentially a Franco-British partnership, but is now pretty much all French, achieved by wiping off the massive debt. It should have been seen as a state infrastructure project like road building with the Governments owning it and it leased to an operator to manage, like the Dartford Crossing. Any issues and anger they're having directed to them at the moment is only what they're due.

 

In all this, I'm no P&O Ferries fan but they seem to be the more "innocent" party and they're the ones with the most disruption and fewest options. Although how much pressure they were putting on the CMA is yet to be revealed. A Freedom of Information Request may well unearth how all parties involved in this year's cross Channel debarcle each have proverbial blood on their hands.

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Except MFL were exceeding their financial projections in the months before they closed down. Some went so far as to claim they would break even within a year (Disclaimer: I have no sources for this, but I remember reading it somewhere). I do not believe that eurotunnel bought the ships with the intention of driving another operator out of the market. They are a french company, so I suspect there were some backroom deals done involving the govt or local authorities in france to re-employ the SCOP staff and ensure continuity of a french-owned operator. Indeed the french regulators had no problem with MFL in the market.

 

Nor do I believe that running a ferry service as well as a competing rail link was ever likely to give ET a monopoly by driving P&O out. After all, DFDS have always been a "hanger-on" and there chopping and changing of ships doesn't give the impression they were ever overly-committed to the route. At the end of the day, the tunnel does have a traffic limit (which may far exceed current volumes, I don't know) whereas a port does not.

 

I must admit to being surprised that BF did not get involved, being french owned and state supported as it is. Perhaps they had enough controversy of their own over the Pegasis project or ET were willing to throw up the £50m+ capital.

 

I agree that ET is a disaster, but I think it is better to view MFL as an independent subsidiary than lumping it in with the Le Shuttle misery. (Disclaimer: I hate the tunnel trains)

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Of course Eurotunnel's end game(10 to 15 years time) was to push P&O off the route, by starting MyFerryLink. Why would it not be? Remember in the 1980s everyone thought ferries from Dover would be a thing of the past with the opening of the tunnel. But it hasn't proved to be the case; how annoying for Eurotunnel. I guess capacity limits of the tunnel and P&O capital investment snd cost cutting and growth of the market have all helped

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Of course Eurotunnel's end game(10 to 15 years time) was to push P&O off the route, by starting MyFerryLink. Why would it not be? Remember in the 1980s everyone thought ferries from Dover would be a thing of the past with the opening of the tunnel. But it hasn't proved to be the case; how annoying for Eurotunnel. I guess capacity limits of the tunnel and P&O capital investment snd cost cutting and growth of the market have all helped

 

Yes I'm old enough to remember those predictions too! Re post no 352 here was no way BF was ever going to get involved here - they have already been involved in competition enquiries, that's why they walked away from the Le Havre deal in 2005.

 

 

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