Saturday, November 07, 2009

Legal Threat From Euroferries

Like Adem on the Big Blog, I too have received this rather threatening email from Euroferries, the people who are meant to be launching a fast ferry service between Ramsgate and Boulogne next Saturday. My initial thoughts were to tell their Mr Gillan to get stuffed. However, as you can see from my response I moderated that somewhat knee-jerk reaction to something rather more conciliatory. Here's what Euroferries wrote:

Dear Proprietor,

As a Director and solicitor of Euroferries it has been brought to my attention that you have published or permitted to publish on your blog site one or more libellous and/or defamatory statements (one being Euroferries have gone bust) which we construe has the effect of causing damage to Euroferries Limited.

We would respectively request you retract all said statements and related content from your sites with immediate effect as well as any sites that your publication has contaminated. We also request a published statement of apology and that you place this letter on your site immediately.

We would also like you to provide to us your details to: adrian.gillan@euroferries.co.uk in order that we can communicate with you on all matters relating to legal proceedings as well as the name and address of your ISP provider and your unique ID to enable us to inform them of this abuse and to take appropriate action.

Yours faithfully,
Adrian C Gillan
Solicitor and Director
Euroferries Limited

And my response:

Dear Adrian,

Thanks for your email. I will remove the post, as other references to this on the internet have now also been removed.

As for your other requests, go take a running jump.

While we're at it, just how do you explain the fact that your ferry is still stuck in Tenerife despite your promise to provide a service on 14 November for the people who have already booked and paid on your website? Will they get their money back if you fail to provide this service?

Kind regards,
EASTCLIFF RICHARD
Squeezing the news pimple on the arse of Thanet since January 2006

I personally know of people who have booked and paid for Euroferries tickets. If you, or someone you know, has done so too, do get in touch. Either append a comment to this post, or email me privately at richardeastcliff@yahoo.co.uk

Similarly I would also be interested in hearing from anyone, anywhere in the world, who has ever been paid by Euroferries Limited for anything - contractors, suppliers, councils, port authorities, ticket holders, transport agents, ship charterers... whatever. Either in their current Ramsgate - Boulogne incarnation, or in connection with their previous Dover - Boulogne - Calais effort.

36 comments:

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Would have liked to seen the original post Richard. Pity.

Look forward to reading the reply.

Richard Eastcliff said...

Yes, well, it's not been deleted, merely removed from public view and saved as future ammunition.

Anonymous said...

Well that's told you ECR!. Just stick to the facts.

Euroferries are taking bookings for the 7.30 ferry on 14 November. On their web site they promise :-

The Bonanza Express is a modern, high speed catamaran ferry. This vessel matches the stringent requirements and expectations of Euroferries; speed, superior comfort and high quality service.

Until you know otherwise then you have to believe it. But if the actual vessel described does not turn up then and only then have you cause to complain.

I recomment trading standard if it happens followed by a call to your Private Eye chums who published when the last Thanet blogger was threatened with the law, and what an ass that company was made to look. At least you have the name of a Director.

Adem said...

Here was my reply:

Dear Adrian,

I have removed the post in questions along with all comments attached to that post and also put your letter on my site. I will not however be providing you with any other information.

I eagerly look forward to seeing the Bonanza Express sailing from Ramsgate to Boulogne in one weeks time.

Yours Sincerely

Adem


Roll on 14th!

Richard Eastcliff said...

Yes, 1:40pm. In fact I have already been on the email to my old chum Lord Gnome about this!

It all smacks of a desperate, last minute attempt to pin the blame on someone. I can see their press release now: 'Oh dear, we would have liked to have started our service but it was those pesky bloggers who put the spanner in our works'!

Anonymous said...

The IOTG and their own press releases have published the other names:

Per Staehr, Robert Maughan, Den Reed and Geoffrey Ede as Operations Manager.

Paul Donert (Umbercroft Ltd) as secretary.

Now I could be wrong but going by the e:mail address for Adrian Gillan try the same type for the above, you might get a mail to them but a reply would be another matter.

Anonymous said...

I presume they will be even more silent if people email them asking for their ticket money back.

Anonymous said...

What have Ladyman and Latchford (sounds like a new comedy double act) got to say about all this? They have been promoting Euroferries locally and assuring people that the service will start January, March, May, October etc etc. They should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

And while I'm on one, the local papers have hardly been investigating this either. All they do is reprint press releases.

Anonymous said...

2:56 Exact !

Anonymous said...

2:55 WHAT A SAD PERSON YOU MUST BE, BOTH lADYMAN AND lATCHFORD CARE PASSIONATELY ABOUT THANET FROM EITHER SIDE OF THE POLITICAL DIVIDE,AND ARE TRYING TO DO SOMETHING THIS SERVICE FROM RAMSGATE TO BOLOGNE WILL BE GOOD FOR RAMSGATE AND GOOD FOR THANET.DO SOMETHING USEFUL EMIGRATE

Richard Eastcliff said...

Ooh, that's a bit shouty, 4:11pm! You aren't by any chance the OBE-ed one himself, are you?

I can understand your frustration, though. If you look back through this blog, you can see I've also been personally supportive of this new service, as it would be good for Ramsgate IMO. Only a couple of days ago I twattered that I had everything crossed for the blasted thing to come off.

However, it's now beginning to look like a sorry tale of a bunch of, er, I'd better be careful what I say here, er, um, er, shall we say 'risk takers'? trying to pull it off on a shoestring.

What has really got me increasingly cheesed off over the past few days is that many people have handed over their hard-earned in all good faith for a trip to Boulogne on 14 November which now seems about as plausible, given that there's no ferry and no alterations to the ports yet, as me strapping a few rockets to my back and advertising myself as Apollo 11.

They say the ticket price includes travel insurance, but how many travel insurance policies have an excess of less than, say, £250? In which case, what chance is there of anyone getting the 100 and something odd quid back that they paid for their tickets?

Despite that, I am still hoping against hope that the service does start at some point. However, given the threatening tone of Mr Gillan's email, I am naturally much less inclined to view Euroferries in any kind of favourable light. Talk about a sledgehammer to crack a nut! A nice, friendly, email with a polite request to alter my blog, combined with some reassuring words about the start of the service, would almost certainly have had the same, if not better results than Mr Gillan's hamfisted (in my opinion) legal blustering! What a way to make first contact. Speaks volumes about Euroferries if you ask me!

Anonymous said...

round of applause for that man !

Anonymous said...

Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Annon 4.11 is COMPLETELY OUT OF ORDER. Over the last few months Euroferries have done themselve no good with these promises to start a service first on the in March and then later in September. Its done Ramsgate no good either. In between times there has been no information from either TDC or Euroferries as to why the delay has occured. There has appeared to be no activity in Ramsgate in preparation for a service and a distinct lack of advertising by Euroferries. Ramsgate does not need this. I for one visited Ramsgate in August for a week this year for the simple reason that I could use the ferry. I wont be back next year even for a few days.
Its not supprising that Ladyman and Latchford have been critised as they have appeared to have lines of comunications to Euroferries but make no comment to TDC tax payers.

Anonymous said...

7:38 Agree completely, all the secrecy, Dr Ladymans helper taking a photo (that's the first time) of the paint job, when the vessel was in a secret location, Las Palmas as anyone could find out if they wanted to.

Can't reveal their backing or their strategy although all working hard to put this together.

EF is supposed to be a business not a fairy story.

Anonymous said...

Could be worse ECR they could have sent the boys to Eastcliff Mansion.

Richard Card said...

You would expect a solicitor who has represented Dave Courtney to be pretty sharp.

I think his beef is about incorrect claims EF has gone bust. He has not exactly engaged on the history of broken deadlines, fees paid for a promised service or the progress being made to keep their current deadline.

I wonder if the issue is "Bust" and the rest is "Bluster" ?

I also wonder if he availed the opportunity to publish immediately on the blog sites a correction ?

Or has he avoided comment because that would invite engagement ?

Anonymous said...

To engage in the debate would be the best for EFL, a full explanation would no doubt win some empathy.

Attack is the best form of defence, regrettably also the most foolhardy.

Richard Card said...

ECR has taken the high ground. Conceded immediate remedy pending emergence of facts and defied the chap on the rest of his demands.

I would say that time is on ECR's side now but, weighing his health of late, I hope the facts emerge in the shorter term ?

Bertie Biggles said...

What has not really been grasped or commented on by IOTG, while they show in Friday's paper a pic of Bonanza E being re-painted, is why the same paint job was painted out in the other pic in the same article of Bonanza E earlier in the summer. This picture is described by IOTG as 'and right a Euroferries vessel' For goodness sake is it not the Bonanza E? It says so on the bow? Euroferries don't have any other vessels and Bonanza E is on lease from Fred Olsen? Has Fred Olsen been paid yet?

As for the terminal pic, Tax Free? What library pics are IOTG using and from whom? They do need to go and get their own pics from Ramsgate.

Bonanza E was a modern high speed ferry 10 years ago; is that claim valid today?

Let's wait and see what happens and the take by BBC South East in due course might be interesting.

Bertie Biggles said...

Dickie, old chap your readers might be interested in what your Mr Gillan was saying about The Spirit of Ontario some time ago:

.
"I digress. The last time Euroferries were involved 'in secrecy' was all to do with a ferry called 'The Spirit of Ontario'. Let me show you an extract from the Shipping Times in 2007:
=========================
"The SPIRIT OF ONTARIO is currently laid up at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, placed there in December 2006 months after the announcement in May 2006 that a British company called Euroferries Ltd were to purchase the vessel from Rochester's ferry company for $29.8 million.
.
Despite papers and emails flying to and fro across the Atlantic, the ferry hasn't done much crossing itself and the mayor is livid.Now Mayor Duffy wants a face to face.The Rochester Chronicle reports: "It really comes down to one thing: My frustration with how this process has dragged on for months and there has not been a face-to-face negotiation," said Duffy, who has told city Corporation Counsel Thomas Richards to make travel arrangements. "I'm putting an end to this endless stream of e-mails and phone calls."
.
Euroferries' own website, which appears to have been last updated on the date of its creation, 8th of June 2006, merely states that a press release on its intention to begin operations as "the most innovative, successful and effective high speed cross-channel operator" is 'imminent'. The address for the company is simply given as 'Dover, UK'.
.
Last year Euroferries had announced they were to source another ship as well as look to Austal to build them a new vessel. So far nothing seems to have materialised on these intended purchases.
.
The newspaper Kent on Sunday reported last year that Mr Geoffrey Ede, the former MD of Hoverspeed, was acting as 'advisor' to Euroferries and was angered by the Mayor of Rochester announcing the sale. The online newspaper quoted him as saying "The mayor of Rochester's blown it all out." Rochester officials say the agreement was not signed by Mr Ede, but a Mr Adrian Charles Gillan.
.
Adrian Gillan in a statement, again issued last year when pressed upon the operations of Euroferries, had responded, "We have a clear and well thought out strategy for this project ... and one that we are not at this stage prepared to share.".

Richard Eastcliff said...

Well it's almost midnight. If the High Court injunction was coming, it'd be here by now.

I think we're going to have to wait until Monday to see whether a service materialises, or whether the whole thing disappears up its own jacksie in a puff of libel writs.

Night all.

Anonymous said...

I am just wondering if this is a ploy by TDC to get your details?

I bet this all ends up with rozzers - but then again thinking back to the REAMS situation, then may be not?

Richard Eastcliff said...

Hmm. Well, conspiracy theories abound 11:13am.

I note that 'Lord Lucan' on Adem's blog has emailed Adrian Gillan on the address given in the threatening letter, and it's bounced back.

A wildly paranoid person (not me!) might even wonder whether the threatening letter was genuine. After all, it's just an email, not a court order. Although quite who would be motivated to send it, apart from Euroferries, defeats me.

I've been getting some interesting responses to my appeal for people who've bought tickets, or people who've ever received any kind of payment from Euroferries. None of them printable at this stage, unfortunately!

Richard Eastcliff said...

Ah, er, I've just seen Lord Lucan's email has bounced back because it was addressed incorrectly.

So far I've received no reply from Mr Gillan. I presume from his silence that he's achieved what he set out to achieve, and that he's not prepared to answer my questions.

As an aside, it does worry me slightly that there's a kind of feeding frenzy of comments going on on Adem's blog. I've experienced mass hysteria like that on this blog before, and it often ends in tears!

I'd urge everyone to calm down, and wait to see what the morrow brings!

Isabelle said...

I've said to OH, maybe tomorrow they will get the money together or charter another in order to get the service going, even if delayed.

He is very negative, stranger things have happened.

I still remain convinced that they have to get the ferry operating to put in place their 'master plan'.

I've only had one glass of champers, not Krug I hasten to add!

Anonymous said...

With all these negative comments this has got to be a big PR disaster for Euroferries. This blog and other Thanet blogs are well read. Maybe a bit of staff training in PR would not go amiss?
Euroferries must remember that there is plenty of competition for cross channel customers.

But I dont think it ranks with Gerald Ratners "some of the earrings were cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long" that he utter in 1991 and completely detroyed his company.
Well maybe?

Anonymous said...

http://thanetonline.blogspot.com/

Walter (via email) said...

Well I trollied off to the Port this morning, at 10:50 to be precise where I met an awfully nice chap in the car park (no brown envelopes present).

He stated that TransEuropa had been informed that Earolferries were not coming into Ramsgate and apparently it was the bond etc.

Now as for the misleading photos these are of the old Sally booking hall of which Walter can reveal that no changes have taken place and the only aspect that was looked at by TDC was the electrical systems in the old Sally booking hall. As for the ticket office this would have been the old ticket office of Thompsons I believe.

Tax Free is no longer an aspect of European travel so I am making a formal complaint to TDC's trading standards.

I rather think the proverbial will hit the fan on Monday. I rather think that TransEuropa will not be looking forward to the 14th Nov when the customers turn up for a fast turn around? What time is the first sailing, as I can turn up and take a few pictures.

Adem said...

It's going Euroferries mad over my way and I'm getting caught up in it all!

Really looking forward to the 14th whatever it brings!

Richard Eastcliff said...

Oh well. First working day after the letter and no writ, summons, injunction or high court order.

And no sign of any bloody ferry service either!

Five days and counting.

Anonymous said...

In case you've missed it Thanet Observer blog makes a good point.


He says with all the effort they have put in, all the good and great dignitaries of Thanet will be present for the launch party. So get your social sec to check your diary for 7.30 am of the 14 and then get your contacts to check the diaries for all the TDC cabinet for the same time! if you are all free then thats a clue.

Peter Checksfield said...

I was threatened by a writ from S.M.E.G. & that didn't come either. Some people are all talk.

Anonymous said...

Pot kettle, kettle pot.

Anonymous said...

Hey up. What is this with Euroferries? They are my favourite cross-channel ferry operator. This year Speed Ferries won an award from the Guardian for being Europe's best ferry operator in 2009, a quite remarkable achievement given that they went bust in 2008. So Euroferries must surely be in the running for future awards of this type. Great story on this on the hidden europe website.

Maurice Henderson
Ramsgate