SeaFrance, whose fleet has been idle since the middle of November 2011, could finally go out of business at the end of January. Sitting in Paris on 16 November, France’s Tribunal de Commerce rejected bids from DFDS/LD Lines and union-backed workers’ co-operative SCOP and ruled that the company would be liquidated unless an acceptable bid was received by 12 December but this failed to materialise.
DFDS/LD declined to make a further offer leaving only SCOP in the running, and they had no additional cash. The court agreed SeaFrance could continue trading until 28 January, but as Ships Monthly went to press sailings had not resumed after being halted 48 hours ahead of the first Paris hearing.
Passenger and vehicle ferries SeaFrance Berlioz, SeaFrance Moliere and SeaFrance Rodin were laid up in Calais, with freight ro-ro SeaFrance Nord Pas-de-Calais at Dover.
SeaFrance-booked traffic was redirected to the DFDS Dover-Dunkirk service, whose three vessels were carrying 2,400 vehicles a day, 1,000 more than expected. Responding to demand, DFDS chartered Norman Spirit from LD Lines for December to join Delft Seaways, Dover Seaways and Dunkerque Seaways and provide departures up to every 30 minutes. P&O also reacted by bringing freight ro-ro European Seaway from lay-up at Tilbury to provide a six ship line-up.