Transeuropa Ferries (TEF), established in 1986, ceased sailings between Ramsgate and Ostend on 18 April, with the Slovenian parent’s Belgian operation filing for bankruptcy.
With TEF vessels Gardenia (1978/ 8,097gt) and Larkspur (1976/14,558gt) stopped in Ostend, the recently-acquired Ostend Spirit (1987/26,443gt), the former Pride of Calais, was repossessed by P&O Ferries due to TEF’s failure to meet payments under a three-year charter purchase arrangement. She moved immediately to lay-up at Tilbury with a P&O bridge team, including a captain, taking charge.
TEF debts are reported to have spiralled, with claims that crew and shore staff have not been paid. Money is also said to be owed to fuel and catering suppliers, with port dues also outstanding. Mark Seed, director of operations at Thanet District Council who run Ramsgate Port, said: ‘The council will continue to be actively seeking to re-establish the route to Ostend, because that is workable, despite the problems encountered by Transeuropa Ferries.’ Up to 30 workers have lost their jobs in Ramsgate, with the council seeking to recover debts.