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Huge debt after collapse of ferry firm Transeuropa owed by four companies

By Paul Francis

A TransEuropa ferry berthed in the Port of Ramsgate

A TransEuropa ferry berthed in the Port of Ramsgate

Four companies are behind a £3.3million debt owed to Thanet District Council following the collapse of ferry company Transeuropa, it has emerged.

The council revealed it was owed the money in unpaid berthing fees in May after the company went into administration.

The details of the secret arrangement to defer fees only came to light when the company folded, prompting complaints of a cover-up.

The council said it had kept details under wraps because of the commercially sensitive nature of the arrangement.

It feared the company would quit Ramsgate port - owned by the council - if it was not helped.

Now it has emerged the £3.3m is actually owed by four companies. Transeuropa accounts for the largest amount of £1,167,820.

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But the rest of the money is owed by three other companies whose identities were uncovered by Thanet Green party councillor Ian Driver.

The three are thought to be Cypriot-based, but it is not clear if they are solvent or are connected to Transeuropa directly.

The three other listed companies are Forsythia Maritime, which owes the council £1,075,440; Odyssy Maritime, which owes £746,614 and Dianthus Maritime, which owes £227,107.

Cllr Driver said the latest revelations raised yet more questions about the council's deal.

He said: "My view is that if they [the companies] are still solvent, we should be taking steps to recover the money they owe. Nothing has been said about these companies before. The more I look at this, the more muddled it becomes."

Thanet council has failed to respond to the KM Group's request for a comment.

We recently revealed the lack of a paper trail over the original deal. The council admitted in a response to a Freedom of Information request senior councillors had no formal reports or background papers setting out details of the arrangement and confirmed the former Conservative cabinet did not vote on it.

It has also confirmed no formal reports or background papers were shared in confidence with any other members of the council over the time the deal was in place.

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