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Fast ferry held in Boulogne

The SpeedFerries craft Speed One
The SpeedFerries craft Speed One

Talks have been taking place this weekend to try to resolve a dispute over the seizure of a fast ferry at a French port.

SpeedFerries' craft Speed One was detained at Boulogne on Thursday night.

Bolougne Chamber of Commerce, which operates the port, issued a statement in which it said the action had been taken because of outstanding payments.

"Due to an important payment delay by SpeedFerries in relation to port dues, the shipbroker representing the account of the Boulogne Chamber of Commerce has previously obtained the agreement of the Commerce Tribunal, an order enabling the ship to be seized in lieu of outstanding payments being made.

"The General Management of SpeedFerries has been advised by the Chamber of Commerce of this order for some considerable time, but have taken no measures.

"Consequently the ship broker has taken the decision from Thursday evening to proceed with the seizure of the ship to guarantee outstanding payments.

"Speed One is immobilised in the Port of Boulogne until agreement is reached with SpeedFerries.

"The Boulogne Chamber of Commerce is open to all solutions to resolve this situation favorably and rapidly in order for the service to resume as soon as possible."

SpeedFerries' chief executive Curt Stavis said the Boulogne Chamber of Commerce action was totally unexpected and he did not know when sailings would resume.

"The authorities had given written confirmation that no legal steps would be taken prior to a meeting planned for today (Friday). At this meeting SpeedFerries in consultation with its bankers and financial advisors, were to present a proposal for a resolution of the issues relating to outstanding dues and taxes, as well as disputes with the Port.

"SpeedFerries finds itself in a position where it is unable to inform its customers, employees or business partners, of a firm date for the resumption of services.

"The company deeply regrets this situation and asks everyone affected to accept our sincere apologies."

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