HD Ferries Vs Condor Ferries. The story continues......

It's still very messy down at the docks, with HD Ferries this week announcing that it would be suspending it's service to St Malo for the winter and at the same time taking steps to sue Condor Ferries for describing their operation as 'low safety'.

Rob Provan, Chief Executive of Condor Ferries released the statement back on 3rd August, following a collision between one of their high-speed vessels and HD1. This was not the first such incident and you can sense the frustration in the words used in the press release. You can read the original statement in full by clicking here.

Why it has taken 2 months for Chris Howe-Davies, HD's Chairman, to decide to sue Condor I don't fully understand. Perhaps he has had other priorities - namely trying to keep his vessel sailing under very heavy restrictions laid down by both the St Malo & Jersey port authorities. Nonetheless HD's statement (click here to read it) issued this week clearly demonstrates that they are not prepared to surrender the route as a result of what they see as bullying tactics by both Condor and the port authorities.

Which brings us to the suspension of services. This has been presented as a decision created by the incessant demands of 'stakeholders' that prevent them operating the service they would like. Of course cynics would suggest that the decision has as much to do with the fact that the winter period is very unprofitable and there could well be problems with weather affecting sailings and creating more image problems for the company.

One thing is for sure, HD have brought lower fares to the St Malo - Jersey route and when the vessel has been operating, there is little to differentiate between the two companies in terms of service. If they can sort their operational problems out and come back in March with all four engines working and the highest level of seamanship, then they might just be able to survive.

In the meantime, we'll see whether their threat to sue Condor makes it to court. This sorry tale could become as long as a Harry Potter novel!

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