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Steam Packet to be sold

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On 9/22/2018 at 6:32 AM, John Wright said:

Given the future shape of services is out to consultation it’s unlikely that the first new tonnage will be operational before 2023/4 and they’re likely to be sequential with the second 2025/6, by which time the £76 million will be paid off.

Of course it’s all projections, but the cost of new tonnage won’t be paid all at once, it will be in stage payments from design to delivery.

And, just suppose, if no new tonnage is acquired before 2026, so no money is borrowed, then based on historic cash flows over the last few years, then the £76million should be paid off by then. There are risks, the bottom falls out of the market, we stop travelling and IoM becomes self sufficient, so the boats aren’t needed, or there’s a shipwreck, or that the two existing boats develop serious mechanical or certification issues that are expensive to rectify, which impacts cash flow.

Ownership does give flexibility, and control, of the new user agreement, Golden shares, timing, 

new boats are needed before then just to pay off the debt........

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1 hour ago, John Wright said:

Said I’d report back.

24/9 standard Steam Packet morning crossing to Heysham, me, Paul and dogs. Pet friendly cabin. Priority boarding ( executive club)  Parked near lift ( currently wheel chair user ). Once on a deck, and at sea, I can’t change decks because the lift is switched off. Couldn’t get to shop or cafe. Nothing remarkable. 3 hours 45 mins. Cost £230.

25/9 Brittany Ferries Pont Aven to Santander. Parked by wheel chair friendly entrance to car deck. Assistance getting chair in and out of car. Dogs in pet kennels as no Pet friendly cabins. Boat 10 years old but smart. Lifts work at sea. Able to access restaurant, cafe, shop, duty free and bars. 24 hours. Cost £590. But cheaper than eurotunnel, fuel and tolls through France and a night in an hotel. As going to Barcelona we had a 6 hour drive rather than a 15 hour drive. And now we have a teltac device fitted to the car we can go through the T lane on Spanish and French motorways. No stopping. Just drive through at 30kph.

10/10 GNV Excellent from Barcelona to Genoa. Odd check in. Presented e-mail, exchanged for voucher, then after boarding, queue for cabin key. Pet friendly cabin. Disabled parking. All areas accessible. Officers Italian, crew Philpino and Chinese. Recipe for another disaster. Restaurant terrible. At launch, 20 years ago,  the Excellent was the largest cruise ferry in Europe. It sails, along with sister ship Excelsior, Tangier Barcelona Genoa return two complete rotations a week. 18 hours, £350. Saves 1000km. Disembarkation a nightmare 3 hours for customs and immigration as North Africans who are booked through to Genoa don’t do immigration control at Barcelona. Boat clapped out. Like the Ben it has trouble manoeuvring in harbour in high wind. This is 1/11 in Barcelona, a big harbour.

12/10 Cruise Olympia Ancona to Igoumenitsa. Best of the lot. 10 years old. Fully accessible. Marked disabled parking giving priority boarding and disembarkation. Along with sister ship Cruise Europa she’s the biggest cruise ferry in Europe. On check in you get your cabin key. Pet cabin. Good open decks. 2.5 hours delay departing. Good restaurants, bars. People sleeping on open deck. The sail between Corfu and the Greek mainland arriving into Igoumenitsa is spectacular. No WiFi. Inmarsat mobile phone at ruinous rates. 20 hours. £400

27/10 Cruise Europa in reverse. They haven’t the facilities in Igoumenitsa to issue cabin keys ( swipe cards ) at check in. 

Whilst in Greece and Bulgaria went on Kavala to Thassos return and Svishtov ferry across Danube. Thassos was €45 for 30 minutes. Open deck with ramp at each end. Stay in car. Svisthtov was in an industrial wasteland, 15 minutes. 20lev ( about £8). Mainly freight from Turkey to join European motorway network. Saves TIR 6-8 hours over Vidin bridge. Odd barge like boat. Loads transversely. Load 1 HGV via ramp. Slide boat 10 feet forward, load next. Carries up to 8. Total bureaucratic customs and immigration system, even although in EU ( but not in Schengen ). You can’t pre book Thassos or Svishtov.

Came back to UK via Montblanc and Channel Tunnels. 

Digression. One of our dogs was taken ill. Various vets in different countries promised treatment and that she was well enough to continue. Last 48 hours she deteriorated fast and our objective became getting home, to our own vet or to allow her to die at home.

Final day we had a delayed departure from Reims due to vet visit and our rescheduled euroshuttle then ran late. Arrived Folkestone 6pm, instead of 1pm. Got on Motorway. Tyre blow out. Sourced replacement ( only got speed limited and distance limited skinny spare ) with 24/7 home call out service. Set off at 8pm. Roadworks on M20/25 junction with diversion. Same at M40/42. M5 had 5 miles of 20mph roadworks. M6 it’s usual mess but with added closure between J18-19 and long detour.

arrived Heysham at 01.55. Security gates still open, two lines of cars still waiting loading. Refused boarding. Watched as gates locked, final cars loaded, and Ben sailed.

Morecambe, found dog friendly hotel. Next morning transferred to 14.15 sailing. Dog died as we waited to board. Not the best ending. I know that I was late, we explained the position. No heart. So, jobsworths at Heysham, steam Packet and port employees, thank you for that. I know the outcome would have been no different, but at least we would have been at home.

RIP Zippy.

 

Sad to hear about your dog John. You shouldn’t have had to endure that.

Liverpool were brilliant with us last year. Due to roadworks and hold ups on M6, we got to Liverpool 5 minutes after the cut off time. Found a member of staff and explained why we were late and they allowed us to travel. Heysham must be up there with the most unfriendly/unhelpful staff ever.

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43 minutes ago, woody2 said:

new boats are needed before then just to pay off the debt........

No both boats are good to 2026-8. Read the reports. But prudence, from continuity of service and fiscal viewpoints suggests replacing both before then, and probably staggerring acquisition.

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Sad and undoubtedly frustrating at Heysham.

I've made a channel crossing with less than 10 minutes to spare.

If there are genuine reasons as to why they HAVE to refuse entry 45 minutes before sailing then fair enough.

But I bet the racket would struggle to justify it in Reality Land.

So someone should be asking the question.....

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9 minutes ago, P.K. said:

Sad and undoubtedly frustrating at Heysham.

I've made a channel crossing with less than 10 minutes to spare.

If there are genuine reasons as to why they HAVE to refuse entry 45 minutes before sailing then fair enough.

But I bet the racket would struggle to justify it in Reality Land.

So someone should be asking the question.....

The reason they set the 45 minutes is simple. Issue boarding cards, get everyone on board, set off early, then crow about arriving on time and go slower saving fuel. They’ve extended Heysham crossing from 3 hr. 30 min to 3 hr 45 in last year. Setting off 10 mins early saves quite a bit, day in/out 365/365

I know the rules. 

But the gate was open. Cars and trucks still being loaded. Rushed into terminal, but they wouldn’t listen or issue boarding passes. The guy on the gate knew they wouldn’t because he closed and padlocked the gate whilst we were trying to get the boarding cards, anticipating ( knowing?) the outcome.

It was claimed that our allocated space had been released to someone else. Not true. We knew people on board who confirmed plenty of space.

It was half term. So finding a pet friendly, any, hotel in Morecambe, at 02.30 wasn’t easy. The Midland were fantastic.

Edited by John Wright

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8 minutes ago, John Wright said:

The reason they set the 45 minutes is simple. Issue boarding cards, get everyone on board, set off early, then crow about arriving on time and go slower saving fuel. They’ve extended Heysham crossing from 3 hr. 30 min to 3 hr 45 in last year. Setting off 10 mins early saves quite a bit, day in/out 365/365

I know the rules. 

But the gate was open. Cars and trucks still being loaded. Rushed into terminal, but they wouldn’t listen or issue boarding passes. The guy on the gate knew they wouldn’t because he closed and padlocked the gate whilst we were trying to get the boarding cards, anticipating ( knowing?) the outcome.

It was claimed that our allocated space had been released to someone else. Not true. We knew people on board who confirmed plenty of space.

It was half term. So finding a pet friendly, any, hotel in Morecambe, at 02.30 wasn’t easy. The Midland were fantastic.

So a bad decision on Heysham’s part, compounded with a lie for an excuse...

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1 hour ago, John Wright said:

No both boats are good to 2026-8. Read the reports. But prudence, from continuity of service and fiscal viewpoints suggests replacing both before then, and probably staggerring acquisition.

that's not what the valuation is based on to get to the targets......

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42 minutes ago, Gizo said:

Nice report John. The real issue is why the Bens lift is switched off during sailing. If you are wheelchair dependent that is awful. 

You have to protest like that bloke did at Luton Airport (https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-46133121

however I still think he was a biff by doing it. 

I’m not sure I agree with you about his protest. It achieved his object. Luton have now provided self propelled chairs and systems to deal with chairs being lost or misplaced. It’s a crap airport anyway.

Hopefully my chair use is temporary,

I’m using a folding power chair. Before I bought it I was at the mercy of the special assistance services at numerous airports, especially flying to Liverpool twice a week for treatment. The hard fixed small wheel chairs they use leave you entirely at a disadvantage. You transfer into one out of the taxi or off the plane and are stuck in it, and where they leave you, unable to move to get refreshments or go to the loo without attracting attention of someone to push.

if a plane was delayed I was left in one for up to 4 hours. I can see his point. Total lack of independence, and his chair will be built specially for him, have moulded memory foam cushions and the large self propel wheels mean a smoother ride.

The chair he was protesting about is hard, and I’m well padded and can feel my bum, and move, adjust weight. Given the level of his SCI he’s no sensation. Not good. And yes, he could have damaged himself by dragging himself through the airport. But there should have been self propelling chairs.

Since getting my chair I can go to check in, up in the lift, through security, down to departures and to the plane steps on my own. Then I transfer onto the ambulift. Chair goes into the hold. It’s supposed to be delivered to the foot of the steps on arrival. Heart stopping moment, seeing it being tossed onto the trailer and driven away, because you then know there won’t be a manual chair there either because one has not been pre ordered.

What he did was a publicity stunt. But I think borne out of the need to make a point. You’d complain if you were abandoned on the tarmac, or on the plane, for an hour. Then got to the terminal and shoved out at departures land side without your bags.

Edited by John Wright

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Thanks for reporting back John, and condolences for Zippy. 

Not a good year for Rainbow :(

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9 hours ago, John Wright said:

The reason they set the 45 minutes is simple. Issue boarding cards, get everyone on board, set off early, then crow about arriving on time and go slower saving fuel. They’ve extended Heysham crossing from 3 hr. 30 min to 3 hr 45 in last year. Setting off 10 mins early saves quite a bit, day in/out 365/365

I know the rules. 

But the gate was open. Cars and trucks still being loaded. Rushed into terminal, but they wouldn’t listen or issue boarding passes. The guy on the gate knew they wouldn’t because he closed and padlocked the gate whilst we were trying to get the boarding cards, anticipating ( knowing?) the outcome.

It was claimed that our allocated space had been released to someone else. Not true. We knew people on board who confirmed plenty of space.

It was half term. So finding a pet friendly, any, hotel in Morecambe, at 02.30 wasn’t easy. The Midland were fantastic.

Did you ring ahead to say you would be late?

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Just now, P.K. said:

Did you ring ahead to say you would be late?

To whom? Where? They close the phone lines from early evening. I wouldn’t have a number for Heysham Harbour.

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3 minutes ago, P.K. said:

Did you ring ahead to say you would be late?

I didn't ring ahead at Liverpool PK. They applied a bit of common sense and let my wife and I travel.

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1 minute ago, John Wright said:

To whom? Where? They close the phone lines from early evening. I wouldn’t have a number for Heysham Harbour.

Isn't there a SP phone number for travel?

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1 minute ago, Neil Down said:

Isn't there a SP phone number for travel?

Yes, automated service after 6pm. Sailing updates, or request a brochure. Humans only on between 08.30-18.00

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