So the debts owed by Transeuropa include £3.4 million to Thanet Council, £2. 5 million to Ostend Port and £12.5 million to Oilchart International. A grand total of £18.4 million built up over a 3 year period. This is an absolutely staggering amount of money and it does not include monies owed by Transeuropa to its employees, to P and O for the hire of a ferry and various other sundry debts which at a conservative estimate must bring the grand total of debt to about £20million!
This was a company in extremely serious financial difficulties. To invest in such a company, or to extend credit to it would have been extremely risky and reckless for anyone to have done. The question must therefore be asked what did Thanet Council do to check the financial position of Transeuropa Ferries when it agreed to defer payments in 2010-11. What steps did it take to evaluate risk to the taxpayer and how often did it review these risks? Quite frankly Thanet was bonkers to defer payments for anything more than an extremely short period and certainly not for 3 years!
One thing which mystifies me more than anything else is why would a commercial organisation, such as Oilchart International, which has the sole purpose of selling fuel for profit and who's terms and conditions of business require immediate payment, allow a 2-bit ferry company running a fleet of 2, and towards the end, 3 rust bucket vessels to have a line of credit of up to £12.5 million? This is a medium sized company which I am sure could not afford to bear such eye-watering unpaid bills. This action defies business logic and leads me to wonder if something other than charitable motives might have been at work here. But as I say this is pure speculation on my part.
Here is a link to the Olichart Website http://www.oilchart.com/ .
They say strange things happen at sea, especially piracy and skulduggery where public bodies like Thanet Council are divested of their funds by unscrupulous, swashbuckling jolly jack-tars, who might have links to secretive tax havens in Cyprus. But I'm seriously out of my league here.
Perhaps the son of the now deceased owner of Transeuropa Ferries, Dexter Dias QC, might be able to help. They say he is a brilliant barrister who also writes detective stories. Maybe he can solve the mystery
I must confess that like Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols I get a strange feeling that someone, somewhere might have been cheated by the now defunct Transeuropa Ferries or its pals.
Letter from EU -