Unlike its competitors, HD Ferries is not in the habit of "throwing stones" as they often come flying back as rocks. However in this instance and as CEO, I feel obliged to respond on behalf of HD Ferries to the recent statement issued by Mr Provan of Condor Ferries.
It is firstly interesting to note that Condor Ferries have forgotten the numerous problems they have experienced over the years. For example, several years ago a Condor Ferries vessel cut the Herm Trident IV vessel in half in Guernsey harbour. On another occasion the Condor 8 ran aground in Jersey harbour and yet another when Condor 9 ended up on a sandbank in St Malo harbour with passengers being rescued in a rowing boat! Understandably all three situations caused huge problems for those unfortunate passengers travelling with Condor Ferries.
In respect of the comments regarding capacity between Jersey and St Malo, Mr Provan seems to have also forgotten the original reason for Condor Ferries introducing a second car carrying service in competition to Emeraude Ferries. They highlighted then that there was sufficient demand for two ferry operators. So we are left wondering what has changed?
HD Ferries have clearly demonstrated that the Condor Ferries demand assumptions were and still are correct and that the route will support two ferry operators. HD Ferries has increased traffic by 20% in spite of all the problems.
Additionally Incat, the hd1 ship builders, strongly deny Mr Provan's claims that the ship is unsuitable for the route and are currently writing to him to refute his assertions. We find it hard to believe that respected authorities such as Jersey Harbours, the MCA, Bahamas Flag Authority and DNV would allow an unsafe vessel to operate on the route. It is more likely that the huge potential for hd1 on the route, and Condor Ferries inability to compete with it, has caused considerable concern to Mr Provan and fuelled his comments.
During the last week, in addition to repairing the hd1, we took the opportunity to work very closely with Northern Marine (our ship managers), Jersey Harbours, the MCA, DNV and the Bahamas Flag Authority to review and where possible further improve our safety procedures. Safety is paramount to the HD Ferries operation and there is no way I or HD Ferries would ever allow the safety of our passengers, crew and other shipping to be compromised and put at risk.
We have received an overwhelming amount of support from local people both in Jersey and Guernsey which has been vital in keeping the morale and motivation of our crew and shore staff at a high level. We cannot apologise enough for the inconvenience we have caused to customers and our enormous thanks go out to everyone supporting us including our staff and crew.
As a company we are committed to not only providing a safe, reliable and value for money service but also to put something back into the local community. This includes the sponsorship of Durrell Zoo Teddy Bears picnic on the 18th August and the HD Ferries day out for 200 disadvantaged Jersey children in association with the Variety Club on the 8th August.
In conclusion my sincere apologies to all those customers affected by our problems and please support HD Ferries to keep fares low!
CEO HD Ferries
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