I still hear some people believe that Euroferries will be operating at the start of September which were the dates given in the press releases from July 31st 2009:
Euroferries announces today it will commence its planned Fast Cross Channel Passenger Ferry Service between the ports of Boulogne & Ramsgate during August.
Thanet District Council statement
It will carry a combination of cars, foot passengers, coaches and a limited amount of freight and caravans to the continent and is expected to commence in September.
Luckily in the comments in my Euroferries post there has been much speculation and plenty of updates from insiders both sides of the channel, and the latest comment has a (thanks for the link Steve) showing the Bonanza Express without any Euroferries branding.
The video (Skip to 7:48 for start. Moneyshot at 8:06) shows the BE still docked in Santa Cruz, and without any paintwork apart from ?Express? which ?Fred Olsen? used to prefix. Further photos have been released which seem to indicate that only one side of the ship had been temporarily painted purely for publicity shots.
This all seems to lean towards the fact that this is still not a done deal and that nothing is in concrete. There has still not been any works at Ramsgate or Boulogne to correct the berthing problems for accommodating this type of vessel, and although I know the ship has moved around throughout August as of the 20th August it?s back in Tenerife and is still not painted.
Ramsgate port boss Dominic Evans has said that Euroferries and the pilots must make 12 trips each way in order to get their port licence, and couple this in with the fact the the boat needs to get here and be painted, that training needs to go ahead, that they still need to sell tickets, that they need to make the ports operational, and that they need to work on so many things makes the late August/early September start of service impossible.
This will lead on to yet more doubt and the question to ask is why set deadlines if you are not going to stick to them?
Robert Maughan from Euroferries has said The website is ready to go live, but we wont launch it until we know for certain that we can hit the launch date. The site will go up at the same time the ferry comes to Ramsgate we just have to wait for the clearance before it can come here.?
The clearance is apparently from the Spanish government so are they having doubts about the seaworthiness of the BE? Belle in the comments sections says:
Is there anyone foolish enough to cross the Dover Straights diagonally on an old HSC that couldnt perform to its best, been damaged by an engine failure and run aground, then described as being prone to maintainance problems and too old for the calmer waters of the Canaries? This ferry is being described as state of the art, well it was in 1999!
We shall wait and see what the next development is.