HM Government have awarded start up Seaborne Freight Ltd a £14m contract to launch a new RoRo service from Ramsgate to Ostend on the 1st of April 2019. No, it is not an April Fools. Chris Grayling has told Channel 4 that the Government carried out extensive due diligence on the company, its plans and its directors. Hmmm - really Chris. Well did you know that..........
For the record, we were the first to understand that Ben Sharp was John Sharp, using our DD experience. And that he had been involved in a liquidation owing HMRC £1m plus. We were also the first the tie other liquidations to other Seaborne directors. Both The Times and The FT rang us to get this information, which we gave them on the strict understanding that we would get credit for our work in the articles. Both papers reneged on this agreement. At a time when we are launching a new equity CF information service to promote the truth and honesty in this sector, this kind of shoddy backhanded behaviour is shocking.
1. Ben Sharp, quoted as the CEO, has never run a successful company let alone one in shipping. His LI page claims he is currently CEO of Mercator International. This company was forced to close by HMRC back in 2016, having filed a balance sheet £1.4m in the red for YE March 2013. 3 other Mercator companies were also closed. His name at CH is not Ben Sharp but John Edmund Paul Sharp. The total disregard for any attempt to present real accounts with notes doesnt bode well for Graylings KPIs when ot comes to issuing the £1.4m - another claim he made to Cathy Newman. Anyone capable of presenting accounts like this in 2013 is simply not interested in doing things properly. Something most people will recognise as a fact when they know that the new Seaborne copied its Articles from a takeaway company.
2. Sharp is also a director of Albany Shipping which does very little and is technically insolvent. Two other Seaborne directors are also directors of Albany.
3. Other Seaborne directors, are currently involved with the liquidation of Litigation Protection where debts exceeding £500k are also owed to HMRC and the liquidation of Access to Justice 2000, completed in 2014.
4. We couldnt find any other shipping experience save for the so far dormant shipping company Myferry.
This is not exactly the sort of picture painted by Grayling, who claims he has every confidence in Seabourne being able to launch a new service from a port that currently runs no ferry service and will need substantial dredging and infrastructure works before the service starts in less than 3 months . What DD did he really carry out?
Due Diligence is an art and its seems clear Grayling and his team do not have this skill set. We do. That's why we are able to get investors in one of highest risk sectors, the real information so you can make an informed decision.
Finally who in their right mind would award a new piece of vital infrastructure in a national crisis to a start up with so little shipping experience, when they have to launch a new service in 3 months - a service which has no time to iron out any wrinkles. Well clearly only a total idiot.