Eurotunnel eyes up ships after SeaFrance sinks

CROSS-CHANNEL ferry operator SeaFrance sank into official liquidation yesterday after France’s Tribunal de Commerce ruled a £165m bailout by the French government illegal.

Eurotunnel told the French press yesterday that it could mount a surprise bid to buy up SeaFrance’s fleet in the wake of the collapse, only to draw criticism from a rival ferry firm.

A P&O spokesperson confirmed yesterday it would consider approaching competition authorities if Eurotunnel goes ahead with its bid to expand from rail to sea.

SeaFrance, which carried over 3.5m passengers a year, went into receivership in 2010. The decision puts more than 1,000 jobs at risk across the channel and 130 British workers in Dover look set to lose their jobs.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has strongly backed efforts to find a way of saving jobs at SeaFrance, said government representatives would meet today to look into options for the firm.