Following eight hours of negotiations between the Harbours and Airport Committee, Emeraude bosses and a French legal official, the ship was released from custody at 8.45 pm.
An hour later she was under way and heading to St Malo to resume services this morning.At 7.30 pm yesterday a ‘Save Emeraude’ public meeting attended by 500 people had ended in the Albert Pier terminal beside where the ship was moored.
Organiser Sean Power has confirmed that another public meeting will be held tonight as a follow-up, despite the release of the ferry.
Angry members of the public at the meeting supported a no confidence motion in the Harbours and Airport Committee and its president, Senator Len Norman.Solidor V was seized because the debt-laden ferry company owed £300,000 in unpaid harbour dues.
Emeraude is reportedly millions of euros in debt in France and was last week put into administration under the control of administrateur judiciaire Sophie Gautier.
She was involved in negotiations by phone from Rennes with the Jersey authorities yesterday.Her agreement that the Jersey debt would be placed high on the priority list for repayment by Emeraude if it manages to restructure its finances within the 90-day deadline set by the French Tribunal de Commerce was a key factor in allowing the vessel to be released.It was also agreed that Emeraude would be allowed to pay its harbour dues on a daily basis to stop the debt escalating.
However, it was confirmed by Senator Norman today that no money would be paid immediately to reduce the outstanding debt.Emeraude also may find itself back as sole operator on the St Malo route.
The company contends that the decision by Harbours and Airport to allow Condor Ferries to compete alongside Emeraude was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Emeraude managers say that it has lost £1 million in turnover since Condor was allowed to start in April.