Brexit ferry firm with no ships ‘copied terms and conditions from takeaway website’
A firm hired to provide ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit despite not having any boats have been accused of copying their terms and conditions from an online takeaway.
The Department for Transport confirmed that Seaborne Freight - who have controversailly been handed a £13.8m contract to run out of Ramsgate port in Kent - had posted details of how to order food on their website "in error".
The page includes a “placing an order” section and states that customers should check the details before agreeing to pay for “any meal.”
"You must always provide a valid contact number and email when ordering online,” the page states.
“Please provide additional delivery instructions in the relevant section on our checkout page. In the event that your address cannot be found, undelivered orders will be chargeable."
The website goes on to warn users against making false orders, adding: “Seaborne Freight Limited reserves the right to seek compensation through legal action for any losses incurred as the result of hoax delivery requests and will prosecute to the full extent of the law.”
Labour MP Mike Gapes tweeted: "Well. Well. Fish and Chips, Curry, Chinese, Kebab or Pizza. Seaborne Freight certainly have plans to Take Away our money."
A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said the problem was being “immediately rectified” but insisted the Government had carried out the correct due diligence on the firm before awarding the contract.
“Before any contract was signed, due diligence on Seaborne Freight was carried out both by senior officials at the Department for Transport, and highly reputable independent third party organisations with significant experience and expertise into Seaborne’s financial, technical and legal underpinning,” they said.
“This section of the terms and conditions on the company’s website was put up in error. This is being immediately rectified.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling yesterday defended the decision to award the multi-million pound contract to the “start-up” company despite it never having operated a ferry route, saying he would “make no apologies for supporting a new British business”.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson told PoliticsHome: "This demonstrates what an utter shambles the Government's no deal planning is. It is alarming in the extreme that Chris Grayling's Department for Transport could have handed this company £13m of taxpayer's money.
"It's an embarassment and it will reinforce the feeling within Parliament that we cannot allow this Government to have us crash out of the EU with no deal, which would be disastrous for our country."
Other elements of the firm's webpage, including a login portal and options to translate the contents into other languages, also fail to work correctly.
Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi, speaking on behalf of the Better for Britain campaign, said the incident was “beyond a joke”.
It's not just that the government have panic hired a firm with no ships to conduct ferry services. That firm has literally nothing prepared to suggests the £13.8 million handed over to them is a sound investment. They've seemingly copied and pasted their terms off a takeaway fast food website, and their login portal sends you back to Google.
She added: "The whole thing looks like a scam website. I can't think of a worse way to show the world we're ready for Brexit.”
Seaborne Freight have been approached for comment.