Ponte Ferries has come under fire again, this time from customers seeking refunds when their trips were cancelled last-minute due to technical difficulties, leaving hundreds stranded.
Indeed, on 21st September, passengers, some of whom had already boarded the ferry, were told a scheduled trip would not commence, resulting in customers being stranded in either Valletta, Malta or Augusta, Sicily.
Customers have now taken to social media, and have spoken to this newsroom, about how six weeks after their trip was cancelled, they have yet to receive promised refunds.
One man who took is complaints online said that he was promised a full refund in 10 working days, but has remained without payment weeks later.
One woman who spoke to BusinessNow.mt confirmed that at first, the company was responding to requests by stating that refunds would be disbursed soon but is now being faced with unanswered emails.
A look on the Ponte Ferries’ Facebook reviews section also shows some disgruntled customers complaining of delays in receiving refunds.
While some continue to wait, others have confirmed that they have received it from the embattled company, which points towards issues with cash-flow.
Indeed, the company, operates its fast ferry service with a single, 20+ year old vessel. In the run up to the end of the summer season, many scheduled trips took longer than advertised due to technical issues or rough seas.
Ponte Ferries then proceeded to suspend its winter service, with sources saying the company needed to action hefty maintenance works on the vessel, the HSC Artemis.
However, just days ago, Times of Malta reported that the catamaran used by Ponte Ferries had been impounded by a judge on the request of a shipping agent seeking to collect debts of over €100,000.
It went on to report that a settlement has now been reached between Ponte and shipping agent Focal Maritime Services Limited. On Wednesday (today), however, The Shift News reported that Ponte has now been hit with a second arrest warrant concerning its only vessel, claiming that an urgent court application has been filed by Valletta Cruise Port, the company managing the HSC Artemis’ berth.
It went on to report that in the court application, Valletta Cruise Port is claiming it is owed €200,000 in unpaid bills.
Ponte Ferries is owned by Ponte Investments Ltd, which is backed by Magro Brothers, producers of Gozo tomato Products, and by Julian and Michael Zammit Tabona of Fortina Group.
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