Annie Brown, from just outside Birmingham, approached News OnTheWight as she was looking out for her son.
She said her son and his friend have been working hard all summer in order to save up for Superyacht Crew training courses and on Friday 28th August booked two courses with Cowes maritime training company, Red Ensign, paying £1,140 by bank transfer, with another £780 each due in October.
You can imagine their dismay when just a few days later they received an email from the company (seen by News OnTheWight), advising that the courses had been cancelled because “it’s simply impossible to carry on.” No refund was offered.
Appointing an insolvency company
Red Ensign said that due to the impact of Covid-19 on the cruise industry (their biggest clients) they have started the process of appointing an insolvency company.
It’s not clear how many staff the company employed, but it’s obviously very sad to hear of an Island business in difficulty at any time.
Stuart Goldsmith from Portland Business Support and Advice, who dealt with Red Ensign’s Corporate voluntary arrangement in November 2019, told News OnTheWight it usually follows that a company seeking insolvency would use the same insolvency practitioner, but as yet, they hadn’t been appointed.
No refund offered
No immediate refund was offered to Annie’s son and his friend for the money they’d paid to the company just a few days before, but they were informed once the insolvency company had been appointed they would be referred to them to attempt to make a claim.
Still taking bookings
News OnTheWight checked today (Tuesday) and there are still courses on the Red Ensign Website that you can book. Completing the application for Superyacht Crew Training Package took us right through to the point of the Website asking for credit card details.
No response from Red Ensign
News OnTheWight has attempted to make contact with the company through several means yesterday and today, calling and leaving messages as well as emailing, but at time of publishing, had not heard back.
According to Companies House there are fourteen ‘Red Ensign’ companies connected with the Medina Village address – ten of which are dissolved, and five active, including the company listed on their Website (05331078) having a CVA (Corporate voluntary arrangement) which started in Nov 2019.
We’ll update this article once we hear back from someone at Red Ensign.
Email sent to course participants
The email sent from a RedEnsignTraining.com email address to Annie’s son four days after booking read:
After an emergency meeting yesterday, I have been told that the company cannot run training anymore and to start clearing our desks.
Big efforts have been made to keep it going however, it’s mainly due to Covid and the effect it had on our business, cruise industry being our biggest client, it’s simply impossible to carry on.
The process of appointing an insolvency company dealing with refunds etc has started and you will be referred to them as soon as possible.
Our sincere apologies.
News OnTheWight has also contacted the RYA with a series of questions, who say they are looking in to this and will get back to us in due course.