Jubilee Sailing Trust Ltd ‘forced’ into administration

Tenacious one of JST ships which has been forced into administration

One of the companies behind Jubilee Sailing Trust has gone into administration. JST has so far operated through its two subsidiaries, Jubilee Sailing Trust Ltd and Jubilee Sailing Trust (Tenacious) Ltd. Jubilee Sailing Trust Ltd was forced into administration after one of the charity’s principal creditors ‘threatened imminent legal proceedings to reclaim their owed credit’, JST says.

JST has been facing financial difficulties for many reasons, which intensified during the pandemic.

It held an online auction in June 2022 after it’d let troubled donors withdraw donations the month before. But even before that, as reported in MIN, there were questions being asked about what really happened in JST’s £1million appeal.

Of the current situation, a JST statement reads: “As previously shared, the financial position of the Jubilee Sailing Trust has been extremely precarious for some time. The Covid Recovery Campaign was launched due to the significant reduction of income over the past two years, coupled with rising costs and increased pressure from our creditors, resulting in our organisation being at risk of closure. This has raised an astounding £890,897 since April 2022, which has allowed us to continue operating Tenacious and delivering our mission, and enabled us to make some progress with funds owed to our trade creditors.

“‘The Jubilee Sailing Trust, as registered charity no. 277810, operates through its two subsidiaries, ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust Ltd’, and ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust (Tenacious) Ltd’.

“‘Jubilee Sailing Trust Ltd’ owns STS Lord Nelson (decommissioned in 2019), whereas Tenacious is owned and operated by ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust (Tenacious) Ltd’. Our principal trading and financial arrangements have been through ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust Ltd’, including the employment of our staff.

“Unfortunately, despite the fantastic support received over the past few months, we have been forced to make the difficult decision to enter ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust Ltd’ into administration. This decision was made after one of our principal creditors threatened imminent legal proceedings to reclaim their owed credit. Regardless of our recent organisational restructure and ongoing development review, this situation escalated rapidly and the sale of Lord Nelson will not be possible within this new timeframe.”

Tenacious remains operational after Jubilee Sailing Trust forced into administration

JST’s tall ship SV Tenacious remains operational, the charity says, as it will be returning to London waters this September. It’ll be alongside at HMS President, near Tower Bridge from 4-7 September where it’ll be hosting visitors and a team of sponsored mast climbers throughout the day on Tuesday 6th as well as offering tours.

The charity says that since the launch of its covid campaign, every effort has been made to avoid this situation, including contacting all creditors to consider alternative repayment timeframes. It sought to establish if they would be willing to forgive the funds owed, to improve the balance sheet.

“We are grateful to those who were able and willing to assist us in this manner, however the debt forgiveness and the fundraising efforts combined were not enough to significantly change our position,” says JST.

“We had hoped that the sale of Lord Nelson would have been agreed before our situation reached this point, as the funds from her sale would have been used to repay our debts. This was our most desired outcome, and very recent interest in her sale had looked extremely promising, however the expedited time frame placed upon us meant this would be impossible to achieve.”

JST recently said that several parties who had been interested in purchasing were unable to progress due to the sharp rise in costs which they would incur to re-fit her for service which has added to Jubilee Sailing Trust Ltd being forced into administration. “We are doing all we can to progress discussions with alternative purchasers, but her immediate sale will be vital to support the JST at this time,” a statement said mid-July (2022).

With ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust Ltd’ now in administration, the assets owned by this company will be sold to generate funds for creditor repayment. Lord Nelson will be taken over by the administrators for this purpose.

Upsetting for supporters

The charity says it recognises that this new development will be deeply upsetting for many of its supporters and that this outcome was never its intention.

Essential shore-based employees are being transferred to ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust (Tenacious) Ltd’ under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations. The permanent crew are employed via an agency, whose contract will be continued with ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust (Tenacious) Ltd’. These transfers will ensure that Tenacious, her published voyage programme, and those who are booked to sail with her will not be affected by these changes, says the organisation.

“We appreciate your continued patience and understanding as our ongoing restructure adjusts to this new format. For transparency, updates regarding this will be shared with our supporters via email, on our website, and on our social media channels throughout.

“Whilst this update may be greatly disappointing for many, we want to emphasise that these actions mean that Tenacious will still be able to continue delivering our mission, which remains unchanged.”

Fleming’s resignation

The charity’s statement goes on to thank its supporters following the earlier announcement of its restructure. That included Patrick Fleming’s move. Fleming was in place as CEO from December 2019, overseeing this turbulent period.

At the time of his resignation, JST said: “With him having decided to resign as CEO, the JST has set about structural changes whilst we continue to raise funds, sell Lord Nelson and try to ensure the future sailings of our remaining tall ship Tenacious: ‘persisting in existence; not easily dispelled’.”

JST now says that key responsibilities are being shared between the ship’s masters, the operations director, its senior customer services manager, and the head of fundraising. This team is reporting to the Board of Trustees for the foreseeable future.

“We have a new strategic plan, and are re-engaging with existing supporters as well as those new to our work,” says the statement. “We recently completed a tremendous week on the Isle of Wight as one of the Cowes Week Official Partner Charities, engaging with thousands of people and benefitting from the huge exposure of such a high profile event. We will shortly be publishing Tenacious’ Summer (2023) voyage programme, and would encourage anyone wishing to sail with us to book soon, as our summer voyages have sold out for the last two years running.”

JST last faced closure in 2019. It managed to raise £1m in five days following an emergency fundraising effort. The charity, which began 44 years ago, previously said it had to raise an extra £1.2m by the end of September 2022 following this year’s difficulties.

Earlier this year the trust said it had failed to secure financial help from the government and would not survive unless it raised £1.2m by end of September. Speaking at the time, Fleming described the situation as “desperately difficult”.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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