Taken from Kent On Line yesterday. A financial lifeline has been thrown to troubled ferry operator SeaFrance - just days after a deadline for offers to buy it passed. A French court had set December 12 for the submission of bids to save the company. But the deadline passed, and it seemed inevitable it would be wound up by the end of January with the loss of 700 jobs in France and more than 100 in Dover. Now, with its ships grounded for several weeks, the union has stepped forward with a bid to buy the international firm. The French courts will consider the options for the company at a hearing on Monday, with a decision expected up to a week later. French business consultant Thaddee Segard had said just days ago: "The final liquidation of SeaFrance is no longer in doubt." DFDS/LD Lines announced earlier this week it would not be submitting a new bid after its earlier one was rejected by a French court as too low. The consortium had hoped to file a revised offer and held extensive talks with the parties involved. But it ran up against union opposition to its plans to slash jobs.