October 3, 2022

First with the Alderney News

Steve Roberts: Crane breakdown highlighted harbour fragility

2 min read

Our vulnerability has been made ever clearer by our reliance on just one, key appliance – the harbour crane – and just what impact it can have on the supply chain and our access to basic essentials – food and medications.

Empty shelves, frayed tempers, chaotic and hurried meetings that quite frankly embarrassed me. Personal, unkind attacks on States members in the streets. The whole situation has saddened me. We must question who is responsible for the crane and harbour equipment, and check the terms of reference. 

We waste time sourcing blame – blame and responsibility will come after an inquest on this whole affair (which must come soon – this is essential). But for now, forget the blame, and work together to find solutions. 

What this affair has highlighted is our lack of contingency plans, should this happen again (because technical issues happen all the time, even with new equipment). One alternative I had arranged was for a Jersey charter company, with another aircraft standing by out of Bournemouth, both ready to remove seats and bring urgent supply should the delay be extended. 

We have no backup crane these days, not like we use to, and I continue to question the need to spend vast sums of money purchasing one when perhaps we should be leasing the equipment with a guaranteed maintenance program and five year replacement. 

Another option, a roll on/roll off facility – this would future proof our supplies with no reliance on a crane again. A high initial development cost yes, but the investment in our future would be invaluable.

We need to restore our faith in the system, and examine the relationships, marking out new terms of reference between our civil service, our states members, and our utilities – because for now, all I can see is a great imbalance. 

I would like to take a moment to thank all the outstanding members of our community for rallying together and arranging food to be brought in via boat and plane, cooking fresh goods and all the simple acts of kindness that have been seen across our island this week. Our local shop workers, for your continued service. I understand frustrations are high, but with your patience and the understanding that we are all in this together – this is the Alderney we know and love.

This issue cannot be left to rest – it is a priority, and I will continue to do what I can to get us on the other side. Any and all ideas welcome – please get in touch. 


Steve Roberts

Alderney States and Guernsey Representative

Policy & Finance; General Services; Agriculture & Wildlife

07781 401170



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