by Emma Pinch
The States of Alderney has ‘clarified’ a press release which outlined strict new COViD-19 requirements for charter vessels after protests from local boat operators.
The States of Alderney issued a press release earlier this week spelling out rules to control the entry of charter vessels into Braye Harbour. The rules were approved by the General Services Committee this week.
The document announced that any charter vessel entering Alderney by sea – including those from Guernsey – had to complete a booking form 48 hours in advance and receive confirmation from the Harbour Master that their arrival could be accommodated. Details were to include the proposed date and time of arrival, port of registry and last port of call; names, addresses and contact details of everyone on board, reason for travel and declaration of health. Failure to do this could result in the vessel being refused entry.
Charter vessel operators operating within the Bailiwick like Access Challenger owner Buz White said this ruling meant operations that took place at short notice very difficult.
It was also unclear as to whether recreational boat owners from the Bailiwick had to comply with the requirement.The announcement came just days before phase 5 of the exit from lockdown which sees the start of a ‘Bailiwick wide bubble’, allowing free movement between the islands of the Bailwick and the relaxation of distancing requirements.
GSC chairman Graham McKinley admitted the press release had been misleading. ‘Any Bailiwick recreational vessel can visit Alderney freely as long as they inform Alderney Harbour Office that they are on the way,’ he said.
Yesterday the States of Alderney sent out the following release. ‘A process governing charter vessels was drawn up by the Harbour Authority and approved by the General Services Committee (GSC) this week to minimise the risk of bringing the Covid-19 virus to the island. The process includes 48-hours notice and requires inbound passenger declarations.
However, to alleviate concerns raised by private boat owners and Bailiwick-based charter operators, GSC Chairman Graham McKinley has made the following statement:
“I can confirm that the charter does not apply to private boat owners within the Bailiwick who are permitted to visit Alderney without giving any advance notice other than advising the Harbour Office by radio that they are en route, with an estimated time of arrival. The same applies to Alderney boat owners travelling to destinations within the Bailiwick.”
Harbour Master John Taylor confirmed that the arrangements for charter vessels will be consistent with arrangements for all passenger vessels entering Braye Harbour.
“Bailiwick-based charter vessels should conform to the same regulations as The Little Ferry’s Spike Islander by giving at least 24-hours notice of their intention to visit Alderney, and confirmation by radio or telephone before departure confirming the number of passengers,” he said. “They should also confirm that all passengers have been checked regarding their movements within the previous 14 days.
“Charter and private vessels entering the Bailiwick are still required to seek permission and give at least 48-hours notice of their intention to visit Alderney.”
All passengers arriving from outside the Bailiwick must self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolation is monitored on the island and he penalty for non-compliance is a fine of up to £10,000.
Anyone with queries relating to entering Alderney by sea should call the Harbour Office on 01481 820070.