‘Discriminatory controls’ on Alderney charters
by Buz White
A requirement for 48 hours prior notice has been implemented for operations by charter vessels between Guernsey and Alderney. They have not been implemented in Sark or Herm.
Charter vessels are licensed for the carriage of up to 12 passengers for hire and reward. Their crews are duly licensed. They provide a vital service.
By the nature of their operations, requirements can arise at short notice. Charters include providing service to members of the public and the States of Guernsey and Alderney for such things as the movement of personnel or medical supplies at short notice, the carriage of medical cases (patients), or clearing of passengers for Aurigny in cases of bad weather of unserviceable aircraft and the carriage of parcels and letters for Guernsey Post. The towing of disabled vessels, the carriage of salvage crews and the repatriation of the deceased are also undertaken.
The present imposition of a requirement for 48 hours notice is unnecessary, unworkable and discriminatory.
A period of notice need be no more than is necessary for the authorities to ensure that the current restrictions on movements are complied with. In the case of Access Challenger this should be no more than is applied to Spike Islander or other licensed carriers by air or sea. The only requirement for aircraft (private) flying between Guernsey and Alderney, or vice versa, is to file a simple flight plan (the Covid one is no longer required) and a simple form for Alderney Border Force which has to be filed before departure with Guernsey Flight Briefing. No prior permission, no allocated flight number, no stipulated advanced time. (It was 24 hours and has now been dropped).The form simply gives aircraft, Pilot and route plus times. Passengers give names, permanent address, phone number and address being visited, with a requirement to sign the normal paragraph re. freedom from and no contact with Covid contacts.
For the reasons concerning the nature of our work (see above) it is not always practical to provide 48 hours notice of an intended charter.
The requirement for 48 hours notice for charter vessels is discriminatory in that it puts the operator at a commercial disadvantage with respect to other carriers at a time of acute financial hardship.
The requirement for 48 hours notice has an adverse affect upon the ability of persons to travel within The Bailiwick at reasonably short notice and in accordance with the stated policies for a partial recovery of the hospitality sector.
Unnecessary or irresponsible imposition of rules, the exercise of authority without proper responsibility and due regard for the consequences of them can be counter productive in winning and retaining the support of our community which is a prerequisite for maintaining effective but balanced controls.
Buz White is the ownew/operator of m.v. Access Challenger which plies frequent charters betwien Guernsey and Alderney.