Tag Archives: ferry

Is UK government creating problems for itself by detaining a P&O ferry?

Moored: P&O ferries in harbour. It seems that’s exactly where the UK government wants them to stay.

This is potentially problematic. What’s to stop P&O from complaining that the firm is being victimised by the government because of the way it sacked 800 workers – and that the Tories are trying to run it out of business as a result?

A P&O Ferries ship has been detained in Northern Ireland over safety concerns.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the European Causeway passenger boat had been held in Larne over multiple issues.

The MCA said there had been “failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training”.

Unions have raised concerns over a lack of experience of new crew, introduced after 800 of the firm’s staff were sacked eight days ago.

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Are the Tories really saying people smugglers have a better fleet than they can fund?

Apparently these are “migrants” trying to cross the Channel from France to the UK and their boat is better than anything the Conservative government has to stop them.

Let’s consider the facts, as we understand them.

Tory MP Chris Grayling has paid £13.8 million to a company that has no ships, copied its terms and conditions from a takeaway firm’s website…

… has no offices and has a boss whose only previous experience of running a shipping company ended badly, to say the least.

Meanwhile, Tory MP Sajid Javid has had to call in the navy after it was revealed that he didn’t have enough Border Force ships to patrol the channel properly:

Meanwhile, Mr Javid has been stoking fears that people trying to get across the channel from France are being smuggled by people traffickers. Otherwise, he says, why would anybody want to leave a perfectly decent country like France?

Here’s one possible reason:

However, according to Mr Javid, these refugees are being smuggled in for criminal purposes.

So he’s saying that the people carrying refugees (or criminals, depending who you believe) across the Channel have ships that are not only better than Seaborne Freight – which has none – but also better than the Border Force and (so far) navy patrol ships that have been brought in to hunt them down.

Perhaps Mr Grayling should be offering them the contract to run a ferry service? They seem to have a better shipping infrastructure and he could make honest people of them.

Extra: It seems the port at Ramsgate is being dredged, in accordance with the requirements of running a ferry there – by a European firm. Make of that what you will!

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‘Properly vetted’ ferry firm took its terms from a takeaway website. Are you laughing yet?

Ramsgate ferry terminal: The Seaborne contract requires the waters surrounding it to be dredged – who’s paying for that, then?

The Conservative government has often been accused of making up its policies on the back of a cigarette packet so perhaps it’s no surprise that the ferry-free freight company hired to provide a service following a “no deal” Brexit seems to have cut-and-pasted its terms and conditions from a takeaway website.

Seaborne Freight was awarded a £13.8 million contract to ease the pressure on Dover when Britain pulls out of the EU – despite never having run a Channel service.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling insisted the company had been properly vetted before being chosen, but now we find the terms and conditions on its website appeared to have been lifted from a takeaway delivery service.

The ‘placing an order’ section stated that “it is the responsibility of the customer to ensure delivery address details are correct and detailed enough for the delivery driver to locate the address in adequate time.

“You must always provide a valid contact number and email when ordering online. Please provide additional delivery instructions in the relevant section on our checkout page. In the event that your address cannot be found, undelivered orders will be chargeable.”

I hope you’re laughing. This is very funny indeed, especially if you don’t like the Tories and their corrupt little deals. And of course, you’re paying for it so you might as well have a giggle.

And The New European has found other incongruities:

  • Its log-in portal redirects directly to Google’s home page;
  • Neither of the listed phone numbers appear to be manned, with both stating ‘there is no one available to take your call’ and offering no chance to leave a message;
  • Other features, such as language settings, are only for show and cannot be clicked; and
  • Despite Mr Grayling saying they are on track to run services from April, the firm’s recruitment page is currently empty.

The (apparently borrowed?) terms and conditions appear to have been changed but can still be seen via online archiving services.

This is turning into a big – and frankly hilarious – scandal at exactly the time the Tories least wanted it; right before the big Parliamentary vote on Theresa May’s so-called Brexit “deal”.

Perhaps Seaborne should have adopted a well-known advertising slogan from someone else, too:

“Providing a nonexistent ferry service if there’s a no-deal Brexit – £13.8 million; humiliating ourselves and the corrupt Tories – priceless.”

EXTRA:

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Grayling’s failings are piling up – rail fiasco adds to his Brexit ferry woes

Fiasco: It costs an average of 3.1 per cent more to board a train than it did in December – and the chances are it will still be delayed.

Chris Grayling is failing as Transport Secretary, just as he failed as Justice Secretary and as a minister for employment.

His latest disaster is the latest increase increase in ticket prices on Britain’s railways – most of which are owned by foreign companies and all of which have creamed £3.5 billion in profits off of us, while failing to provide adequate services.

The Mirror describes it as a “gravy train” for the privatised rail operators, which were once a national utility owned by all of us.

Its report stated: “Private train operators have creamed off £3.5 billion from running our railways over the past 10 years.

“These gigantic profits come despite passengers having to deal with overcrowding, delays, cancellations, strikes and among the highest ticket prices in Europe.

“It got worse yesterday as fare increases were introduced.”

Those increases amount to 3.2 per cent this year – totalling 36 per cent since 2010. The Mirror reported that top executives were making a fortune from them. So what do you think Mr Grayling had to say about it?

He blamed the employees.

A different Mirror report stated: “Chris Grayling blamed rail workers three times in an interview.

“He claimed the “biggest factor” behind the fare rises is “pay pressure from the unions”.

“”They want pay rises that are much higher than [Shadow Transport Secretary] Andy McDonald was talking about.

“”They threaten strike action across the country to get those pay rises.””

According to Rachael Maskell MP, he also attacked Network Rail:

Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald had withering words for Mr Grayling – after disembarking from a train that was – predictably – late.

According to the Mirror‘s report, he said: “This is a pathetic attempt to shift the blame for Tory fares policies onto the staff who run the railway.

“It’s telling that Grayling doesn’t suggest slashing the salaries of train company bosses or dividends paid to shareholders of private train companies.”

Labour – and the Mirror – wants rail services to be renationalised. Privatisation has been an enormously costly mistake. Who knows how much money has been lost due to overcharging by the private companies – and due to the delays their poor services have caused?

Here’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:

His aims are entirely achievable:

The party’s video clip advertising the policy is terrific:

And Labour groups across the country are rising to support the initiative, like the Southampton and Romsey party:

Meanwhile, Mr Grayling remains under fire for his decision to give a £14 million ferrying contract – in the event of a no-deal Brexit – to a firm that has no experience and no ships.

He has doubled down on his decision:

But this only means he has exposed himself to further ridicule:

In response to that last tweet, Tom Pride answered: “Don’t listen to him @theresa_may, I’ll do it for 10…”

But there are serious questions too, like this one…

… and this one:

Uppermost in many minds is how Mr Grayling can hold on to his Cabinet ministerial position after this pair of cock-ups:

They’ll have a long wait, I think.

Mr Grayling will never resign of his own free will, no matter how much chaos his decisions cause.

He doesn’t have the sense of honour necessary – or even the wit to understand that it is what is demanded of him.

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The corruption behind the Tory freight deal with a shipping company that has no ships

Ramsgate ferry terminal: Would it be able to cope with the kind of use required by the Seaborne contract?

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has scored a real hit with his appointment of Seaborne Freight to charter ferries in the event of a no-deal Brexit (at a cost of £13,800,000 to the taxpayer).

The company – if it really is a company at all – has no ships, no trading history, has not previously operated a ferry service and is not planning to do so until close to the UK’s scheduled departure date.

The service would run from Ramsgate to Ostend, although questions have been asked about the Kent town’s ability to accommodate it, as well as the company’s fitness for the job.

When I heard about this, the first thing that came to mind was the company that won the contract to supply Kentucky Fried Chicken with, well, chicken – and then utterly failed to provide anything like enough. Its bosses simply had no idea.

But of course, this particular silliness has turned up at a time of multiple Tory government-related sillinesses:

The announcement has been met with widespread scepticism:

Andy McDonald MP described the situation as “Farcical and desperate: No ships, no experience- just the type of company Chris Grayling would choose to keep vital trade channels open.”

And Clare Hepworth OBE pointed out what everybody was thinking – and I have no doubt the pun was intended: “There is something very very fishy about this!”

Yes indeed, as Conservative councillor for Ramsgate, Paul Messenger, pointed out, it seems clear the government has not carried out due diligence – sufficient checks to ensure that Seaborne can do the job.

Perhaps this is the reason:

https://twitter.com/THEmrschomsky/status/1079650878825644032

If Seaborne really is owned by the brother of a huge donor to the Conservative party, it would be serious corruption.

The contract is one of three agreements worth a total of £107.7m signed by the government without a tendering process to help ease “severe congestion” at Dover by securing extra lorry capacity.

DFDS of Denmark is getting £42.3m and the French firm Brittany Ferries is getting £46.6m.

Oh, and while the Department for Transport says the tender was “competitive and open to a wide range of operators”, the Official Journal of the European Union, which logs government procurement contracts, says the awards were made after a “negotiated procedure without a call for competition”.

So there wasn’t even any competition for the contract – Mr Grayling just handed £13.8 million of our cash to a family of Tory donors for a job they can’t do.

Faced with this blatant government corruption, some have resorted to humour…

https://twitter.com/Pur16Martin/status/1080108453098676224

But the fact remains that the Conservatives – who insist that there is no money available to provide essential services for the well-being of the general public – are giving away millions of pounds to their friends for services they are unlikely to provide.

It’s blatant corruption. And I’m wondering why it’s happening now. Are the Tories rewarding their buddies now, because they expect a major defeat soon?

Note: Since writing this article I have been contacted by colleagues who believe there is no connection between Seaborne’s owners and Tory donors. That may be so, but the questions remain: Why did the Conservatives award a huge shipping contract to a firm that shows no ability to do the job? And why did they do this without any attempt at finding the best operator for the job?

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