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Stranded passengers given camp beds at the Harbour

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FIFTY passengers slept on camp beds at the Harbour on Friday after being stranded in Jersey following the cancellation of a ferry service and a flight.

Elizabeth Terminal cafe restaurant. The boarded up restaurant where no work is currently going on. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (22259447)

At the end of one of the busiest weeks of the summer season, and with almost every hotel bed in the Island booked, 500 ferry passengers faced disruption after the early evening crossing to Poole was cancelled due to strong winds and rough seas.

A further 149 air passengers were also stuck in the Island following the cancellation of the easyJet service to Gatwick due to a technical issue with the aircraft.

Many passengers found their own accommodation, but dozens of others were found hotel rooms by staff from Ports of Jersey, Condor and Airport ground agents Swissport.

But beds could not be found for 50 air and sea passengers, and so they were all moved to a single location in the Elizabeth Terminal, which was kept open all night.

The affected travellers were given camp beds and blankets, and catering supplier Casual Dining Group provided free light snacks and refreshments during the night and breakfast the following day.

Duty executive for Ports of Jersey Les Smallwood, who oversaw the operation along with senior members of the customer services team, said: ‘Living on an island we are used to travel disruption with tried and tested processes in place to deal with such situations.

‘It was extremely unfortunate that on one of the busiest nights of the year we faced travel disruption at both at the Airport and Harbour. However, considering the volume of passengers affected, the teams at both ports worked tirelessly to assist them with what resources were available at the time.’

He added: ‘Although overnight accommodation was found for 160 of the 210 passengers who required it, we had no option but to implement our emergency plan to assist those 50 passengers who were still affected.

‘Although disappointed and frustrated, the majority of passengers were understanding of the situation and appreciated the efforts being made on their behalf. It was a very challenging evening for us, especially in light of the busy time of year, but despite this I appreciate the great efforts put in by our own Ports of Jersey team together with those partner agencies that worked with us to assist these displaced passengers.’

Richard Heath

By Richard Heath
author

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