The government is considering limiting people arriving into Jersey on the Commodore Clipper to travellers with livestock only, after passengers arriving off the vessel last night expressed frustration that they were not tested upon arrival.
The group of 21 arrived just as the final few from a previous Condor sailing from Poole were being tested.
However, while all those arriving from Poole were swabbed, those arriving on the Clipper from Portsmouth were not.
A “furious” Clipper passenger took to Facebook to vent about the “fiasco”, explaining that the harbour testing facility closed while he was waiting in a queue of cars and that passengers were then told to go home.
Asked for an explanation, a government spokesperson said that those arriving off the Clipper, which carries both freight and passengers, were supposed to be tested the next day at the airport centre rather than the harbour - the same process followed by the 'essential' passengers that used the Clipper before travel restrictions were eased on Friday.
Pictured: The complaint, which was widely circulated on Facebook.
They said that the harbour testing facility’s timetable is based around the passenger-only sailings, and that confusion may have arisen as the arrival of the Portsmouth passengers overlapped with the testing of the final few from Poole.
Following the mix-up, and due to higher numbers of individuals arriving from Portsmouth than initially expected, the government has said it is now considering limiting those arriving on the freight-carrying Clipper to ‘essential’ only.
A spokesperson said: “Last night, a small number of passengers who arrived on the Clipper were advised they must self-isolate before being testing at the Airport drive-through centre today. This was in line with the process for essential travellers and is now under review due to the higher numbers arriving on this service this week.
“We have contacted all Clipper passengers to ensure they have an appointment or are self-isolating for 14 days, and are reviewing the future process with Ports of Jersey and Condor to return the Clipper arrival service to essential travellers only.”
Pictured: A government spokesperson said that Clipper passengers were supposed to be tested at the airport.
If the change is approved, a spokesperson told Express that this would mean travel on the Clipper being limited to those transporting livestock or with another specific requirement for the vessel’s facilities.
All other passengers would be expected to make use of another commercial route.
Contacted for comment, a Condor Ferries spokesperson said: “Condor has complied fully with the guidance from the Government of Jersey and Public Health on arrivals procedures and remains in regular dialogue with the relevant authorities.
“We have accommodated a limited number of essential passengers on Clipper over the past few months in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions. Very strict protocols remain in place on board as passengers are not able to move freely around the ship and are restricted to cabins and seating areas for the duration of their journey.
“Condor’s responsibility is to provide safe passage to and from Jersey and the testing regime in place on arrival in St Helier is rightly a matter for the Government, not for Condor.”
It is unclear whether Condor will be compensated for any resulting loss of custom if the government does decide to impose a limit on the Clipper’s passengers.
Express has asked Condor whether it will be seeking compensation in the event the service returns to ‘essential travellers’ only, and is awaiting a reply.
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