Letter: If ferry companies are going to accept subsidies they should have turned away non-essential travellers

This letter writer believes that the ferry companies should have been asking the reason why passengers booked to travel with them, as well as what tier they were travelling from

mini campervan with holiday bags by Nubia Navarro

OnTheWight always welcomes a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below.

This from a reader known to OnTheWight who wishes to remain anonymous. Ed

Your findings and ongoing investigation into Ferry lockdown funding, led me to consider the ferry companies refusal to monitor passengers’ reasons for travel.

It seems the policy was that it is the responsibility of individuals to observe Covid travel rules and ferries stated that they were not able to interfere with this. 

Surely a violation of the Covid rules?
I suggest that permitting tourists and other non-essential visitors to travel across the Solent without question is complicit in the violation of the Covid rules.

When cars with 4 or 5 people, sometimes with children, were queuing to board it must have been clear they were not travelling for work or medical reasons.

It is in the powers of any company to refuse custom providing it is not discriminatory (The Equalities Act, 2010). There is no obligation to accept custom.

Must have contributed to rising numbers
The ferry companies refusal to even ask travellers their reason for travel clearly contributed to the substantial rise in cases on the Island at the time we were in Tier 1 and Portsmouth and Southampton were not.

I do not have evidence of the contribution this made but considering the number of tourists and second home owners that appeared as soon as the Tier system began, the detrimental impact could not have been negligible.

My point here is that if they are receiving public monies they should bear a degree of public responsibility and have turned away non-essential travellers then and continue to do so now.

Image: Nubia Navarro under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 8th January, 2021 10:32am


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2oba

Filed under: Ferry, Letter to the Editor, Top story

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6 Comments on "Letter: If ferry companies are going to accept subsidies they should have turned away non-essential travellers"

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Considering Cummings and Seely both violated Covid-19 restrictions, it’s unsurprising that the Tory profiteers didn’t bother protecting the Island by ensuring ferry companies restrict passage to essential transport only. It’s noteworthy that NorthLink Ferries (www.northlinkferries.co.uk) servicing Orkney & Shetland refuse all non-essential travel. This Tory county council, our MP Bob Seely and central government’s actions indicate they are either not interested in protecting citizens from Covid-19 or… Read more »
Whilst I agree with the sentiment expressed concerning the complete failure of Isle of Wight ferry companies to operate in line with the legal restrictions on movement of people imposed on the grounds of public safety, the political point scoring and bile expressed herein, merely serves to ‘switch off’ reasoned debate and discussion. The government of the day are guilty of choosing to ask people and businesses… Read more »

These companies are not in the least bit interested in the safety of the island community, they are only interested in making as much money as possible; and given the opportunity of a massive taxpayer payday, whilst also making stacks of money from passengers on the back of Stewart, Seely, Myles, and Metcalfe promoting the island as a holiday location, they they say, thank you very much.

Rhos yr Alarch

Allocating the Island to Tier 1 in December on the basis of our being an island, but with unrealistic rules about travel between tiers, and lack of enforcement of what rules there were, was a recipe of disaster, of epic proportions. We cannot now avert the calamity ahead, only limit the extent of it, by meticulous observance of the lockdown…


By not asking why they were going to the island, anyone who gets ill from mainlanders or worse then the ferries should be accountable anyone who dies is manslaughter, knowing it’s possible that someone on the ship may have COVID-19 and they have not questioned why they were travelling showed they are in for the money and hold no respect for the safety of the islanders


Bob and Dave actively encouraged tourists to the Island with cries of ‘were open for business’. Now were the ‘Covid Isle’. Not many will visit again for a long time! John kept quiet!!