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Livestock traders in move to resume Dover sailings

[ March 20, 2013   //   ]

The Port of Dover says it has been asked for terminal facilities by Barco de Vapor, operators of the controversial livestock ferry, the Joline. The Joline, small ex-Russian river ferry, has been operating sporadic sailings from Ramsgate, in the teeth of opposition from Thanet Council, owners and operators of the port, which has  taken legal action to have the trade stopped.

In a statement, Dover said: “The High Court has made it crystal clear that ports, and DHB in particular, must facilitate this legal trade but DHB will be rigorous in demanding through the relevant authorities that all aspects of animal health and welfare agreed with those authorities whilst in the Port are fully complied with and that the vessel meets all mandatory and operational requirements.”

The Joline operation out of Ramsgate, now the sole livestock carrying service from the UK to the Continent, has been heavily criticised for its poor animal welfare standards and lack of reliaility. However, mainstream ferry companies now refuse to touch the live animal trade, and the sailings of the Joline have increasingly become a cloak-and-dagger affair as the operators run the gauntlet of protests by well-organised animal right protesters.

DHB added that it would work closely with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and its regulating agency, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, throughout this process.

As is normal for all new vehicle ferries, required DHB has asked Barco d Vapor to bring its vessel for an initial trial to ensure that the moorings and vehicle loading bridge connections are fit for purpose prior to commencing any ferry operation. The ship will be subject to stringent operational rules and a full evaluation of the berthing trial will be carried out before any final decision is made.

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