What to do with a port like Ramsgate? Part one…………………………

Did you know?

Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SECAs) are  sea areas where there are stricter requirements for  bunker fuel compared to other sea areas. SECA is defined in MARPOL Annex VI. The area includes North Sea, Baltic Sea, and within 24 miles of the California coast.[1] Also other areas may be added via protocol defined in Annex VI.

Originally the protocol which initially defined SECA was adopted in 1997 and it was enforced in May 2005. The North Sea was included in SECA in July 2005 and enforced in August 2007.

It is mainly the requirement, the 0.10% sulphur limit within SECAs from January 1st 2015, which has caused concern within the EU to date. A series of studies have recently been performed by various organizations to assess the implications of the new sulphur in fuel standards for the shipping industry and other stakeholders in general and for short sea shipping in particular. The focus on the 0.1% requirement within SECAs is explained by the fact that the only existing SECAs are located within the EU and that short sea shipping accounts for an important share in the transport logistic chain of the countries bordering these areas. It should be noted, though, that existing EU law (Directive 2005/33/EC) already requires ships, with certain exceptions, whilst in EU ports to use fuel with maximum 0.1 %  sulphur while at berth if they do not use shore-side electricity. This requirement has been in force since 1 January 2010.

There are folks out there in ‘portramsgatecuckooland’ who believe that because low sulphur (Gas Oil) is a lot, lot, lot lot dearer than sulphurous intermediate and heavy fuels, the fuel cost savings (not to be sniffed at but minor in the grand scheme of things) provided by Ramsgate’s proximity to mainland Europe, will make it attractive to prospective port operators.

Hmm, allatsea thinks not. What does make Port Ramsgate attractive is the following.

The proximity of the ‘Pete’s Fish Factory’ fish and chip shop to the East Pier. The centralised bus stops midway between the East and West piers. The Nearby ‘Harbour Arms’ pub and ‘Belgian Bar’. The closeness of Manston airport and it’s daily KLM flights out of Blighty to anywhere in the world, but Blighty. The fast train link to Lundunn Tarn on HS1. Waitrose. The charm and quaintness of nearby Canterbury and Greenfields shooting grounds at Sturry. Finally, allatsea is close at hand (as a Westbrook resident) to offer advice, support and guided tours of licensed hostelries though-out Thanet and the surrounds.

Bearing in mind the above, it was a bit of a surprise at the ‘towers’, to find the following story concerning a proposal for the port, in today’s ‘Thanet Extra’

From Kent Online.

A £7million revamp of the Port of Ramsgate to attract business with a new quay is being considered by Thanet District Council.

The authority is exploring a range of options to develop the port to bring in new customers.

A key feature of the plan is a new “alongside” quay that would allow more cruise ships and smaller commercial operators access to the port.

The plans come in the wake of ferry operator Transeuropa going into administration, leaving the council writing off a £3.4m debt, prompting some to express concern over the scheme.

The council said if it goes ahead with the project, it will borrow the £7m to carry out the development and recoup it through berthing fees. In addition to a new quay, the council’s masterplan would also include a hoist capable of lifting boats out of the water for repairs and maintenance.The East Pier would be extended to create a new breakwater to limit the impact of waves on the harbour.

In a cautiously-worded statement, the council said: “An alongside quay would help us diversify our offering, not only to allow smaller cruise ships to berth but crucially different types of cargo. It added the £7m was a “cautious overestimation” of the funds needed.

“The project is included in the budget to ensure sufficient borrowing approvals exist for the scheme, however the business case is far from approved and would certainly not go ahead without further consultation and formal approval.”

However, not everyone is impressed by the idea. Thanet Green councillor Ian Driver (Who he? Ed.) said:

“With a major expansion in freight, cruise and ferry capacity at Dover and competition from the London Gateway mega-cargo port, I can’t see this development ever being able to attract enough customers to pay for itself. Instead, the taxpayers of Thanet will be left picking up the tab of £1.5million per year for the next decade to cover the borrowing costs.”

Hmm, seeing as the councillor cites Kylie Minogue as a great influence and runs a bookshop  for a living I’m not sure his opinion matters a pig’s burp. The thing is though, he may well be right.

About allatsea

Sixty year old master-mariner. Absolutely gorgeous. Well wedged.....when compared to a Nairobi street urchin. Sorted, in that I haven't been in court recently. Hopelessly optimistic, terminally disappointed. Good with cats and other fluffy things. No musical talent. Generous to a fault provided it's someone else's round. Political centreist with far right and left viewpoints. A green activist from the hydrocarbon position with nuclear leanings. Averse to avarice but always happy to receive lottery wins, gifts, windfalls, legacies, prizes and wet sloppy kisses.
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