Farmers Ferry not ready

21 August 1998

Farmers Ferry not ready

RUMOURS that Farmers Ferry is ready to transport its first cargo of live sheep to France have been dismissed as speculation by company officials.

Some media reports last week stated that Farmers Ferry bosses had scheduled a launch date of Aug 23, for their maiden voyage. But a company spokesman denied that a date had been set.

The Farmers Ferry will not sail this season unless company bosses can get their hands on a ship, but suitable vessels are few and far between. Farmers Ferry officials have been locked in negotiations for weeks to buy Brindie, an export company which currently holds the charter on the Cap Afrique, a roll-on roll-off ferry with room for about 10,000 sheep.

"Until they sign on the dotted line, theres no way I can say when the launch date will be," said spokesman Rhodri Kendall.

The buy-out talks are thought to be in their final stages. Farmers Ferry has already agreed to retain all Brindies staff and facilities but a price has yet to be decided. Farmers Ferry has now written to dairy farmers requesting donations so that the company can afford to subsidise shipments of live calves once the beef export ban is lifted.

The Cap Afrique sailed to France from Dover last Friday (Aug 14). About 40 protesters demonstrated outside the port against the sailing, which delivered nine lorries of sheep and two lorries of pigs to Dunkirk. More demonstrations will follow, protesters said.

Richard Hardy, spokesman for Compassion in World Farming, said that although the number of protesters was fewer than expected, further demonstrations were planned.

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