Passengers have described a ferry crossing through bad weather was like "the boat going through a load of brick walls". About 30 cars were damaged when a ferry made a crossing from Poole to Jersey in force six winds. Cars bumbed into each other in the hold during the sailing yesterday.
Condor Ferries said cars were strapped down but the rough conditions caused them to move. The added the ferry was "operating within safety guidelines" and added no-one was hurt.
A protest will be held in Portsmouth later against working practices at Condor Ferries. The RMT Union says some workers from the Ukraine are paid £2.35 an hour. The union says that amounts to 'poverty wages'. However the ferry firm says it abides by employment law.
"Condor Ferries respects the right of RMT members to protest in a peaceful and nondisruptive manner.
"However, we do not agree with their point of view. Condor Ferries is a diligent and concerned employer and we take care that all our employees are trained to the highest standards, work in safe conditions and receive competitive wages.
"90% of our crew are from the EU and paid accordingly, however a small minority of crew who live aboard our conventional freight ferries are recruited from Ukraine - a highly regarded seafaring nation.
– Condor Ferries spokesperson
The rate of pay referred to only applies to 14 entry level crew members and we are concerned that the situation is being distorted for political reasons.
"The pay, terms and conditions for all employees meet or exceed all the requirements of international employment regulations and worker protection, and many crew members return to work year after year, in preference to other employment opportunities.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council has approved plans for works to repair the harbour wall at Weymouth. Earlier this year regular sailings by Condor Ferries were suspended after the quayside began to collapse.
The ferry firm has welcomed the move to approve the works.
– Captain Fran Collins, Operations Director, Condor Ferries
“Condor Ferries is pleased that Weymouth and Portland Borough Council has decided to approve the plan to go ahead with the works to repair the harbour wall.
“We will continue to liaise closely with the Council to confirm the timescales of the work involved. This is an important step toward the long term aim of developing Weymouth as the gateway to the Channel Islands, with the appropriate modern port facilities.
“It is our long term intention to return to operating regular sailings from Weymouth, once the works to restore the ferry port have been completed.”
Condor Ferries, based in Poole in Dorset is celebrating twenty-five years of sailing to the Channel Islands today. The captain of that first voyage will take part in a special crossing later.
The firm was founded in 1964 and originally carried passengers between France and the Channels Islands. Then in 1987 the company launched the first service linking the Channels Islands and the UK.
Police in Poole are asking for the public's help as they try to find a 39-year-old woman. Sarah Fenton, from Fishpond, Bristol, was last seen by her husband on Sunday as they travelled on a Condor Rapide ferry from Guernsey to Poole.