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Abandon Ship! Captain Rick’s Ramsgate Ferry Is Sinking (again)

Leader of Thanet Council Rick Everitt

It’s often said that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but Labour Council Leader “Raging” Rick Everitt thinks he knows better.

In a breathtaking example of reckless stupidity he has decided to waste almost £10 million of public cash on the loss making, money guzzling, Port of Ramsgate in the hope that it will attract a cross channel freight operator to ply its trade from a port which has been proven over a decade to have no sustainable future as a commercial freight or passenger facility.

Everitt knows better than any other serving councillor the appalling financial history of Ramsgate Port. In fact he played a direct and damaging role in making it.

It was Everitt who was complicit in covering up, till I exposed it, the three year secret TransEuropa Ferries subsidy which kept afloat an otherwise bankrupt ferry operator at a cost to council taxpayers of £3.5million

It was Everitt, when he was a councillor, and later a cabinet member and council leader who, between 2011-15 and 2019-23, oversaw £8 million of capital investment in the port which failed miserably to attract any new users. And it was Everitt who oversaw, and failed to stop, the decade long, year on year, operational losses at the port which are now close to £30million and growing by the day.

Now, to the shock of the good people of Ramsgate Captain Rick is back at the helm again and it looks as though the history he has failed to learn from is set to repeat itself. And from a financial point of view, that history is alarming.

Over the past 13 years the cost to taxpayers for keeping the Port of Ramsgate open includes £3.5 million for the secret TransEuropa Ferries subsidy, almost £30million in operational losses, and about £8million in capital spending. This adds up to a staggering £41.5million, or the equivalent of £61,390 per week, every week for 13 years.

Per head of Thanet’s population the losses at Ramsgate Port which were directly caused the by the poor policy choices of piratical Captain Rick and his crewmates, including former council leaders Bayford, Ashbee, Wells, Hart and Johnson, have cost every woman, man and child in the district a staggering £294.

In any other walk of life, Everitt would have been sacked for pushing the organisation he leads towards a huge financial disaster. As would the handpicked members of his cabinet, who spinelessly approve, rather than challenge, Everitt’s fantasy land policy of continuing to find a freight operator for Ramsgate Port. A policy which after 13 years of trying and £41million losses, has failed miserably to succeed.

Why one of the authors of that failure is being allowed to have another go at rescuing the port, by flushing £10million of tax payers money down the stinking khazi of recklessness and stupidity in the forlorn hope of attracting an cross channel ferry operator, is beyond comprehension.

Only at Thanet council does it appear that incompetents, bullies, and other random undesirables are allowed to flourish and be handsomely rewarded for their failures and bad behviour. And, if Everitt’s plan goes ahead then I believe that, like it has before, it will fail again, and it won’t be long before £41million losses become £51 or £61 million losses and guess who will be footing the bill for not learning from history - the already hard pressed tax payers of Thanet.

You don’t have to be an economics graduate or a market analysis guru to see that Everitt’s plan to bring back a cross channel ferry to Ramsgate will not succeed.

A decade of real life experience shows that the only “cross channel operators” to have expressed an interest in using Ramsgate Port have been dreamers, fantasists, con artists and comedians like Seaborne Freight with no ferries or cash, Euro Ferries who promised a superfast catamaran which disappeared somewhere in Greece, Gefco car transporters who came and quickly left, a hippy with a sailboat, a former manager of Ramsgate Port wanting to revive 1980s style booze cruises, with onboard drunken knees ups and karaoke and a ship of death which transported sheep to their brutal and grisly ends in blood soaked European slaughter houses.

If this is the best that ten years of marketing and investment

Famous Pirate Captain Blackbeard

by the council and its political leaders can do, then I for one have no confidence that Everitt’s plan to throw good at bad will work either. And there is abundant evidence to show why not.

Just 20 miles down the coast the Port of Dover has, over the past 6 years, spent about £250million expanding and modernising its infrastructure including its bulk materials, freight, and RoRo capacity. Earlier this year the Board secured another £45million of Government levelling up money to improve transport infrastructure to and from the port, making its operation even more efficient.

Further up the Kent coast Medway and Sheerness ports have invested at least £100 million over the past decade improving infrastructure and expanding their capacity, with further investment planned. Just last year the Port of Tilbury opened its large state of the art extension, Tilbury 2.

It is clear to anyone who cares to look, that Ramsgate Port is surrounded by better, bigger, well resourced, state of the art, ports which are more closely connected to the markets they serve than Ramsgate.

A £10 million investment in Ramsgate Port won’t change this eyewatering competitive imbalance and certainly won’t attract serious freight operators.

The only freight operators it is likely to attract will be the occasional dodgy dealer operating old, badly maintained, tramp ships, belching polluting diesel emissions over Ramsgate and its people.

Or perhaps, as I have suggested before, ship-fulls of waste from London, possibly including toxic waste, destined for recycling and incineration in Kent. Or maybe waste wood to feed the polluting bio-mass plant at Discovery Park.

Either way the port under Everitt’s plans will see the continuation of losses and a huge increase in air pollution. Hardly the green future Everitt deceptively and dishonestly claims it will be!

Look out for more articles from me about the Port and what a green future might look like.

Call out if you have any information you might think is of interest to please let me know. I can be contacted by email or 07866588766. I never, ever ,reveal my sources. 100% confidentiality.



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