Despite a police search that said he was fine to travel on, no marina will let him in, telling him the same lie that they have no space, despite saying they had when contacted before arriving. He was not allowed into Chatham lock and is refusing to move. He said the actions of these people was "inhuman and stupid". It is not what he expects from fellow seafarers. "This is an unbelievable way to treat a mariner" he said.
Chatham "sorry, we're full" Marina
Hoo Marina ("Assuring you a warm and friendly welcome")
tel: 01634 250311
fax: 01634 251761
173 PIER ROAD
Phone: 01634 280022
Fax: 01634 280164
Chatham Maritime Marina,
The Lock Building,
Tel: (01634) 899200
Fax: (01634) 899201
Contact Name: Charlotte Walker
Position: Marina Manager
Medway Ports Authority
Tel: 01634 814936
Hoo Marina's Harbour Master Peter Cordray was utterly and coldly unrepentent. I reminded him that the craft had been searched by the police between Queenborough and Hoo and they gave it the all clear, and protested that any sailor (especially one in his late 60s who had spent 4 weeks sailing from Penzance to Medway) deserved full basic rights like other sailors regardless of any flags/politics etc. I also told him he'd had a great reception wherever he had berthed along the south coast and into London. He kept saying "you're repeating yourself".
When pushed on why he had been initially offered a berth and then, on arrival told the marina "was full", Cordray eventually said bluntly "I don't want political protestors in my marina".
Gillingham Marina similarly refused "Be Disarming" a haven, although I haven't yet got through to them.
At Chatham Marina it was pretty much the same story. More confusion here, as Peter was first offered a berth and then refused. He was then told that the peace flag "was offensive".
Chatham Marina charged him £19 to come ashore through the security gates and use the toilets. Be Disarming is still moored on the waiting pontoon outside the lock gates of Chatham Marina.
I phoned and got through to a man (I didn't get his name) who wouldn't be drawn on the subject and told me to ring on a weekday. When i demanded that he should be let in like any other paying sailor, he said that wouldn't be happening and kept fudging it when i kept asking why? He eventually put the phone down on me. NIce customer service.
This reminds me of school in the 1970s when the head of Fifth Form decided on a blanket ban on CND badges, Rock Against Racism badges because they were "political", while proudly wearing his military tie and tie-pin day in day out.
Two last thoughts:
1. Does this depressingly confirm the image of sailing as being an utterly Conservative/Torygraph activity?
2. Will these Marinas refuse berths to the 80 motor boats that will be protesting tomorrow on the Medway against the rise in price of Red Diesel? I think not. That's the Right sort of protest, I guess.
more people to phone now!