13th July 1970

Emergency supplies are sea-lifted to Jersey

With the general strike finally resolved, mainland dockers worked through the night to load cargo ships with supplies for Jersey in advance of the start of their own industrial action. With nothing moving through Jersey’s own ports for a week, the island’s food supplies were starting to run out.

As The Mirror reported, “the holiday isle is still desperately short of food – particularly butter, bacon and fresh meat. There are no reserves left.”

Starvation threat

Five ships headed off from three ports – Southampton, Weymouth and Portsmouth – each with 200 tons of refrigerated fresh food onboard. If they hadn’t managed to get them off in time, Jersey might soon have found itself starving, even though its own port was once again open for business.

One other boat, which had been waiting at sea, arrived in St Helier within an hour of the strike coming to an end, but this was not enough to see the state of emergency that had been imposed lifted right away: it would remain in force until sufficient supplies had arrived to feed the whole population. Four other ships were close by, but had been waiting to dock for several days and it wasn’t known whether the food they contained would still be fit for human consumption or require disposal as soon as it was unloaded.

At the same time, the airport was reopening for business and refuse workers were starting to collect rubbish, which had either been taken to the tip by householders or left to build up during the dispute.


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