Cruise liners could boycott Brexit Britain in case tough new immigration rules are slapped on cruise passengers, an industry chief warned.
A delegation of shipping bosses intends to press Theresa May to ease fears of “strait-jacket” restrictions on migration as the United Kingdom quits the EU.
Industry tycoons and foreign-based billionaires are expected to highlight the potential impact on the cruise shipping sector of leaving the bloc at the meeting with the PM in No 10 on Monday, September 11, the start of London International Shipping Week.
Maritime UK boss David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK, raised fears of delays for cruise passengers due to miles of queues at Channel ports, and a damaging hit to economy unless protections for British shipping are secured.
Image: Port of Dover
Each cruise passenger who arrives in the UK spends about EUR 60 on a trip, denying the economy GBP 180,000 each time a vessel fails to dock in Britain.
Foot passengers aboard cross-Channel ferries could expect lengthy checks unless the UK agrees to “exchange of customer data – vital details about people” with EU.
Mr Dingle added that passengers who use their cars to and from the continent could also be subject to extra checks under Brexit. He also warned of huge queues at ferry ports in case Customs officials are forced to check all lorries that travel between the UK and the continent.
“We would be nervous about any immigration policy which prevents us from allowing to bring into this country people who are from other parts of the world, who are important to the growth and success of our industry, which in turn means greater opportunity, greater success, greater economic wellbeing to the people of this country.”
Mr Dingle believed that deadlocked Brexit negotiations were overshadowed by point-scoring and accused the UK and EU of “remarkable lack of mutual understanding”.
He claimed that Brussels “finds it hard to disentangle the practical issues from the emotional issues”.