French fishermen paralyse cross-Channel traffic

21st May 2008, Comments 0 comments

Hundreds of passengers are left stranded as fisherman blocked entry to major Channel ports, preventing ferries from leaving or entering.

21 May 2008

BOULOGNE - Protesting French fishermen paralysed cross-Channel traffic on Wednesday, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded as they stepped up a national strike over soaring fuel costs.

Fishermen set up cordons of boats blocking entry to the major Channel ports of Boulogne and Calais, preventing ferries from leaving or entering.

Ferry operator SeaFrance said it had three ferries waiting to leave Calais and two in the British port of Dover, which was closed to ferry traffic as a result of the French blockade.

In the Brittany port of Saint-Malo they also blocked a 200-passenger Brittany Ferries service from sailing to Portsmouth in England, the company said.

Ferry operators P and O and SeaFrance said they had suspended all Dover-Calais service while SpeedFerries was unable to operate the Dover-Boulogne route.

"We're at a standstill here and there have been no sailings since 6 am," said a Dover Harbour Board spokesman.

British police said they were facing a tailback of trucks on the main motorway linking Dover to London.

Eurotunnel trains were running as normal, and the company said it had stepped up crossings to try to accommodate passengers re-routed towards the Channel tunnel.

Hundreds of fishermen clashed with police in Paris Wednesday as their representatives met with the government to demand compensation for high fuel costs.

[AFP / Expatica]

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