Refineries disrupted, tankers stuck in France strike

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Most of France's refineries were disrupted and 56 tankers stuck waiting off Marseille Tuesday as petrol and port workers held an open-ended strike against pensions reform, companies and unions said.

At least 10 of mainland France's 12 refineries were affected, including all six run by the biggest French oil company Total, but a company spokesman said there was so far no risk of fuel shortages for truckers and motorists.

Four of the refineries affected are situated near Berre in southeastern France, where activity has been disrupted for the past two weeks due to an ongoing strike at oil terminals at the port of Marseille.

Port authority GPMM said 56 petrol tankers and 29 cargo ships were stuck waiting outside the ports as the strike, first launched in protest at reform of the port sector, spread on Tuesday to affect all port activities.

The strike at the oil terminals had already caused diesel supplies to run out on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

A Total spokesman said the company had taken the necessary measures and that for the moment the strike had had "no visible effect on supplies" on the mainland and that refinery workers were not blockading fuel depots.

© 2010 AFP

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