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Calais ferry blockade ends as P&O and Seaways passengers count cost of bank holiday channel chaos

Published 31/08/2015

A lifeboat involved in a blockade at the Port of Calais, as cross-channel ferry services have reopened following a fresh blockade at the port which disrupted the bank holiday journeys of thousands of passengers. Photo from the Twitter feed of @JamesGritt
A lifeboat involved in a blockade at the Port of Calais, as cross-channel ferry services have reopened following a fresh blockade at the port which disrupted the bank holiday journeys of thousands of passengers. Photo from the Twitter feed of @JamesGritt
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Home Secretary Theresa May talk to the media at the Port of Calais before signing a new deal between France and Britain which will help tackle the migrant crisis.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve (left) and Home Secretary Theresa May at the Port of Calais where they will sign a new deal between France and Britain which will help tackle the migrant crisis.
Stranded ferry passengers in Calais, as cross-channel ferry services have reopened following a fresh blockade at the Port of Calais which disrupted the bank holiday journeys of thousands of passengers. Jason Jarvis/PA Wire

Cross-channel ferry services have reopened following a fresh blockade at the Port of Calais which disrupted the bank holiday journeys of thousands of passengers.

Ferry service operators P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways both said services have resumed, however some are still subject to delays.

Passengers at the ports of both Dover and Calais were left stranded for hours on Sunday when movements at the French port were suspended because of the protests.

The industrial action was carried out by disgruntled former staff of the now dissolved MyFerryLink, who used lifeboats to block ships from docking.

Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart said she regretted that the port had been taken "hostage".

In the early hours of Monday morning DFDS Seaways tweeted: "Calais port has now reopened, normal service has resumed. All services are operating to the advertised scheduled with space available."

P&O Ferries added: "Calais port has now re-opened for shipping movements. The Port of Dover is now open again - our services are subject to delays."

Nicholas Bernier, a passenger on a ferry heading to France, earlier told the BBC the service he was travelling on last night was stuck about two miles from Calais.

He said: "I'm roughly about two miles from the Port of Calais. We've got about three ferries standing still in front of us and what we were told is that the port is blocked by two lifeboats."

Richard Hill, in Calais, said his ferry was unable to leave the port.

"Authorities are saying to the captain that they cannot sail past the lifeboats. We are stuck on the ferry along with 2,000 others, luckily we have a seat. The seating is very limited now and people are starting to get weary."

The workers were reportedly protesting over 600 potential job losses caused by the sale of a ferry service between Dover and Calais - MyFerryLink.

Former employees at MyFerryLink have also orchestrated wildcat strikes before this summer, causing delays and cancellations for British holidaymakers looking to cross the Channel.

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, is due to visit the port today, on what is already one of the busiest days of the year because of the British bank holiday.

The strike action has also coincided with the growing migrant crisis in Calais, which has caused travel chaos all summer.

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