Belfast Telegraph

Larne trucker's fears after migrants stormed Calais ferry

By Nevin Farrell

A lorry driver from Northern Ireland has spoken of being caught up in chaotic scenes in Calais as migrants seeking to get to the UK stormed a ferry.

Stephen Millar from Larne watched on in horror on Saturday as the port was closed after 50 migrants boarded the vessel.

He said drivers' lives were being put at risk.

"I parked in the shipping lane. I heard lots of chanting and shouting to my right," he told the BBC.

"There were hundreds of migrants running towards me. I looked to my left. The security people in high-vis clothing were waving at me to get away, and they proceeded to run away."

The French port was closed on Saturday and services were disrupted overnight into Sunday as a result of the incident, which happened during a protest in support of the migrants.

Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, called on the French authorities to back "decisive action" and deploy soldiers at the port.

He said the incident was the latest in a string of recent incursions in Calais, warning it was "only a matter of time before our worst fears become a reality and a UK-bound truck driver is killed".

Last summer Mr Millar spoke of how he had to barricade himself in his vehicle during long delays in Calais due to the migrant crisis.

He said at the time: "You just think, is it really worth it? My friends ask why you put yourself through that.

"It's a shame, I like the job and like travelling, but every time you leave France to get back to the UK it is really nasty.

"We have to be really careful all around Europe."

France outlined its commitment to maintaining law and order after the migrants forced their way onto the ferry.

Security forces were drafted in after 350 of them blocked the port and some boarded P&O's Spirit Of Britain passenger ship.

Pictures posted on social media showed hundreds of people running towards the port and water cannon reportedly being used to get migrants to disembark.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 26 migrants and nine activists were arrested, and 15 taken into custody.

Trouble flared after hundreds of people marched towards the port from the 'Jungle' site, where some 4,000 migrants and refugees are camped.

Mr Cazeneuve said mobile forces, supported by territorial units and border police, had been mobilised for several months to help secure the Calais camp.

Belfast Telegraph


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