Cross Channel ferry services disrupted
French fisherman protest
By Press Association on 15 April 2009 in News
Cross-channel ferry services were severely disrupted following industrial action by French fishermen.
Kent Police implemented Operation Stack - its system to ease freight congestion on the M20 - in a bid to tackle growing traffic delays leading to the Port of Dover.
Phase two of Operation Stack was introduced early this evening which closed the M20 motorway coastbound between junctions 8 (Leeds Castle) and 9 (Ashford West) and diverted non-freight traffic onto the A20.
P&O Ferries said one of its freight ships and one of its passenger ferries were anchored outside the harbour at Calais, while a second passenger vessel was on the berth at Calais waiting to load.
It said three further passenger ships and a freight vessel were waiting to load at Dover.
A P&O Ferries spokeswoman said: "At the moment were are unable to operate any services from Dover. We understand Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne are also affected.
"At this stage we do not know when the blockade will be lifted. They have made their point and we would like to see it stopped as soon as possible so we can continue to operate services."
LD lines diverted its 1pm service to Boulogne to Dieppe and subsequently cancelled its 6pm service.
Richard Ashworth, Conservative MEP for Kent, urged French fishermen to halt their demonstration and allow services to resume.
He said: "People across southern England will be thinking 'here we go again'.
"Every time the French blockade a port it makes our lives across South East England miserable - that's why the French do it."
He added: "British fishermen have as much right as French fishermen to complain about the failings of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. We do need to overhaul the CFP and the Common Agricultural Policy, but it is the French government that often acts as a roadblock to reform.
"It is not fair for French fishermen to take out their frustrations on us and turn the M20 into a lorry park.
"It is time the French government put an end to this. Our transport links should never operate at the mercy of French fishermen."
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