Port of Calais Strike Ends, Border Security Prioritized

Calais Ferry

Published Jun 24, 2015 9:12 AM by The Maritime Executive

French ferry workers at the Port of Calais have ended their strike against English Channel operator, MyFerryLink and operations at the port have resumed.

Traffic through the Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France has also started flowing normally, a spokesman for operator Eurotunnel said on Wednesday.

"Traffic is totally normal in both directions since last night at 1830 (French time)," he said.

Traffic was suspended on Tuesday after striking ferry workers accessed the terminal on the French side and set fire to tires to protest against the restructuring of Eurotunnel's maritime business MyFerryLink.

Shipping had been halted early on Tuesday and both Eurotunnel and Eurostar later suspended their services because of the disruption, creating kilometers-long tailbacks.

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday his government was considering reinforcing Britain's border with France around the port of Calais after what he said were unacceptable scenes of chaos involving migrants trying to reach his country.

Television footage on Tuesday showed large crowds of migrants trying to board queuing trucks after traffic was halted through the Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France due to disruption by striking French ferry workers.

"We have been looking at whether we can put more personnel and indeed sniffer dog teams on that side of the channel to make a difference," Cameron told parliament.

"There is also more work being done in terms of installing fencing not just around the port at Calais but also around the Eurostar and Eurotunnel entrance," he said.

The mayor of Calais has criticized the British government for not doing enough to fund security in the port, saying Britain needs to overhaul its generous welfare system and improve identity controls she says make it a magnet for illegal immigrants.

Cameron said Britain had already invested 12 million pounds ($19 million) on bolstering the border and was happy to do more if needed. There was no point in either country "trying to point the finger of blame at each other", he said, saying it was more important to maintain a strong partnership.