• France's news in English

Protesting French ferry workers ransack boat

The Local · 7 Sep 2015, 12:03

Published: 07 Sep 2015 12:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Sep 2015 12:03 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Striking French ferry workers who caused travel chaos in Calais trashed one of the two ships they occupied for two months, drank its bars dry, slashed hundreds of seats with box-cutters, and stole televisions and fridges, the ships' owner, Eurotunnel, has said.

The damage was revealed by experts sent in last week to inspect the MyFerryLink boats as Eurotunnel prepares to hand them over to DFDS ferry operator after a deal reached  to resolve the industrial dispute.

"Somebody systematically slashed every single seat, bench and armchair in the cafés, bars and public areas,” Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe told The Daily Telegraph.

The seats are believed to cost between €300 and €500 each, and the total amount of damage done to the ships could be more than two million euros.

“They trashed the bars, smashed the cash registers and helped themselves to fridges, televisions and sound equipment,” said Mr Keefe.

It will cost several hundred thousand euros to replace or repair the emergency evacuation chutes and the lifeboats of both the Rodin and the Berlioz ferries that were deployed by the workers during the dispute.

Around 25 workers from the Syndicat Maritime Nord (SMN) union occupied each of the two ships moored in Calais docks since early July in a protest over the potential loss of 600 jobs caused by the sale of MyFerryLink to Denmark's DFDS.

The strikers also blocked roads leading to the port, burning tyres on motorways, and brought trains using the cross-Channel tunnel to a halt when they invaded the nearby Eurotunnel terminal.

No-one was immediately available at the SMN union to comment on the accusations by Eurotunnel when contacted by The Local. But its leader, Eric Vercoutre, told local media late last week that he disapproved of the “unfortunate” slashing of the seats on the Rodin.

He also said he was proud of the “admirable combat” of the ferry workers.

Under a deal struck last Monday to resolve the dispute, 402 French ferry workers workers will be kept on.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available