Brittany Ferries ‘boarding party’ reclaims ship after blockade

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jpns-19-08-17 retro Aug 2017

Victory - Passengers line the rails of Viking Victory

THIS WEEK IN 1980: Ferry passengers insist compensation

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ANGRY shareholders stormed a Portsmouth-Caen ferry after it was blocked off by striking dock workers.

The ‘raid’ on Brittany Ferries’ Mont St Michel came after the dockers prevented the ship from leaving the French port.

As passengers boarded for the overnight sailing, workers used trailers to block access to the port and prevent the ship’s ramp from being closed.

A team of around 20 shareholders, led by company CEO, Jean-Marc Roue, took matters into their own hands and regained control of the ferry in an operation carried out early Sunday morning.

They then sailed the ship to Roscoff, in north-west France, where the company’s headquarters are located. Brittany said that the ship had been returned to the Portsmouth-Caen route and that passengers affected by the blockade had been given alternative transport to the UK.

The workers want wage increases of up to five per cent.

Brittany Ferries said the dockers’ blockade amounted to blackmail.

But the dockers union has called for an immediate investigation into the raid and says questions regarding safety and how the group of farmers were allowed to enter restricted areas of the harbour need to be answered.

Mont St Michel carries 2,200 passengers and has enough room for over 800 cars.

Brittany Ferries was founded by farmers looking to export their vegetables from Brittany to the UK 42 years ago.

The company is still predominantly owned by the same farming interests and farmers today.