Angry passengers, demanding compensation, refused to leave the cross-Channel ferry Viking Victory when she berthed in Portsmouth after more than 50 hours at sea.
Some of the 475 passengers blocked the ship’s roll-on roll-off entrance and threatened to deflate tyres to prevent their cars being moved.
Townsend Thoresen’s duty manager, Steve Pink, told passengers the company wanted to turn the ferry around as soon as possible to pick up holidaymakers still stranded in Cherbourg because of French fishermen blockading 15 ports protesting about the lack of government subsidies.
To howls of ridicule he said: ‘If you refuse to leave the ship you will have on your consciences a whole ship-load of stranded passengers.’
Peter Watsham, the passengers’ spokesman, said those leaving the ship wanted written guarantees they would get full compensation – ‘that is the money back for the cost of their ticket, for reservations in hotels and for insurance.’
After a two hour stalemate, the passengers’ representatives came ashore to the main ferry terminal to negotiate.