Ferry sailings between Calais and Dover were brought to a halt today for the second time in a week by industrial action by the crews of struggling French operator MyFerryLink.
A spokeswoman at the port of Calais told IHS Maritime this evening that the port had been obliged to halt all ferry services because berths at the port were being occupied by the seafarers.
She added that negotiations were in progress with the seafarers but that she was unable to say when sailings might resume.
A source close to MyFerryLink told IHS Maritime that the crews, who are supplied to MyFerryLink by employees cooperative SCOP SeaFrance, had begun industrial action after the court of commerce in Boulogne sur Mer refused the cooperative’s application for a stay of execution of the cancellation of its contract with MyFerryLink.
Eurotunnel, which owns MyFerryLink’s three vessels and markets its services via an affiliate, announced recently that it would not be renewing its contract with SCOP Seafrance which is due to expire on Thursday.
In the meantime, the Channel tunnel operator has agreed to charter its two car ferries, the Berlioz and the Rodin to Danish operator, DFDS, while keeping the freight ferry, Nord-Pas de Calais, for its own use.
DFDS has indicated that it is ready to take on 202 SCOP SeaFrance seafarers, while Eurotunnel has said that it can provide employment for 120 others.
Directors of the cooperative have rejected these proposals, however, warning that they will not accept the cession of the two car ferries to DFDS and saying that they want jobs for all 600 cooperative members.