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Eurotunnel Suspends Services Amid Chaotic Strikes And Fire

There has been further chaos on channel tunnel services today, as the Eurotunnel was blocked causing services to be suspended for what is expected to last another week. 

100 ferry workers are on strike for the second time this week, blocking traffic between England and France by climbing onto the tracks in Calais.

A fire was reported earlier on Tuesday as demonstrators set fire to the tracks.

Telegraph.co.uk reports:

 

The port workers are striking for a second week over expected job cuts, causing disruption to Eurostar passengers and those using the “Le Shuttle” self-drive service.

Eurostar, Eurotunnel’s biggest customer, carries about 10 million passengers over the Channel every year.

The suspension will compound further problems for travellers to France, with Calais shut for ferry services and a two-day nationwide strike by air traffic controllers expected to take place from Thursday.

The port of Calais is currently shut as the result of industrial action by MyFerryLink staff, who are walking out over the sale of ships to DFDS Seaways before the company ceases operations at midnight on Wednesday.

The closure means that no services are currently departing from the northern French port, from where MyFerryLink, DFDS Seaways and P&O Ferries cross-Channel services normally leave for Dover.

It is not clear how long the industrial action – the second walkout leading to the closure of Calais port in a week – would last.

A MyFerryLink spokesperson confirmed that customers with existing bookings would receive a full refund or a transferral to a Eurotunnel crossing, subject to availability, by calling 0844 2482 100.

DFDS Seaways said that all Dover-Calais-Dover services were suspended and passengers are being transferred to Dunkirk instead, approximately an hour’s drive away.

A spokesperson said that services to and from Dunkirk were running an hour behind schedule, and could not confirm that passengers would be able to rebook or obtain a refund instead of the re-routed service.

P&O Ferries released a statement blaming Eurotunnel for provoking the strikes through the sale of MyFerryLink vessels.

Helen Deeble, chief executive of P&O Ferries, said: “Through no fault of their own, our passengers are caught in the middle of an industrial relations battle that has been caused by Eurotunnel, who sold their ships to a rival ferry company without securing the jobs of the workers involved.”

She said that this had left “thousands of holidaymakers stranded without adequate facilities”, although commended her employees’ efforts to keep them supplied with food and water.

A P&O Ferries spokesperson said that passengers whose journeys had been cancelled would be able to obtain a refund or change of booking.

A spokesperson for the Port of Dover confirmed that serviced to Dunkirk were still running, but no ferries were leaving for or arriving from Calais.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely in liaison with our ferry partners and the Port of Calais in order to resume normal operations as soon as possible,” he said.

The ports of Dover and Calais advised customers to contact their chosen ferry operator before travelling and check websites ( and Twitter (@for the latest travel information.

The Foreign Office said that it was “working with the French to minimise the impact on the travelling public” and advised travellers to plan journeys to avoid disruption by consulting its interactive map of alternative cross-Channel routes.

Britanny Ferries confirmed its services were running normally as it does not operate from Calais.

Travellers also face further disruption later this week due to a planned strike by French air traffic control (ATC) workers.

Although negotiations have led to strikes today and tomorrow being called off, two unions representing more than half of air-traffic controllers (ATCs) in France still plan to strike on Thursday and Friday this week.

Ryanair called on the French Government and the EU Commission to take steps to keep the skies over France open next week by allowing other EU ATCs to operate French overflights. It said it was not yet certain of the level of disruption that may occur but would update customers accordingly. “In the event we are forced to reschedule or cancel flights, we will update this notice accordingly”, it said in a message on its website.

Kenny Jacobs, the low-cost airline’s chief marketing officer, said: “This is the second time in two months that French ATC unions will deliberately close the skies over Europe and disrupt the travel plans of millions of consumers. The timing of these strikes is designed to cause maximum disruption to consumers because there’s little or no capacity in the system to allow customers to rebook or reschedule cancelled holidays.”