Freight News, Sea

Shipping lines fear French ferry chaos

[ May 10, 2017   //   ]

Shipping chiefs are alarmed at French president-elect Macron’s promise to tear up the Treaty of Le Touquet that governs how ferry companies handle immigration to and from the UK.

Responding to reports that ferry companies could be asked to assume responsibility for border controls at ferry ports if the new president- cancels the treaty of Le Touquet, chief executived of the UK Chamber of Shipping Guy Platten, said:

“The Government knows that the policy of treating ferry operators as auxiliary immigration officers does not work.

“Under international rules, agreed by the International Maritime Organisation, it is ports, not ferry operators, who are responsible for ensuring that only passengers with tickets are able to get near a ship. Individuals intent on entering the UK illegally, typically by hiding in the backs of trucks, are required to be screened out by ports. Asking ferry operators to take this role on has untold and complex legal ramifications.”

“But the respective Governments should also consider the economic impact. If ferry operators were required to check every lorry for illegal immigrants before embarkation, then voyage delays will see colossal queues of cars and lorries, particularly around French ferry ports.

“We urge Prime Minister Theresa May to work with us constructively and with an open mind. Meanwhile, President-elect Macron should be under no illusions that the net effect of ending Le Touquet  would be as damaging for the Ports of Calais and Dunkirk as it would be Dover and Portsmouth.”