Freight News, Road

‘End Calais chaos or someone will get killed’

[ November 13, 2015   //   ]

Violence by migrants against truck drivers in Calais is increasing and measures currently being taken to protect them are not enough, warns the Road haulage Association. Security on the ground at the port has been stepped up but this has made migrants increasingly frustrated in their efforts to gain access to UK-bound trucks.

The French Police themselves have also come under attack – recently Calais police said officers monitoring the 6,000-strong camp near the Port were pelted with rocks as migrants repeatedly tried to block roads to the main ferry terminal.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said the situation was like a war zone with at least 26 officers injured 250 French riot police were sent to the area on Sunday and Monday nights.  Rocks were thrown at police, who used tear gas to break up the gangs.
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said the situation had become absolutely untenable. “We are now getting reports of extreme violent migrant activity on a daily basis.”

FTA’s deputy chief Executive James Hookham described the situation as “utterly unacceptable. Calais is back in crisis and truck operators and their drivers are again in the firing line – sometimes literally. The reported actions of migrants has crossed a line. Whatever your views on the plight of migrants and asylum seekers no-one has a right to threaten, intimidate or physically attack drivers and other innocent bystanders.
“FTA expects and demands safe passage for truck drivers and other port users going about their lawful business. This must be the primary concern of French and British governments before someone gets seriously injured, or even killed.”
On the night of Tuesday 10 November, two Broughton Transport Solutions drivers were attacked by missiles thrown by immigrants. They also tried to open the doors of a female driver’s vehicle “ and when they didn’t succeed they attacked the vehicle leaving her very shaken. This situation is completely unacceptable.”

Burnett added: “We as hauliers need someone we can go to, in order to sort this situation. I am on the verge of pulling out of European haulage, my family have been operating abroad for the last 30+ years but now I feel the time has come where I cannot continue to put my drivers at risk, I have no doubt that soon someone will get killed.  Calais is a lawless place; the police in Calais were just watching immigrants attack vehicles last night.”

Richard Burnett said this was just one of many examples we “of a situation that is spiralling out of control.”

He argues that it is the port approach roads that need increased security. Recently an RHA observer spoke to drivers who have witnessed migrants standing on the road bridges, throwing rocks at truck windscreens, forcing them to stop.

“This situation must be resolved now – waiting until someone gets killed is simply not an option,” said Burnett.

Blair Transport driver Euan Fleming, said truckerss had been attacked with crow bars and threatened with being shot if they used their horns to draw attention to migrants breaking into trucks.
Euan Fleming said: “Your heart is in your mouth when you drive through Calais, but we have no choice than to travel through the port and I absolutely dread being here.  It is common place to see gangs of migrants armed with weapons, they have attacked my own truck using Stanley knives to cut holes into the roof to get into the trailer.”
FTA has written to the Mayor of Calais, the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister calling for action on the worsening situation for its members at the port.

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