A LARGE group of illegal migrants tried to force their way onto P&O and Myferry ferries bound for Dover yesterday.
More than 100 people broke through port fences and tried to storm one ferry but the staff foiled the attack by raising the ramp before they could enter the ship. Other migrants were forced back by ferry staff who turned a fire hose on them.
Police stopped a second attempt by a larger group of up to 250 of migrants trying to get into the port. Another P&O ferry, Spirit of Britain, which was about to dock, waited in the inner harbour before docking.
Ferry companies asked the local prefect and chamber of commerce to provide extra help, in light of the problem, which has been worsening.
The mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, says her city has been “taken hostage” by more than 1,000 migrants who currently live in illegal camps in Calais.
She has called for the British authorities to control the migrants trying to get into the UK and earlier this week she threatened to close the port unless action is taken.
The UN’s human rights council has reported increasing numbers of migrants camping in Calais with the aim of entering the UK.
The agency says that most of them are from Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and Syria. Most of them depend on charities for food.
A spokesman for P&O said that the migrants had been trying to board ferries throughout the busy summer months.
"They have tried, often successfully, to gain access to freight vehicles and have also been targeting caravans and motorhomes.
“We have asked the French authorities to do more to prevent such interference."
The authorities have responded to the ferry companies’ call for more protection by sending an additional 34 officers to help guard the port.