4 Sep 2014

Migrants try to storm Calais ferry heading to UK

Scores of immigrants attempt to storm a ferry at the port in Calais, amid calls to tighten up security across the Channel.

Video emerged of the moment when almost a hundred migrants breached security at the French port and tried to get on to the Berlioz ferry operated by MyFerryLink, who confirmed the incident took place.

Lorry driver Mark Salt, an onlooker who shot the footage while waiting to board the 5.15pm ferry, told Channel 4 News that between 85 and 100 people were unable to board the vessel.

Mr Salt said: “I heard a cacophony of trucks blowing their horns, and then I saw police following.

“As soon as (authorities) realised they had breached a secure area, they held the bolts off and were not allowed on to the ramps.

“All the vehicles had to be checked again … it was an absolute nightmare.”

He added that “UK Border Force, P&O staff and police in marked vehicles then tried to corral and herd the guys”.

Migrants attempt to storm Calais ferry

A spokesman for ferry operator P&O, whose vessel Spirit Of Britain was not stormed, said: “We approached the port and witnessed all the migrants.

“Our crew remained just in the inner harbour and didn’t tie up until we were able to do so.”

A UK Border Force spokesperson said: “Security at the UK border is our priority, and we continue to strengthen it to stop those who have no right to enter the UK.

“We have already made improvements to security at Calais, working with the French authorities. We have, for instance, upgraded vehicle scanning equipment with the latest technology to detect people hiding in lorries and tankers and have increased the number of body detection dogs stationed at Calais. We will continue to bolster security, and the Home Secretary met the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve last week to discuss this important work.

The ramps to the ferries were said to have been immediately raised and subsequently none of them were able to board, according to the spokesperson.

She added: “The incident was quickly brought under control and the French police apprehended all those involved. All freight vehicles inside the port at the time have been rescreened by Border Force.”


It is estimated that there are over 1,000 illegal migrants in the French town who are attempting to travel to Britain, according to the mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart, who has asked for the UK’s help in controlling the scores of migrants in her city.

In a series of tweets she urged the English authorities to take a greater interest in what was happening in Calais.

Ms Bouchart has called for a “strong message” from Britain to deal with the issues faced in Calais.