Striking French ferry workers reportedly caused millions of euros worth of damage to one of ships they occupied during a two-month depute.
The workers, who struck a deal last Monday to keep 402 on them in employment, slashed hundreds of seats on the Rodin ferry with Stanley knives, drank the ship’s bars dry during parties held on board and stole televisions and fridges, according to the ship's owner, Eurotunnel.
The “staggering” extent of the damage was revealed to the Telegraph by experts sent in last week to inspect the MyFerryLink ships as Eurotunnel prepares to hand them over to DFDS Seaways.
“Somebody systematically slashed every single seat, bench and armchair in the cafés, bars and public areas,” a Eurotunnel spokesman said.
The seats cost between €300 and €500 each, and the total amount of damage done to the ships could be more than €2 million.
“They trashed the bars, smashed the cash registers and helped themselves to fridges, televisions and sound equipment,” said the spokesman.
Replacing or repairing the emergency evacuation chutes and lifeboats – used by the striking workers to ferry people to the ships for Saturday night parties – on both the Rodin and the Berlioz ferries will cost several hundred thousand euros, he added.
Around 50 workers from the Syndicat Maritime Nord (SMN) union had occupied the two ships moored in Calais docks since the start of July in a protest over the potential loss of 600 job losses caused by the sale of MyFerryLink to DFDS.
The strikers also repeatedly blocked roads leading to the port over the summer, burning tyres on motorways, and on one occasion invaded the nearby Eurotunnel, bringing trains to a halt.
Their latest move left up to 2,000 British holidaymakers and other travellers stranded in Calais on the last weekend of August after the workers used two lifeboats to circle the port exit to prevent vessels entering or leaving the terminal.
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