The French fishermen's blokade of northern French ports was beginning to hit hard at France's international trade by Monday (18 August) as well as stranding thousands of cross-channel ferry passenger.
AV Fecamp docks blockaded with trawlers
AV Honfleur docks also blockaded
AV Deauville harbour blockaded
GV Tourist cars and campers jammed on docks waiting fro ferry (3 shots)
GV Man and boy playing cards while waiting
GV Woman tourist eating
GV Family eating beside car
GV Entrance to rest room
GV Red Cross tent, people in doorway
SV PULL BACK TO GV "Free Enterprise Two" ferry moored at Cherbourg
GV Pieces of metal and chains thrown earlier at ferry, while docking
GV PAN Fishing boats moored with steel hawsers stretched between them
CU Fishing boat with hawser floated by buoys (2 shots)
SV Small yacht flying tricolour trying to leave harbour PAN TO fishing boats blocking path, forcing it back (2 shots)
LV "Viking Valiant" ferry
GV Fishing boats blocking ferry's entrance
GV Free Enterprises ferry
GV Crowds on quayside watching manoeuvres (2 shots)
GV French naval vessels standing by, and ferry manoeuvring (2 shots)
HANRAHAN: "The tourists have settled into an anxious encampment, stretching more than a mile from the dock gates down into the centre of Cherbourg. With a three-day backlog there'd still be plenty of time to pass, even if things got back to normal at once. But there's little sign of that happening. Most of the estimated eight thousand people are settling down to making the best of it."
"Out of the chaos has grown a certain organisation. The plumbers are making sure the overloaded toilets keep going."
"A group of doctors, stranded with the rest are running a makeshift surgery, in tents put up by the Red Cross."
"The `Free Enterprises', the Town send Thorensen ferry, berthed in Cherbourg harbour, still bears the scars of her blockade-busting yesterday."
"The fishermen pelted the ship with a fearsome array of missiles, in their attempt to stop her docking, chains, iron tubes, spanners and ball bearings among them."
"A few yards away, other fishing boats, a steel hawser stretched between them, nets and chains dangling beneath the surface, threatening to foul propellers. Until the ferry pushed the last barrier aside, the owners had been negotiating with the fishermen, hoping they'd lift the blockade, at least temporarily."
"The French are feeling the blokade too. A small yacht, flying the tricolour, tried to slip out of the harbour. It was pounced on by three fishing boats who circled it, dangerously close, until it turned back. The fishermen are in no mood to spare anyone in their fight against redundancies."
"At the end of the afternoon, the "Viking Valiant" crept into view, around the fortress on the harbour's outer wall.
"The fishing boats deployed to meet her. For several hours they played cat and mouse as each side tried to lure the other out of position.
"All the time the Free Enterprise waited, ready to take advantage of any mistake.
"The manoeuvring, like an old style naval battle, was watched by thousands of holiday makers along the harbour wall.
"Several French naval vessels also stood by, but did nothing. And as the evening slipped away, nor did anyone else. The two ferries are still a mile apart, separated by the fishing fleet. This is Brian Hanrahan in Cherbourg."
REPORTER: BRIAN HANRAHAN
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The French fishermen's blokade of northern French ports was beginning to hit hard at France's international trade by Monday (18 August) as well as stranding thousands of cross-channel ferry passenger. The commercially-operated fishing boats first began the blockade to protest against their employers' plans to reduce manning levels. They were quickly joined by thousands of small fishermen who say they are being driven out of business by the soaring price of diesel oil. Talks were due to begin on Tuesday (19 August) in an attempt to end the dispute.
SYNOPSIS: More than fifteen ports including fishing ports like Fecamp are under siege, and stranded tourists are overflowing the area. The hovercraft operating from only two locations are booked ahead for the next three days and many travellers are diverting to Belgium. The BBC's Brian Harahan reports on the situation in Cherbourg.