French fishermen of Friday (22 August) resumed their blockade of the Mediterranean oil port of Fos-Sur-Mer only hours after French naval vessels had dispersed their boats.
GV Fos Harbour France
GV Boat moving past tanker and trawlers in Fos Harbour
TRAVEL SHOT Cars queuing outside ferry port at Zeebrugge, Belgium
GV Travellers occupying themselves during delay (3 shots)
SV People drinking in car PAN TO Car queues
SV INTERIOR Fishermen's meeting in Brittany France (2 shots)
GV Port of Arcachon, France
SV Woman on blockaded yacht talking with fishermen
GV Boats within harbour with mouth blockaded (2 shots)
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Background: French fishermen of Friday (22 August) resumed their blockade of the Mediterranean oil port of Fos-Sur-Mer only hours after French naval vessels had dispersed their boats. Le havre, France's other large oil terminal was still open, but a spokesman for the fishermen on the channel coast said the lifting of the blockade was only temporary. Most other commercial and pleasure ports around France remained blockaded by the country's 25,000 fishermen, who started their action 10 days ago.
SYNOPSIS: Fos-Sur-Mer was only open for a few hours on Friday (22 August) after naval boats freed tankers stranded inside the port by the blockade. It allowed other tankers waiting offshore to enter the harbour and unload their cargo. The blockade was lifted just long enough to allow the tankers to pass the harbour entrances. Several naval ships, anchored in the gulf of Fos after the blockade was resumed, did not intervene with the fishing trawlers as no more tankers were either trapped in the port or blocked offshore.
At Zeebrugge, in Belgium, long queues of cars built up at the harbour entrance. The French fishermen angry about the naval intervention at Fos had stopped hovercraft flights from Calais and Bologne and most other northern ports remained closed. Travellers tried to fill the hours as best as they could, but with extra ferry services laid on delays were rarely longer than two hours. By the end of the day, the fishermen lifted their blockade of the hoverports, and the pressure on Belgian ports subsided.
In Brittany, strike leaders met to discuss the situation. Several efforts to end the dispute have already failed, but further talks were due to be held on Saturday (23 August).
At Arcachon, too, the blockade was total. The French Ship Owners' Association said financial losses caused by the blockade averaged 22.5 million Francs (5.4 Million Dollars) a day.
The fishermen are angry about plans to reduce crew levels on trawlers, and they are demanding cheaper diesel oil to fuel their boats.