Published: 08:00, 04 September 2014 |
Updated: 16:09, 04 September 2014
Around 100 illegal immigrants have tried to force their way onto a ferry to Dover after storming the port of Calais.
The asylum seekers charged onto the ramp of the P&O vessel yesterday afternoon after climbing over fences and overpowering security staff.
But the captain closed the doors and the group was escorted away by French police armed with sub-machine guns.
Crew on a MyFerryLink vessel also used hoses to repel immigrants who ran up the ramp.
And a second attempt by about 150 more migrants, who also gained entrances to the port, was foiled when they were detained by officials.
Shocked witnesses told how the migrants shouted at passengers queuing for ferries as they were led away by officials.
The Dover-bound Spirit of Britain ferry was delayed by about 45 minutes while a search was carried out.
P&O Ferries confirmed there had been a "huge intrusion" at the port at about 3.45pm - after a previous attempt by 30 immigrants the previous evening.
Video: The moment scores of illegal immigrants tried to storm a P&O ferry. Warning - contains some explicit language
Spokesman Chris Laming said: "One of our captains on the Spirit of Britain witnessed about 100 migrants running towards the ferry.
"The police were very quickly on the scene and they rounded up these people.
"They escorted them to the exit of the port with no violence or confrontation at all - it was almost like a publicity stunt, really."
He added: "It's very concerning. We've written to the port authorities expressing our concern and urging them to redouble their efforts to improve security at the port and there was evidence last night that that had been done.
"We are concerned for our staff. Our number one priority is the safe operation of our ships.
"We've issued instructions that we should not involve ourselves in any kind of confrontation.
"The captains will take a very cautious approach to any further incursion of that type - we don't want that kind of confrontation on our ships and we'll do our best to avoid it."
The intruders were among around 1,300 illegal immigrants staying in makeshift camps in Calais and making regular attempts to reach Britain.
Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart has called for Britain to do more to help control the migrants.
Yesterday, it was revealed she threatened to block the port, which would cause huge disruption to cross-Channel sailings.
Were you on the P&O ferry involved or did you see what happened? Phone the newsroom on 01634 227989 or email email@example.com.
Stories you might have missed
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating!
PLUS, register for free!.
Read our pick of the best holiday destinations. Whether its a weekend break, or something a little bit longer, we have reviewed a wide range of holidays.