Authorities are blaming French officials for the mayhem as British travelers departing on ferries face hours-long waits.
(AP) LONDON — On Friday, hours-long queues for truck drivers and Britons using ferries to vacation destinations were experienced at the port of Dover. Authorities blamed French officials for the disruption, which France rejected.
The English Channel port of Dover reported lengthy waits for border inspections of up to six hours due to a shortage of French border agents, with miles-long lines of tourist and freight traffic (kilometers).
This weekend marks the start of the summer school holidays, and millions of Britons are attempting to start their vacations, but many are encountering delays on the roads, the sea, the rails, and the skies.
The number of French border police “has been insufficient and has fallen far short of what is required to ensure a seamless opening weekend of the high summer getaway period,” according to U.K. port authorities, despite months of preparation between the two countries for peak travel season.
Travelers from the UK must now pass through more rigorous border procedures when entering the continent after Britain left the European Union in 2020. They are carried out by French employees at Dover on the English side of the channel.
CEO of the Port of Dover Doug Bannister announced that the port had declared a “critical situation.”
“This morning’s French border has let us down,” “he stated.
The scenario “should have been avoidable and is intolerable,” according to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
“France must take action to increase capacity at the border to prevent future disruptions for British tourists and to guarantee that this terrible situation does not occur again, “Truss, a candidate to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and the country’s next prime minister, made the statement. “To resolve this issue, we will cooperate with French authorities.
France refuted claims that its border guards lacked readiness. An unanticipated “technical fault” in the Channel Tunnel stopped several Dover border booths from being staffed as scheduled on Friday morning, according to Georges-Francois Leclerc, the senior official for the Hauts-de-France area, who insisted the issue was fixed after around 75 minutes.
More French employees had arrived by Friday afternoon, according to port officials, and “traffic is slowly beginning to move, but it will take some time to clear the bottleneck.”
French border checks at Dover are “working at full capacity,” the French Embassy in London stated on Twitter, adding that French and British officials were “cooperating closely” to get people moving.
Muhammet Turker, a Turkish truck driver, claimed he started waiting in line at Dover on Thursday night and was still standing in line 16 hours later.
He declared, “I’ve been in situations like this before, but this is the worst.
The issues come after days of travel interruptions on Britain’s trains as a result of a heat wave that caused temperatures to break records in the U.K. by reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), collapsing tracks, and igniting fires.
Next week, additional walkouts by rail workers are planned in a dispute over pay and working conditions.
In Britain and other countries, there have been interruptions to air travel as airlines and airports struggle to handle the reintroduction of large-scale travel after the pandemic’s limitations for two years.
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