French fishermen blockade ports in protest over rising diesel costs and fishing quotas

A week ago, MBM’s first Cruising Club fleet of the year was tied up safely in St Vaast Harbour in Normandy. Fast-forward to this weekend and a fuel protest by French fishermen has turned this idyllic harbour, and many others like it across northern France, into a floating prison for the many British boats unable to break the blockade and return home.

The protest by French fishermen over soaring diesel costs and EU fishing quotas is already a week old, and union leaders last night rejected a Government offer of fuel aid, and voted instead to continue the blockade for another two days.

The French fishermen are also reported to be coordinating with fishermen from Italy, Portugal and Spain for further action on Wednesday.

One boater, trapped in St Vaast, told the BBC: “We tried to get out of the harbour this morning and there was a barricade across the harbour entrance, and they stopped us getting out, and that led to quite a confrontation and our boat got rammed and damaged

“We had flares – lighted flares – thrown at us, water poured at us, a right ding dong really, and there’s about 30 boats here, all trying to get out and none of us can get out, so we’re all stuck here.”

MBM has also heard from reader Robin Gregg, who has been stuck in Saint-Quay-Portrieux in Brittany since Thursday. He said: “[On Thursday] we prepared the boat for departure, filling water tanks, clearing the decks and securing everything for the passage ahead.

“On the foredeck, while preparing the lines to cast off, I suddenly saw ahead, at the harbour entrance, a string of buoys preventing us from reaching the open sea? we were trapped. Where are the Royal Marines?”