Which services have been canceled and what are your rights?

French strike action meant some Dover-Calais services were down (Getty Images)

French strike action meant some Dover-Calais services were down (Getty Images)

Some ferry services to and from France are suspended today due to industrial action.

The port of Dover is still open, but ferries to and from Calais have been cancelled. Eurostar also canceled dozens of trains as a result of the strikes.

A port of Dover statement advises, “Please plan ahead, allow extra time for your journey, and follow traffic management systems in place to minimize delays.”

“We apologize that our flights today were affected by the national action in France,” P&O said.

The ferry operator also shared on Twitter: “Due to the lack of details, we cannot predict the level of disruption this will cause to our optimized schedule and our wider operations are likely to be impacted throughout the day.”

DFDS tweeted: “The port of Calais will be closed due to industrial action on Thursday, Jan 19, 8:00 – 17:00 (CET), with all affected customers, DFDS will contact alternative travel arrangements via our Dover-Dunkirk route.”

Read on to find out which ferry services have been cancelled, why the strikes happened, and what passenger rights are.

Which ferry services to France have been cancelled?

P&O ferry services between Dover and Calais were canceled on Thursday morning, January 19, and all routes in both directions were affected.

After previously posting a reduced schedule, P&O tweeted at 10:00 am: “We regret to inform you that flights are currently suspended due to the National Day of Action in France.”

On Thursday afternoon, P&O’s social media account posted an update. “Our maiden voyage from Calais is 17.00 CET and we hope to set sail from Dover this afternoon at 14.00 UK time. As soon as we have more information, we will update/confirm the hours this time.”

Canceled Irish Ferries routes include three departures from Dover to Calais at 06.55, 09.30 and 11.45. Meanwhile, all of the Calais – Dover routes previously scheduled to depart at 08.05, 10.20, 12.55 and 15.10 have also been cancelled.

As all ferries from Dover to Dunkirk are still operating normally; DFDS customers whose route Dover – Calais has been cancelled will be contacted and offered alternative routes to Dunkirk instead.

A DFDS spokesperson said Independent: “The strike in Calais means we are not shipping freight to and from Calais today. Instead, freight customers are diverted to our Dunkirk-Dover route upon arrival in Calais. Passengers will be rebooked through customer service.

“DFDS has added additional round trips to Dunkirk to ensure the best possible service.”

Why is there a French national strike?

A 24-hour general strike in France is a common industrial action involving train drivers, electrical engineers and teachers.

French workers are protesting proposed changes to pension rules that could raise the nominal retirement age from 62 to 64.

What are the passenger rights on canceled ships?

According to the Travel Association Abta: “When your ferry operator cancels your service, they must offer an alternative or refund option.”

Additionally, as summarized by Gov.uk: “If your ferry trip is delayed or canceled and you cannot be rerouted to your destination, you should be entitled to an overnight stay.”

P&O’s terms and conditions state that passengers whose ferry is canceled may be eligible for a refund, and the operator says they will be refunded “if we are unable to ship you with us at all or arrange for a suitable alternative ferry service”.

Irish Ferries’ terms and conditions are as follows: “If a canceled or delayed flight causes a passenger to miss a connecting transport service, the carrier will use reasonable efforts to notify the affected passenger of alternative connections.”

DFDS stated that “all customers affected by DFDS will be contacted with alternative travel arrangements via our Dover-Dunkirk route.”

Passengers will need to contact their own ferry company or booking agent for further clarification.

Independent Contacted P&O, Irish Ferries and DFDS for comment.

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