Portuguese truckers harassed by migrants desperate to reach UK
Portuguese truckers are strictly prohibited from overnighting anywhere near ports in France serving the English Channel. The reason: somehow or other migrants find their way into trucks, desperate to make the crossing into UK. Says truckers union ANTRAM, the situation is costing trucking companies dearly as every time migrants are found, cargoes are confiscated, and if they have reached UK, trucking bosses are fined.
Highlighting the dilemma today, TSF radio carried the story of Paulo Fonseca who was travelling through France in his van.
“When I reached the shop where I was delivering you cannot imagine my surprise on open the sealed back, showing no sign of having been tampered with, to find six people smiling at me shyly, and saying “sorry” in French”, he told the station.
As it was, Fonseca was not travelling to UK. Police also were not in the least bit interested in following up on his stowaways, as “situations like this happen all the time”.
Said a source for ANTRAM, every week there is at least one incident of migrant stowaways.
Transport union ANTP told TSF of “many cases”, all of them with very serious consequences:
“We have members who have lost entire cargoes for the simple fact of having one or two migrants hidden.
“We have had vehicles apprehended, drivers jailed and immense expenses to sort everything out”, said ANTP president Márcio Lopes.
Thus the order now for drivers to park “a long way from the Channel” if they are planning to sleep the night in their cabs.