Partly to help get some people trapped in France home and also to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Dunkirk, Dan Snow the BBC presenter has secured the use of five inflatable ribs, each capable of taking 10 people and will be running back and forward between Dover and Calais all day. The round trip is expected to take two hours and all passengers will be asked for a contribution which will be passed onto the charity Help for Heroes.
The main drive behind this was apparently to get some of Snow’s friends back after they got ‘trapped’ due to the volcanic dust cloud issues. However it is also being used to promote the 70th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation. The event is being publicised via twitter at @calaisrescue. All people carried will need their passports and will be collected from Calais rather than Dunkirk, but this is a great example of British ingenuity!
Reports are also coming in of other ‘interesting’ ways in which people have managed to get crossings arranged. A second-hand bike shop in Dunkirk has had a very good few days as Norfolk Line who sail from Dunkirk to Dover (and who I can recommend) have run out of passenger only passages. Enterprising passengers have however managed to get sailings by travelling as cyclists by buying second-hand bikes. Apparently one adult has travelled with a pink childs bike and was still accepted! On landing back in Dover the bikes are disposed of by the traveller – genius!
Watching the Chinese Grand Prix this morning one of the big talking points was how they will get to the next race in Spain. There are 7500 people in the Formula One circus plus seven jumbo jet loads of cargo! And that is without the cargo that goes by sea! Bernie Ecclestone was joking that they could hold the Spanish GP in China, but no one is expecting to leave until the end of the week at the earliest.
The financial impact of the cloud are only just beginning to be properly felt. Lets hope it clears soon.
UPDATE: 2.30pm The Calais rescue has been shut down! No reason has been given yet, but a twitter from the boats indicates they have rescued 25 people – do we think the ferry companies have complained? Or perhaps an insurance issue?