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France's biggest port shut down by sailors

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France's biggest port shut down by sailors

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France’s busiest port Marseille is blocked by hundreds of sailors. Around 40 ships are stuck unable to take cargo out; many others cannot come in to drop off freight. The blockade started on Monday night after the government announced the state-owned ferry company SNCM which sails to North Africa and Corsica from Marseille would be sold off.

Hundreds of job losses are expected. The company has been losing money for years and has a record of tense industrial relations. One passenger ship was able to set sail for Corsica during the night after police broke up a protest around the vessel. However the striking sailors say they are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep the company in state hands. One said it was a battle to save their jobs and they would sink the ships if they had to. Around 20 percent of the jobs at the company are threatened as the government looks to the private sector to turn around the ferry company which is 200 million euros in debt.