After nearly seven weeks, P&O Ferries has for the first time resumed service on all its routes between the UK, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Netherlands and France, but the company continues to face challenges after replacing 800 crew members with paid agency workers. One of the company’s ferries failed its third inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency yesterday, while calls for a boycott also continue.
On its website, P&O Ferries warns passengers that it is “still experiencing some disruption”, with the service advising to check for updates on social media. At the same time, the company has also provided a contact for obtaining refunds for canceled departures and for people who do not wish to travel with the company.
From May 3, P&O resumed accepting passengers on its busiest route between Dover and Calais. Last week, the company only started freight service after its ferry The spirit of Brittany authorized an 11-day detention by the MCA. The vessel has accumulated no less than 23 “defects” ranging from documentation and training to more serious problems with fast rescue boats not being properly maintained, inoperative oil filtering equipment, cup doors valves that did not meet requirements and problems with fire dampers.
P&O tweeted a message saying it would be operating a single ship next week on the Channel crossing to France down from its normal service which consists of four ships.
The reduced level of service is partly explained by the fact that a sister ship, the Pride of Kent, failed its third inspection by the MCA and remains in custody. The MCA issued a detention order for the vessel on March 28 and, at the request of P&O, carried out a second inspection on April 13 where deficiencies were again reported. P&O Ferries requested a third inspection, which the ship also failed on May 3.
Under the rules of the Paris MoU, specific details of deficiencies and qualified detention issues are not released until the situation is resolved. However, in previous media interviews, the MCA said inspectors on the Pride of Kent, like other P&O ships that had been detained, had identified issues with crew training and familiarization with the vessel. , documentation and safety with emergency equipment that did not work. properly.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch issued a statement saying: “For the third time in a month, the Cypriot P&O has reported Pride of Kent failed a full safety inspection by MCA. Passengers and carriers should be aware that the P&O fleet is operated by overworked and under-qualified agency crews, with some expected to work up to 17 weeks on the intensive Dover-Calais route.
P&O Ferries has two other vessels which remain decommissioned. The company has not yet requested inspections from the MCA for its ferries on Pride of Canterburywhich is in Dover, and the The spirit of France, which is currently in Rotterdam. No timeline was reported when these two vessels would undergo inspections and could be returned to service.