Second P&O ferry detained after safety inspection following 'jobs massacre'

28 March 2022, 20:48

The Pride of Kent has been detained at Dover
The Pride of Kent has been detained at Dover. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

A second P&O ferry is being detained by authorities after a safety inspection.

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The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it was "in the process of detaining" the Pride of Kent at Dover.

An MCA spokesperson said: "Our surveyors are in the process of detaining the Pride of Kent.

"We are awaiting confirmation of all the detainable items."

It is the second P&O ferry to be detained over safety concerns.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter that further checks would continue and vowed "safety will not be compromised".

"The [MCA] have informed me tonight that they have carried out an inspection on a ship belonging to P&O Ferries," he said.

"As a result, the #PrideOfKent ship has now been detained.

"Safety will not be compromised & further checks will continue."

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The Pride of Kent was launched in 1991, and is currently one of P&O's cross-channel passenger ferries.

It is not known whether any passengers or crew were on board the ship.

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It is the second P&O ferry to be seized, after the European Causeway was held on Friday due to "failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training".

Mr Shapps said the ferry was found to be "unfit to sail".

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Detention of ships is based on concerns over their safety and to prevent them going to sea.

Safety concerns were raised after P&O sacked all 800 of its experienced seafarers and replaced them with new agency staff.

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After the European Causeway was detained on Friday, the RMT encouraged the Government to "seize the entire fleet" of P&O vessels.

"The seizing of the European Causeway by the MCA tonight shows that the gangster capitalist outfit P&O are not fit and proper to run a safe service after the jobs massacre," said general secretary Mike Lynch.

"This mob should be barred, their ships impounded and the sacked crews reinstated to get these crucial ferry routes back running safely."

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Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson also welcomed the impounding of the ferry, saying "no two ships are the same" and so you "cannot just fly a crew in and expect them to be able to sail a ship".

"Every control will be in a different place, but particularly all those health and safety drills that have to be gone through, everything from lifeboat stations to how each item of equipment operates," he said.

"I am absolutely delighted they have (impounded the ship). This isn't vengeance against P&O, it's about passenger safety and the safety of the crew as well.

"It was reckless of the company to think they could not only act in the way in which they did about dismissing staff but they don't seem to have had a plan as to how they were going to take this forward and now it is falling apart on them."

LBC has approached P&O Ferries for a response.