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Displaying items by tag: P&O Ferries

In the UK, the head of the Trades Union Congress has written to the Insolvency Service calling for it to disqualify the directors of P&O Ferries after they sacked nearly 800 crew without notice.

In a letter seen by The Guardian, Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s general secretary, said the Insolvency Service should “initiate disqualification proceedings against the directors of P&O Ferries Division Holdings Limited”.

The Insolvency Service last month confirmed it had “initiated both formal criminal and civil investigations” into the circumstances of the redundancies, after making inquiries at the request of the government.

P&O Ferries caused outrage when it fired 786 workers with immediate effect on 17 March, despite no notice or consultation with unions, as required under company law. The company, which is owned by Dubai-based DP World, instead said it would replace those workers with lower-paid agency staff.

A week later, Peter Hebblethwaite, the chief executive of P&O Ferries, admitted to astonished MPs that its directors “chose not to” consult workers despite acknowledging there was “absolutely no doubt we were required to consult with the unions”.

His testimony prompted MPs to ask whether he was a “shameless criminal”, but he insisted he would “make this decision again”

The Guardian has more on the story.  

Published in Ferry

At the Port of Dover a second P&O ferry has passed its safety inspection, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has said.

The Pride of Kent can now join the Spirit of Britain, which the MCA cleared to sail on 23 April, after it was detained for two weeks.

Safety fears were raised after P&O replaced nearly 800 seafarers with cheaper agency staff in March.

P&O tweeted on Monday evening that it would be running a one ship schedule until 12 May.

A spokesperson for the MCA said: "The Pride of Kent has been released from detention and can commence operations when P&O Ferries are ready."

They added no further inspections of P&O ferries are planned at the moment, but will be carried out at the request of the company.

BBC News has more here. 

Published in Ferry

Operator P&O Ferries will restart its Dover-Calais sailings for tourists for the first time since sacking nearly 800 seafarers.

The ferry firm said its ship Spirit of Britain will leave Dover for Calais at 4.05pm on Tuesday (yesterday, May 3).

It comes after it resumed freight-only sailings on the key route between the UK and France on April 26.

Spirit of Britain is the only ship the company can currently use for its cross-Channel operations.

It was cleared to sail on April 22 after being detained 11 days earlier, when 23 failures were found by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspectors.

More from the Irish Examiner on the story. 

Published in Ferry
Tagged under

The operator P&O Ferries has announced it is preparing to restart sailings “from this weekend” on routes suspended since it sacked nearly 800 seafarers.

As Independent.ie writes, the firm revealed plans to resume operations for four of its ships.

It has been prevented from running all but one of its vessels since it announced widespread redundancies on March 17.

It has already resumed Dublin to Liverpool sailings.

The company sparked outrage by replacing its crews with cheaper agency workers, without notice.

A spokesman for the firm said: “From this weekend, P&O Ferries are getting ready to resume services across a number of vital routes.

“P&O has been working closely with regulators to ensure our ships are safe to sail.

“P&O is looking forward to welcoming back vital services and we expect to have two of our vessels ready to sail on the Dover/Calais route by next week, subject to regulatory sign-off, namely both the Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain between Dover/Calais.

More from the newspaper in addition BBC News coverage on the Strait of Dover service as the ferries will need to pass inspections by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) before services can resume.

Published in Ferry

Ferry company Stena Line has been forced to suspend sailings between Rosslare and Fishguard until 12 April, to plug gap left by P&O Ferries between Larne and Cairnryan.

As ITV news reports, P&O’s two ships – the European Causeway and the European Highlander – haven’t sailed on the route since the company sacked all 800 staff on St Patrick’s Day.

It caused a freight backlog on a key route used to bring goods into Northern Ireland.

As a result, Stena Line moved the Stena Nordica onto the route as an extra freight ship from its (temporary) Dublin to Holyhead service.

It was replaced on that route by the Stena Europe – which had been sailing between Rosslare-Fishguard.

Afloat.ie adds Stena Europe has since last month, operated as second ship on the Dublin-Holyhead route along with Stena Adventurer. This led to the route's other routine ferry, Stena Estrid to transfer to the Rosslare-Cherbourg route

While the Ireland-France route ferry Stena Horizon dry-docks at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, as alluded in the ITV coverage which has more. 

Published in Stena Line

Operator P&O Ferries faces a probe, reports BBC News, into the controversial no-notice sackings of nearly 800 members of staff.

The Insolvency Service has launched criminal and civil investigations into the circumstances around the redundancies.

In a letter, it said it would consider "prompt and appropriate action" if the law was broken.

Grant Shapps has also asked the service to consider disqualifying its boss from acting as a company director.

The transport secretary made the announcement as part of new pay plans for the ferry industry this week after P&O Ferries sacked 786 employees without notice and replaced with them with agency workers.

P&O Ferries said on Friday that all but one of the sacked employees had taken steps to accept the redundancy offer made by the company. One former P&O worker, John Lansdown, told the BBC he did not respond to the company's offer.

The company declined to comment on the Insolvency Service's investigation when approached by BBC News.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng tweeted that he and Mr Shapps would follow the new investigations into P&O Ferries closely as they develop.

Click here for much more. 

Published in Ferry

The ports industry in the UK has described as “unworkable” ministers’ plans to ask port operators to block ferries with crews paid less than the minimum wage, the government’s signature policy response to outrage over the sacking of 800 workers without consultation by P&O Ferries.

The transport minister, Grant Shapps, told parliament on Wednesday that the government would write to the operators of British ports telling them to refuse access to companies that did not pay the UK minimum rate, in a move explicitly addressed at P&O.

He also outlined plans to create “minimum wage corridors” on ferry routes between the UK and Denmark, France, Germany and Ireland.

However, the ports industry immediately said it would be unable to carry out Shapps’s policy.

Richard Ballantyne, the chief executive of the British Ports Association, said: “While it’s right the government and the ferry industry look to improve employment rules and standards, the expectation that port authorities will need to enforce minimum wage rules in the shipping sector could be unworkable. This will place ports in a difficult legal predicament, especially before any legislation is in place.

The RMT union, which represents ship workers, said it was “too little, too late”, and questioned whether the move would do anything to force P&O Ferries to reinstate the workers, many of whom are thought to have been paid more than the UK minimum wage before they were sacked.

More from The Guardian on the BPA's response to the UK government's proposal. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

The brand P&O Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation & PLC, is faced with a growing tirade of abuse as the British public mistakes it for P&O Ferries which Afloat adds is owned by DP World based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

As ITV News reports, the Southampton based cruise company has been forced to clarify its relationship with P&O Ferries which as Afloat previously reported fired 800 seafarers on Thursday.

On its website and social media channels the company said: "P&O Cruises is part of Carnival Corporation & PLC and as such is entirely unrelated to P&O Ferries."

"Our thoughts go out to all those affected by yesterday’s news. However, please be assured it’s business as usual on our cruises and our crew look forward to welcoming you on board soon."

It was originally a subsidiary of the shipping company P&O and was founded during a restructuring of P&O's operations in 1977.

P&O Cruises was divested from P&O in 2000, becoming a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises. In 2003 the company merged with Carnival Corporation. 

More on the story here and Afloat's coverage of Iona, their biggest cruiseship built for the UK market which entered service almost a year ago. 

Published in Cruise Liners

Operator, P&O Ferries has paused its services "in preparation for a company announcement" later on Thursday.

The ferry operator said it was not going into liquidation but all ferries had been instructed to stay in port.

Union RMT urged the firm to protect jobs amid speculation that hundreds of crewmembers could "be sacked and replaced with foreign labour".

Some sailings scheduled for today have been cancelled, with passengers told to use other companies.

P&O services scheduled today include 14 between Dover and Calais, three between Liverpool and Dublin and seven between Larne in County Antrim and Cairnryan in Dumfries and Galloway.

BBC News has further coverage of this ferry development. 

Published in Ferry
Tagged under

P&O Ferries restored a fifth ship service on the Dover-Calais route, with the recent arrival of Pride of Burgundy at the Port of Dover, this follows new competition from Irish Ferries which last week launched UK-France sailings.

As MultiModal reports, the return of P&O's 28,000-ton Pride of Burgundy, with its first sailing in over a year, brings additional capacity to carry 120 lorries in freight-only mode, making two return journeys each day. The addition of a fifth ship comes in response to growing demand from British and European customers and will expand options for those requiring rapid and reliable transportation of goods between pivotal markets.

First announced in April, the Pride of Burgundy’s return, follows P&O Ferries’ ground-breaking space sharing agreement (with operator DFDS) on the Dover-Calais route, and the introduction of a second lift-on lift-off (LOLO) ship to double capacity between Hull-Zeebrugge.

Peter Hebblethwaite, Managing Director of P&O Ferries, said: “I am delighted to see the restoration of our Dover-Calais fleet to its pre-pandemic strength of five, with the resulting increase in departures and frequency enabling us to take back market leadership on the English Channel and further improve our customer service. Pride of Burgundy will reinforce our cost-effective freight service by increasing capacity and flexibility on the route – a vital artery of trade upon which thousands of businesses and consumers rely.

“With the support of our parent company, DP World, the world’s leading provider of smart logistics solutions, we are committed to bolstering our offering to customers and ensuring optimal efficiency in the flow of goods between the UK and Europe. With international trade at the heart of economic recovery, continual investment in our Dover-Calais route will encourage supply chain resilience by connecting people, businesses and nations.”

Published in Ferry
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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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