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Displaying items by tag: P&O Ferries

The UK Government says it has cancelled a contract with P&O Ferries "with immediate effect" in its latest action against the DP World-owned company following its decision to axe hundreds of staff earlier this year.

The Home Office said it was ending its agreement with the firm to provide contingency travel services to "juxtaposed ports" where British staff operate border controls in Belgium and France to check passengers and freight destined for Britain.

It comes after P&O Ferries, whose ships sail across the English Channel, North Sea and Irish Sea, laid off nearly 800 workers in March and then went on to hire cheaper agency staff.

The move sparked criticism from trade unions and politicians alike.

RTE News has more on the development. 

Published in Ferry

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
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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
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