Coastguard inspect P&O’s Spirit of Britain in Dover

The Coastguard has confirmed they are carrying out a safety inspection on one of P&O’s suspended vessels.

Inspectors boarded the ship, currently moored in the port of Dover, at the request of the ferry company to see if it can be cleared to sail.

P&O ships near the Port of Dover. Photo: Barry Goodwin

Safety inspections are needed after P&O laid off nearly 800 of its workforce on March 17 in a shock move without consultation or prior warning.

He replaced experienced sailors with temporary staff, paid at a lower salary.

The company said it had no choice but to lay off staff and replace them in order to prevent it from sinking into a decision that has been condemned by the government, unions and the public.

No P&O ship has left Dover since the mass shooting, which sparked protests and calls for a boycott of the company.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has already carried out an inspection of the Pride of Kent, which also sails the Dover-Calais route, which failed.

The ship remains in detention.

Protesters in Dover the day after P&O Ferries laid off hundreds of staff
Protesters in Dover the day after P&O Ferries laid off hundreds of staff

Today the agency says it is currently carrying out an inspection of the Spirit of Britain.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesperson said: “An inspection is underway at the request of P&O Ferries on the Spirit of Britain.

“All inspections must satisfy the Maritime and Coastguard Agency that the ferries meet the requirements of the port state control regime and are safe to put to sea.

“There are no further P&O Ferries inspections at this time, but we will re-inspect when the time is right.”

The Pride of Hull, which connects Hull to Rotterdam, and European Causeway, Larne to Cairnryan, have been inspected and cleared to sail.

Four other ferries still need to be inspected, while the Pride of Kent will need to be re-inspected before it can sail.

It comes as P&O Ferries said it hoped to resume services from Dover this week.

In a statement released last Wednesday, company bosses said it would prepare to “resume services on a number of vital routes”.

But yesterday the company confirmed that trips on one of its ships to France had been canceled until Good Friday.

Formal criminal and civil investigations have been launched following the mass dismissal, with the Insolvency Service examining the actions of the ferry company and whether it broke the law.

The suspended services have had a knock-on effect on Kent’s roads, with delays at the port leading to the implementation of Operation Brock and other road closures.