Home   Dover   News   Article

P&O Ferries getting ready to sail from next week, after making 800 staff redundant

P&O Ferries hopes to start sailing from Dover by next week.

The firm wants two vessels to begin crossings but this is subject to passing safety inspections.

Three P&O ferries moored at Dover. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Three P&O ferries moored at Dover. Picture: Barry Goodwin

The company's ships have been out of action for three weeks - since March 17 - when nearly 800 seafarers were sacked with no warning or consultation.

The firm said it had no choice but to lay off staff and replace them with cheaper agency workers in order to save it from going under in a move that has been condemned by the government, trade unions and public.

Rival firms DFDS and Irish Ferries have been picking up extra capacity over the last few weeks, but there have been delays at the port resulting in traffic chaos in the county over the last six days.

This has been caused by a combination of factors including Operation Brock, Dover TAP, road closures, the Easter holidays and a shortage of ships.

Now, P&O has revealed its plan for its ships to start moving from next week, including the Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain from Dover.

A spokesman for P&O Ferries 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.

There has been chaos on the roads and leading to the port since last Friday. Picture: Stuart Brock
There has been chaos on the roads and leading to the port since last Friday. Picture: Stuart Brock

"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 signoff, namely both the Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain between Dover-Calais.

"P&O are also expecting to be able to sail both the European Causeway which runs between Larne and Cairnryan; and the Pride of Hull, which runs services between Hull and Rotterdam."

The spokesman said refunds are still being arranged for passengers who have had to cancel trips.

They added: "For those customers still affected by wider disruption, we are providing refunds to all passengers booked to travel with us to whom we have not been able to provide alternative services.

"Customers can contact our customer service team by email or phone for a refund.

"Anyone who has had their trip disrupted with P&O will also receive a free trip to be used on a future journey with us, that can be taken later in the year.

"We thank our customers for their patience during this time and we apologise to those customers whose journeys have been cancelled and disrupted."

The Pride of Kent was previously detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) after failing safety inspections.

Its plans to start sailing again hinge on further inspections from the agency.

A spokesman for the MCA said today: “There are no further inspections of P&O Ferries at the moment and we will reinspect at the appropriate time.”

There were widespread protests and calls to boycott P&O following the shock move to fire nearly 800 staff last month, some over a pre recorded Zoom call.

Redundancy packages have now been agreed by most former colleagues.

However, chef John Lansdown refused to sign and is now taking legal action against the firm for unfair dismissal.

Mr Lansdown told KentOnline today: "The actions of P&O Ferries have upended the lives of 800 loyal and dedicated seafarers and their families.

"Their grotesque disregard for due process in this country will set a dangerous precedent if allowed to stand.

"The tribunal claim I have filed is intended to bring Peter Hebblethwaite and those responsible at P&O Ferries to justice."

P&O CEO Mr Hebblethwaite previously admitted breaking the law with the mass firing.

Last week, the Insolvency Service revealed formal civil and criminal investigations have been launched.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More