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Second P&O ferry the Pride of Kent detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency after failing safety inspection

A second P&O ferry has been detained after failing a safety inspection.

The Pride of Kent was boarded by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) officials in Dover today.

The Pride of Kent has been detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency
The Pride of Kent has been detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “Our surveyors are in the process of detaining the Pride of Kent. We are awaiting confirmation of all the detainable items.”

The Pride of Kent was launched in 1991 as the European Highway, serving P&Os' Dover to Zeebrugge route. She joined the company's fleet of cross-channel passenger ferries in 2003.

Her detention comes after P&O's The European Causeway vessel was held in the Northern Ireland port of Larne on Friday due to “failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training”, the MCA said.

Last week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he would not compromise the safety of P&O vessels and insisted that the company would not be able to rush training for inexperienced people.

Tonight, he tweeted to reiterate his pledge to ensure the seaworthiness of the company's fleet.

On March 17, the company sacked almost 800 seafarers via a Zoom call and plans to replace them with agency staff on cheaper salaries.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), which represented many of those staff fired without notice last week, said their replacements were being paid well below the minimum wage in the UK.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch, commenting on what he described as shocking exploitation, added: “These ships of shame must not be allowed to sail.

"The government has to step in now and take control before it’s too late.”

The MCA said the problems had to be fixed before the European Causeway would be allowed to sail.

“The vessel will remain under detention until all these issues are resolved by P&O Ferries. Only then will it be reinspected.”

There were no passengers or freight on board the European Causeway vessel when it was detained.

Today, it emerged all ferry operators sailing from UK ports could be forced to pay at least the minimum wage in a bid to get P&O to u-turn on its mass sacking.

A P&O Ferries spokesman said: "Two of our ships remain berthed in their current ports following inspections by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and we continue to work closely with all relevant authorities to return both of them to service.

“It is clear that - following interventions by ministers and MPs - the MCA inspections have reached an unprecedented level of rigour, and we have been told that our ships will also now be required to pass further inspections by the flag state and classification society respectively.”

“We welcome this additional scrutiny and would reiterate that the safety of our passengers and crew is our foremost priority. Any suggestion that it is being compromised in any way is categorically false and we look forward to all of our ships welcoming tourist passengers and freight customers again as soon as all mandatory safety tests have been passed.”

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