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P&O resumes passenger crossings between Dover and Calais, but Pride of Kent fails another inspection

P&O has resumed crossings for passengers between Dover and Calais today - as another of its ships has failed a reinspection.

The Spirit of Britain - the ferry firm's only ship currently authorised to sail from the town - left port at 4pm.

Spirit of Britain leaving Dover today. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Spirit of Britain leaving Dover today. Picture: Barry Goodwin

It will be the first time the ship has carried passengers since March 17, when the company sacked nearly 800 seafarers with no prior warning.

Agency staff, being paid cheaper wages, were hired to replace the workers in March in a shock move condemned by the public, government and trade unions.

Safety inspections of the firm's vessels were ordered before the ships could sail again.

The Spirit of Britain passed the inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) last week, with freight services resuming last Tuesday.

While there was only one passenger sailing today, services are expected to resume in full from tomorrow.

Other P&O ships are stil berthed in Dover. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Other P&O ships are stil berthed in Dover. Picture: Barry Goodwin

However, being the only vessel by P&O in operation, the Spirit of Britain is already fully booked, and customers can only buy tickets from May 7 onwards.

DFDS sailings are still being offered to passengers sailing today.

The Pride of Kent has now failed its safety inspection for the second time, the MCA confirmed.

A spokesman said: "The Pride of Kent remains under detention after failing to pass its reinspection today.

"We will reinspect when requested to do so by P&O Ferries.

“There are no further inspections of P&O Ferries at the moment but we will inspect when requested by the company."

A P&O Ferries spokesman said: "The Pride of Kent remains berthed in its current port, following inspections by the Maritime & Coastguard Authority (MCA).

“We have restored full services on both our Irish and North Sea routes and are pleased that on our Dover Calais route the Spirit of Britain has welcomed tourist passengers back on-board today, having resumed freight services last week.

"We will continue to work with the relevant authorities to return our remaining Dover Calais ships to service.

“We are very appreciative of the work the MCA does and the collaborative manner in which it is working with us.

“We take the safety of our passengers and crew very seriously and 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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