P&O ferry is SEIZED by the coastguard because replacement crew failed inspection in Northern Ireland after firm sacked 800 staff and brought in £5.50-an-hour replacements – as Boris calls for CEO to quit
- P&O Ferries vessel has been detained in Northern Ireland for being ‘unfit to sail’
- The Maritime and Coastguard Agency held the boat for ‘failures in crew training’
- They said ‘vessel will remain under detention until issues are resolved by P&O’
- Grant Shapps tweeted that the firm ‘won’t be able to rush crew through training’
A P&O ferry has been detained in Northern Ireland by the coastguard after ‘failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training’.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the ship, named the European Causeway, had been detained in Larne, Northern Ireland last week ‘based on concerns over its safety’ and to ‘prevent them going to sea’.
In a statement the agency said the vessel would remain under detention ‘until all these issues have been resolved’ by P&O Ferries.
It comes after nearly 800 workers were fired without notice last week, sparking backlash from across the political spectrum.
A P&O ferry has been detained in Northern Ireland by the coastguard after ‘failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training’. Pictured: P&O’s European Causeway ferry
Following the news, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to Twitter and said P&O would ‘not be able to rush inexperienced crew through training’
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the ship, named the European Causeway, (pictured) had been detained in Larne, Northern Ireland last week ‘based on concerns over its safety’ and to ‘prevent them going to sea’
The agency said: ‘We can confirm that the European Causeway has been detained in Larne.
‘The vessel will remain under detention until all these issues are resolved by P&O Ferries. Only then will it be reinspected.
‘Detention of ships is based on concerns over their safety and to prevent them going to sea.’
Following the news, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps took to Twitter and said P&O would ‘not be able to rush inexperienced crew through training’.
He wrote: ‘Following my instruction to inspect all P&O vessels prior to entering back into service, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has detained a ship for being unfit to sail.’
‘I will not compromise the safety of these vessels and P&O will not be able to rush inexperienced crew through training.’
The RMT union responded to the detention of the vessel with open arms and said all of the company’s ‘ferries should be impounded’.
General Secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘The seizing of the European Causeway by the MCA tonight shows that the gangster capitalist outfit P&O are not fit and proper to run a safe service after the jobs massacre.
‘This mob should be barred, their ships impounded and the sacked crews reinstated to get these crucial ferry routes back running safely.’
The Labour MP for Hull East, Karl Turner, also wrote on Twitter: ‘It gets worse for P&O Ferries, news just in that the European Causeway on the Cairnryan-Larne route has failed her Port State Inspection.
‘The vessel is arrested and detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Larne.’
This news comes as it emerged today that the chief executive of DP World – the parent company of P&O Ferries – warned Grant Shapps about a new ‘low-cost competitor’ that would pose a challenge to the business in a meeting in November.
The RMT union responded to the detention of the vessel with open arms and said all of the company’s ‘ferries should be impounded’
The minutes of a meeting between billionaire Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem and Mr Shapps have been published by the Commons Transport Committee.
In the record of the meeting, the DP World boss told Mr Shapps that Irish Ferries had emerged as a ‘new lost-cost competitor’ and added: ‘This poses challenges in respect of P&O’s operations.’
He said the company was making ‘a significant amount of income from the passenger side of our business’, but ‘the margins are so tight on the cargo side’.
Mr Shapps is reported to have responded: ‘I’m aware of the issues relating to P&O. I recognise you will need to make commercial decisions, but please do keep us informed.’
Meanwhile, the millionaire CEO of P&O ferries reportedly emailed sacked staff this morning telling them he would not fire them in the same way again – a day after telling MPs he ‘would do it again’.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the millionaire chief executive of P&O Ferries should resign
The email from Peter Hebblethwaite, who is paid £325,000 to run the firm and lives in a plush £1.5million Cotswold farmhouse, appeared to backtrack on the defiance he showed at a fiery committee evidence session in front of MPs.
In yesterday’s meeting, he told MPs he ‘would do it again’ and called a new £5.50 hourly wage ‘competitive’. This morning, he allegedly told sacked staff that ‘this type of dismissal could not and would not happen again’.
Boris Johnson today backed calls for his resignation, with transport Secretary Grant Shapps demanding he step down following his ‘brazen’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘breathtaking’ admission in Parliament yesterday that he broke the law by sacking 800 workers without notice.
Outraged MPs branded the disgraced boss a ‘shameless criminal’ and called on him to quit, calling his position ‘untenable’, and fuelled calls for a criminal prosecution. The PM has repeatedly threatened to impose potentially unlimited fines ‘running into millions of pounds’ if the operator were found to have broken any British laws.
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