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P&O’s Dover-Calais route resumes for first time since mass sackings

Only one ship is currently sailing, after another, Pride of Kent, was detained for a third time after failing a safety inspection

An image of the P&O ferries logo on a ship

P&O Ferries have resumed passenger sailings on the Dover-Calais route, for the first time since the company sacked 800 UK crew members Pic: Dan Jardine / Shutterstock

P&O Ferries has resumed passenger sailings between Dover and Calais for the first time since the sacking of 800 UK crew members on March 17. 

One crossing was made on Tuesday, and a ‘one ship schedule’ began yesterday (Wednesday, May 4), with the Spirit of Britain making four return trips over the course of the day. 

The firm has informed passengers that this one ship schedule will continue until May 7. “If you’re travelling and the time provided is not suitable please call to discuss your options. Alternatively, if you don't wish to travel, please email help@poferries.com for a refund,” it said.

The Connexion has contacted P&O to ask what will happen after May 7. 

The first available ship for reservation is now on Saturday (May 7) because tomorrow’s sailings are fully booked. 

Spirit of Britain is the only one of the Dover-Calais fleet that is currently cleared to sail, after it passed a safety inspection on April 22 and began freight-only operations on April 26.

Read more: One P&O Dover-Calais cleared to sail 

The three other ships on this route remain suspended, with Pride of Canterbury and Spirit of France having not yet been fully examined. 

The Pride of Kent, meanwhile, has been detained in Dover for a third time, having failed another safety inspection from the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). 

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

"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."

Every P&O ship is required to pass a safety inspection before it can return to the sea after the company suspended sailings with its March redundancies. Other ships on the Liverpool-Dublin, Cairnryan-Larne and Hull-Rotterdam routes have already been cleared and resumed crossings. 

Inspections carry out checks on matters including the crew’s ability to safely evacuate vessels in an emergency.

P&O Ferries’ abrupt sacking of its British crew in March in order to replace them with cheaper workers prompted outrage among customers, unions, politicians and other public figures. The company stated that the move was necessary to remain financially viable. 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on March 23 that it appears P&O Ferries' move broke the law and that if the company is found guilty, it could face fines of the millions of pounds. 

Related articles 

French P&O staff protest in Calais over sacking of British colleagues

Blow to Easter travel to France as second P&O ferry detained at Dover

P&O sacks 800 UK crew saying action was needed to remain ‘viable’

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