P&O Ferry detained in Northern Ireland for being 'unfit to sail'

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Carl Bennett

By Carl Bennett

Published: 25/03/2022

- 22:13

Updated: 25/03/2022

- 22:50

A spokesperson told GB News it had been detained 'due to failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training.'

A ship operated by P&O Ferries has been detained in Larne for being “unfit to sail”.

The European Causeway vessel has been held in the Northern Ireland port due to “failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training”, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

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

The company has sacked almost 800 seafarers and plans to replace them with agency staff on cheaper salaries.

Signage for Larne Port.
Signage for Larne Port.
David Young

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency told GB News: “We can confirm that the European Causeway has been detained in Larne.

“It has been detained due to failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training.

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

Mr Shapps tweeted: “Following my instruction to inspect all P&O vessels prior to entering back into service, the @MCA_Media 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 detention of ships is based on concerns over their safety and to prevent them going to sea.

The European Causeway entered service in 2000 replacing the Pride of Rathlin, according to the P&O Ferries website.

“Specifically designed for our Cairnryan to Larne route, she has not operated elsewhere and has only been taken out of service if she needs a refit,” the website said.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed Mr Shapps’ call for P&O Ferries’ chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite to quit, over the sacking of 800 workers without notice.

Meanwhile, the RMT union said it welcomed the detention of the European Causeway and it demanded the Government “seize the entire fleet” of P&O vessels.

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.”

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