Update 14.04.22: P&O Ferries’ PRIDE OF KENT was reinspected yesterday but remains detained at Dover having not yet met the required standard to enter service. The company is offering customers affected by Easter cancellations a discount on a future trip if they have to book with an alternative operator .
An MCA spokesperson said:
“The Spirit of Britain has been detained due to surveyors identifying a number of deficiencies which were grounds for detention.
“We have advised P&O to invite us back once they have addressed the issues. We do not know yet when this will be.”https://news.sky.com/story/p-o-ferries-hopes-of-dover-crossings-from-good-friday-in-doubt-as-ship-detained-following-inspection-12588776
Easter Dover – Calais Sailings Cancelled
P&O Ferries has started emailing customers with bookings on the Dover – Calais route over the Easter weekend to tell them that their sailings have been cancelled.
Another Dover – Calais vessel, PRIDE OF KENT, remains detained since 28 March. Her sister ship, PRIDE OF CANTERBURY, is understood not to have been inspected yet.
Additionally, press reports state that the company’s only other Dover vessel,SPIRIT OF FRANCE, is expected to remain under repair until May. The vessel has been in Rotterdam since 13 February.
P&O Ferries had hoped to resume sailings on Good Friday, but is now telling passengers that all sailings on the Dover – Calais route are cancelled between 15 and 18 April.
Passengers are being offered alternative sailings on the Hull – Rotterdam route. That routes second ship, PRIDE OF HULL, returned to service yesterday with a roundtrip for freight from Rotterdam. She will be taking passengers from Wednesday.
The company has also managed to secure limited space on Brittany Ferries sailings between Portsmouth and Caen.
Irish Sea Inspections Pending
It is understood that P&O Ferries’ two remaining out of service Irish Sea vessels, EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER and NORBAY, are to have their Port State Control inspections before the weekend. The company is currently operating a single-ship service with EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY on the route between Larne and Cairnryan
P&O Ferries has had a reduced timetable in operation on the Larne – Cairnyran route since 10 April, offering up to three round trips per day.
Easter is one of the busiest periods of the year for the ferry industry and it seems that many sailings on rival routes are already fully booked with the advice being to book ASAP or miss out. Capacity on the short sea routes between Dover and France is particularly restricted with heavy delays for freight vehicles.
The continued service suspension over Easter will be particularly damaging to P&O Ferries as it is a peak period for tourist traffic and the company has already been reported to be losing £1m per day.
The inspections follow the company sacking the majority of its seafaring staff last month and are being undertaken by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).