Under fire ferry operator, P&O Ferries has confirmed that it intends to offer a limited service on its Dover – Calais and Cairnryan – Larne routes from this weekend. Subject to regulatory approval, the company intends to offer a two ship service on the Dover route and a single ship between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Additionally, the company is hopeful that PRIDE OF HULL will return to service on the Hull – Rotterdam route, returning that link to full strength.
At Dover, P&O plans for one of the oldest ships in its fleet, PRIDE OF KENT, to return to service along with one of the newest, SPIRIT OF BRITAIN. This means that PRIDE OF CANTERBURY and SPIRIT OF FRANCE will remain out of service for the time being.
SPIRIT OF FRANCE is currently in dry dock in Rotterdam with a serious technical problem. Reportedly parts have been removed from SPIRIT OF FRANCE to repair SPIRIT OF BRITAIN following an incident where an engine was run while flooded with water.
On the North Channel route between Larne and Cairnryan, only EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY is currently expected to return at the weekend. She is currently tied up near her part-sister EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER at Larne. Witnesses have reported drills taking place on both ships over the past couple of weeks.
Stena Temporarily Suspends Fishguard route
The timetable for partial resumption of P&O Ferries’ suspended services comes days after Stena Line suspended its Fishguard – Rosslare route in order to release its ship, STENA EUROPE, to cover the busier Dublin – Holyhead route. The STENA EUROPE has been redeployed to the Holyhead service in place of STENA NORDICA. The latter ship was supposed to be covering the absence of STENA ESTRID, which is covering for STENA HORIZON on the Rosslare – Cherbourg service, at Holyhead. At present Stena expects the suspension to last until 12 April.
STENA NORDICA was the designated Irish Sea dry dock relief vessel for this year, but the suspension of P&O Ferries services led to ‘Nordica being redeployed to Stena’s Belfast – Cairnryan route as additional tonnage due to capacity issues between Scotland and Northern Ireland.