DOVER UPDATE 26.04.22: @ 09:30 As expected, P&O Ferries’ SPIRIT OF BRITAIN crossed from Dover to Calais earlier this morning carrying freight only. Passengers will reportedly only be carried from next week.
The ship had been inspected by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) on Thursday 21 April, but was only cleared to sail if a “small number of deficiencies” were rectified.
Having received clearance to sail, EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER operated a single round trip for freight only on Saturday, before resuming her normal timetable on Sunday.
At Liverpool, NORBAY returned to service on Saturday having been given clearance to sail by the MCA. Her operating partners on the Liverpool – Dublin route, NORBANK and CLIPPER PENNANT, had only stopped sailings for a few days after P&O Ferries sacked almost 800 staff over a month ago, as they were unaffected by the action.
The fourth vessel on the route, STENA FORECASTER, has been returned to owner Stena RoRo. She is presently covering the dry docking of Stena Line’s STENA FORETELLER on the Belfast – Birkenhead route.
It is understood that the P&O vessels have only returned to service after a significant number of long-serving officers returned to the company on revised terms and conditions after being made redundant.
Limited Dover – Calais services could resume tomorrow
At Dover, P&O Ferries flagship SPIRIT OF BRITAIN has been released from detention and has been observed undertaking trials in The Channel. She is the first of the company’s four Dover – Calais vessels to have been cleared to sail.
The PRIDE OF KENT remains on the detention list, while sister-ship PRIDE OF CANTERBURY has yet to receive clearance to sail. SPIRIT OF FRANCE will remain out of service for a number of weeks while she undergoes repairs in Holland.
The BBC reports that P&O Ferries currently expects to resume Dover – Calais services from tomorrow, Tuesday 26 March.
New Irish Ferries ship yet to debut
Irish Ferries’ latest acquisition, ISLE OF INISHEER, has yet to enter commercial service despite having arrived fresh from refit in Denmark two weeks ago. It is understood that the vessel has yet to receive clearance from the MCA to enter service.
Fleetmate ISLE OF INISHMORE is known to require dry docking imminently for a number of items which have already been postponed since February.
ISLE OF INISHEER had been expected to release ‘Inishmore for her shipyard visit last week but so far remains out of action at Calais.