A second P&O ferry has been detained by authorities in as many days after a botched inspection, likely scuppering the scandal-hit company’s plans to operate a service between Dover and Calais from Easter.
It emerged on Wednesday that the Pride of Kent, first detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) last month, was being re-examined by security officials at the company’s request.
However, it was later confirmed that, like fellow Dover-based Spirit of Britain 24 hours earlier, Pride of Kent had also failed the test.
The MCA said: “The Pride of Kent will remain detained following today’s re-inspection of the ferry, which found a number of additional deficiencies, including safety systems and crew documentation.
“We have advised P&O to invite us back once they have addressed the issues. We don’t know when that will be yet.”
It represents a likely fatal blow to the company’s plans to operate at least one of its ships on the busiest route between Britain and France from Good Friday because the MCA failed to disclose plans for further inspections and time is incredibly running out. for a full inspection. .
Having one of the ferries back in service would have helped alleviate recent cargo shipping delays at Dover, caused largely by the absence of the three P&O vessels, which also include the Pride of Canterbury.
It has yet to have its first inspection since the scandal broke.
P&O, universally condemned for its treatment of nearly 800 seafarers who were fired without notice last month, it has new crews on all its ships, although many roles are paid below the UK minimum wage, a problem the government has promised to resolve through new legislation.
Every P&O vessel must pass an inspection to return to sea.
To date, only the Pride of Hull, which operates between Hull and Rotterdam, and the European Causeway, which runs between Larne and Cairnryan, are the P&O vessels that have returned to service.
It means that there are another six that face controls under the Port State Control regime.