One second P&O ferry is detained after a lack of security checks by the authorities in the midst of outrage that it fired all its 800 seafarers without notice earlier this month and then replace them with temps.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said earlier on Monday that they were inspecting P&O Ferries’ Pride of Kent at the Port of Dover to make sure it is safe to go to sea with its new crew, even without passengers or cargo.
But tonight, the MCA said they had not met the required standard when it declared Sky News reported.
It said in a statement: “Our surveyors are in the process of detaining the Pride of Kent, Sky News reported.
“We are awaiting confirmation of all the withheld items.”
The reasons why the ship did not pass the inspection have not been revealed, but are expected to be made public in the coming hours.
Meanwhile, another of the combat companies’ vessels, the European Causeway, remains detained in Larne, Northern Ireland, after “faults in the crew’s executive order, vessel documentation and crew training” were discovered.
This comes after the government said it would force ferry operators calling at their ports to pay the minimum wage as it increased pressure on P&O Ferries to re-employ workers the company fired without notice in favor of cheaper staff.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has also told P&O that it now had “a slightly different choice” than reversing the mass layoffs – and has demanded the company’s boss Peter Hebblethwaite resign.
In a letter to the ferry manager, Mr Shapps said that proposals submitted to Parliament would “ensure that seafarers were protected from this type of action”.
Shapps said he intends to block the result that P&O Ferries has “pursued”, including “paying workers less than the minimum wage”.
He said this would leave P&O “an additional opportunity” to offer all 800 workers their jobs back on previous terms, conditions and pay – if they want them back.
The minimum wage in the UK for people aged 23 and over is GBP 8.91 per hour, but goes up to GBP 9.50 per hour on 1 April.
Sir. Hebblethwaite, whose base salary is £ 325,000, told MPs on March 24 that the average salary for the agency’s crew is £ 5.50 an hour.