Coastguard inspects two more P&O vessels as company hopes to set sail soon

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Thursday, April 21, 2022 2:35 p.m.

The MCA announced that it was inspecting two other P&O vessels. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) today announced that it is inspecting two more P&O vessels as the company hopes to resume normal operations soon.

MCA officers said they were inspecting the European Highlander, which operates on routes between Northern Ireland and Scotland, and the Norbay, which serves Liverpool and Dublin.

“Our experts carry out a full inspection of the P&O ferry, European Highlander, prior to its return to service to ensure that it complies with international manning and safe operations regulations, in particular emergency procedures such as firefighting and evacuation of the vessel,” a statement said. said the MCA spokesperson.

‘There are no further P&O Ferries inspections at this time, but we will re-inspect at the request of P&O Ferries.’

After 800 seafarers were sacked last month, P&O has come under intense government scrutiny.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ordered the Coastguard to inspect all eight P&O vessels, to ensure crews were “safe and properly trained”.

To date, two ships – the Spirit of Britain and the Pride of Kent – remain in MCA’s custody while two others have been cleared to sail. The other two will be inspected in the coming weeks.

Despite the scandal, the group hoped to resume normal activities before Easter but have been forced to reduce all Dover-Calais services for the time being.

Analysts have warned the ferry operator could face bankruptcy as its safety rating has plummeted, which could lead to sky-high bills.

“This drop from an average rating to now the lowest will see P&O face a sky-high insurance bill,” Bruce Hepburn, managing director of London-based insurance buyer Mactavish, told City AM.

“Combined with rising insurance costs and the layoff bill, the company could be in danger of bankruptcy.”

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