P&O Ferries have been advised Pride of Kent can resume crossings between Dover and Calais after passing a safety inspection on the fourth attempt.
The vessel had been grounded since late March amid fallout from the company’s decision to dismiss nearly 800 sailors and replace them with agency staff on significantly lower pay – salaries that fall short of the minimum required by UK law.
Six days after his last missed the ferrythe Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The Pride of Kent has been released and can begin operations when P&O Ferries is ready.
“There are no further P&O Ferries inspections at this time, but we will re-inspect at P&O Ferries’ request.”
The decision to allow the ferry to return to sea is not just a boost for P&O Ferries as it continues its efforts to tackle the backlash of its actions.
The Pride of Kent will also boost vital capacity on the Dover-Calais route, which has suffered freight delays of up to two days in recent weeks – compounded over the recent Easter holidays by heavy demand for tourist traffic.
This means she will join the Spirit of Britain, which resumed freight services last month before passenger crossings restarted, to be able to operate the route.
P&O has not yet given a timetable for the resumption of services on the Pride of Kent.
Every P&O vessel must be considered safe to operate due to widespread crew change.
Pride of Canterbury and Spirit of France remain unavailable on Dover-Calais as they have not been fully reviewed.
P&O passenger services have already resumed on three other UK routes, between Liverpool and Dublin, Ireland; between Cairnryan, Scotland and Larne, Northern Ireland; and between Hull and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.