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P&O ship detained in Larne after being deemed ‘unfit to sail’

The detention of ships is based on concerns over their safety and to prevent them going to sea.

25 March 2022

A ship operated by P&O Ferries has been detained in Larne for being “unfit to sail”.

The European Causeway vessel has been held in the Northern Ireland port due to “failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training”, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he will not compromise the safety of P&O vessels and insisted that the company will not be able to rush training for inexperienced people.

The company has sacked almost 800 seafarers and plans to replace them with agency staff on cheaper salaries.

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “We can confirm that the European Causeway has been detained in Larne.

“It has been detained due to failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training.

“The vessel will remain under detention until all these issues are resolved by P&O Ferries. Only then will it be reinspected.”

P&O Ferries announcement
P&O European Causeway ferry docked at Larne Port last week (David Young/PA)

Mr Shapps tweeted: “Following my instruction to inspect all P&O vessels prior to entering back into service, the @MCA_Media has detained a ship for being unfit to sail.

“I will not compromise the safety of these vessels and P&O will not be able to rush inexperienced crew through training.”

The detention of ships is based on concerns over their safety and to prevent them going to sea.

The European Causeway entered service in 2000 replacing the Pride of Rathlin, according to the P&O Ferries website.

“Specifically designed for our Cairnryan to Larne route, she has not operated elsewhere and has only been taken out of service if she needs a refit,” the website said.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed Mr Shapps’ call for P&O Ferries’ chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite to quit, over the sacking of 800 workers without notice.

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