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Pride of Kent detained after failing safety inspection

29 March 2022

One of P&O Ferries' best-known vessels, the Pride of Kent, has been detained in Dover after failing a Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspection on Monday 28 March.

This makes it the second of the company's fleet to be found unfit to sail after 800 crew members were sacked on 24 March and replaced with cheaper agency workers. The European Causeway was detained on 26 March in Larne after failing its Port State Control inspection.

Rather than a full Port State Control inspection on the Pride of Kent, MCA inspectors only carried out checks to allow the vessel to sail without cargo or passengers, yet crew familiarisation and safety procedures were still found wanting.

A spokesperson for the Agency said: 'The Pride of Kent has been detained due to failures on vessel documentation, crew familiarisation and training, and emergency equipment not functioning properly, indicating a failure of the implementation of a safety management system.

'We have advised P&O to invite us back once they have addressed the issues. We do not know yet when this will be.'

P&O Ferries had previously stated that it hoped to restart sailings from Dover on Thursday 31 March.

Eight P&O ferries need to be inspected so that the MCA is satisfied they are safe to go to sea. Pride of Hull has been inspected and was cleared to set sail. European Causeway (Larne – Cairnryan) and Pride of Kent (Dover – Calais) are currently under detention. European Highlander was cleared by inspection for relocation but still needs to have its Port State Control inspection. Pride of Canterbury, Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France (Dover – Calais) and Norbay (Liverpool – Dublin) are yet to have their Port State Control inspections.

The MCA says it has not been invited to carry out any further inspections at this time.

Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson commented: 'This failure is only to be expected when our highly-skilled, experienced members are pushed aside and replaced by people who do not know the ship or the route. The English Channel is the busiest shipping lane in the world, and we are relieved to see that the MCA agrees that operators cannot cut corners on safety.'

Transport secretary Grant Shapps MP said on Twitter that safety would not be compromised and further checks would continue.