British seize ship from P&O Ferries after mass layoff
British authorities have seized a vessel belonging to the discredited ferry operator P&O Ferries in Northern Ireland. The ferry could not sail safely because the crew is insufficiently trained for work on the ship. Mandatory documents are also missing, according to the United Kingdom Coast Guard.
The European Causeway, as the ship is called, will remain in the harbor of the coastal town of Larne until the problems are resolved. British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is having all P&O Ferries vessels inspected to ensure the safety of the ferry service.
P&O Ferries, which also sails between Rotterdam and Hull, caused a lot of outrage earlier this month with an unexpected mass layoff. The company suddenly stopped all ferries at the dock and informed staff that 800 people would be made redundant with immediate effect. They were replaced by cheaper, externally hired labour. The company said the move was necessary, as it lost 100 million pounds last year to keep 2,200 others in their jobs.
P&O Ferries CEO Peter Hebblethwaite later admitted that he had violated rules during the reorganization by not informing unions about the dismissal. But talks with the unions would have been nothing more than a sham, he said.
Meanwhile, there also seems to be discontent among the new crew members of the ferries. The international maritime trade union Nautilus recently reported that many of these hired workers have already resigned.
Reporting by ANP