P&O Ferries has been told the Pride of Kent can resume sailings between Dover and Calais after passing a safety inspection at the fourth attempt.
The vessel had been detained since late March amid the fallout from the company’s decision to sack almost 800 seafarers and replace them with agency crew on significantly lower pay – wages that fail to meet the minimum demanded under UK law.
Six days after it last failed the ferry, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The Pride of Kent has been released from detention and can commence operations when P&O Ferries are ready.
“There are no further inspections of P&O Ferries at the moment but we will reinspect when requested by P&O Ferries”.
The decision to allow the ferry back to sea is not only a boost for P&O Ferries as it continues efforts to battle back from the backlash over its actions.
The Pride of Kent will also bolster vital capacity on the Dover-Calais route, which has suffered freight delays of up to two days in recent weeks – made worse over the recent Easter holidays by high tourist traffic demand.
It means she will join the Spirit of Britain, which resumed freight services last month ahead of a restart for passenger crossings, in being able to operate the route.
P&O was yet to give a timetable for the resumption of services on the Pride of Kent.
Each P&O vessel must be deemed safe to operate because of the widespread change in crew.
The Pride of Canterbury and the Spirit of France remain unavailable on Dover-Calais because they have not been fully examined.
P&O’s passenger services have already resumed on three other UK routes, which are between Liverpool and Dublin, Ireland; between Cairnryan, Scotland and Larne, Northern Ireland; and between Hull and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.