To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the dismissal of 800 workers by P&O and the detainment of ships operated by that company for inspection, what steps his Department will take to ensure safety standards for passengers are upheld on ferry services operated by P&O.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency plan to carry out Port State Control inspections on all the P&O ferries affected prior to them returning to passenger service, to ensure that they remain in compliance with all international requirements.
MCA Officials have completed inspections on the EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY, EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER, PRIDE OF HULL, PRIDE OF KENT, PRIDE OF ROTTERDAM, NORBAY and NORBANK. The PRIDE OF CANTERBURY and SPIRIT OF FRANCE will be inspected by the MCA before they go back into service.
These inspections involve thorough checks of items such as hull, machinery, firefighting and lifesaving arrangements, maintenance and emergency preparedness to ensure that the ferries and its operation meet the requisite safety standards. If the MCA find serious defects, then they will detain the vessel until those matters have been resolved, as illustrated by recent detentions.
All roll-on-roll-off passenger ferries including those operated by P&O are, and will continue to be, inspected annually by the MCA.