P&O Ferries suspends passenger services across Channel over Easter

P&O Ferries has suspended all passenger services on the Dover-Calais route over the Easter bank holiday weekend, causing further disruptions for UK travellers.

Two of the beleaguered ferry firm’s eight vessels – the Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain – are still being detained by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) over safety concerns, resulting in ferry shortages on a key route in the run-up the busy travel period.

The company confirmed in a tweet that it was cancelling all Channel crossings over the Easter weekend, and said it would offer alternative routes or refunds to affected travellers.

The company is allowing customers to transfer to its ferry crossing at Hull, landing in Rotterdam, or to Brittany Ferries with routes running between Portsmouth and Caen in France.

P&O added that it would reimburse customers for any extra mileage, as well as onboard meals on any overnight crossings, on top of a 25% discount on their original fare.

“We apologise unreservedly to all customers whose scheduled journeys with us between Dover and Calais have been cancelled whilst we are unable to sail,” a spokesperson for P&O said.

“We also recognise that these options will not be suitable for everyone, therefore any customer who booked directly with P&O Ferries will be able to claim a full refund and a free trip for future travel,” the company added.

P&O had planned to resume cross-Channel services between Dover and Calais for the Easter weekend, but the MCA said on Wednesday it would not release the two vessels until the agency was satisfied they could “fulfil the requirement of the Port State Control regime and are safe to put to sea”.

The agency, which is inspecting all eight of P&O Ferries’ vessels, first detained the Pride of Kent on 28 March after a failed inspection and said on Wednesday it had found additional deficiencies after a reassessment.

The Spirit of Britain was detained this week, compounding troubles for the firm, which is under fire for sacking all 800 of its UK workforce and replacing them with cheaper foreign agency workers in March.