P&O is to face soaring insurance bills after it sank to the riskiest safety rating, with its performance deemed “very low.”
According to an analysis of an international database of inspections, P&O was previously awarded a “medium rating,” but after it sacked 800 seafarers and replaced them with agency workers the rating sank.
“It’s very rare for a vessel to be in ‘port arrest’, it makes them virtually uninsurable until they are passed as safe again,” a Lloyd’s of London maritime broker told the Telegraph.
“Even then, the costs will be sky high. P&O [Ferries] has gone from a very safe risk to virtually junk. Secondly, because it’s so exposed publicly, the third party liability risk is ramped up because of the scrutiny.”
P&O’s safety was called into question after it emerged that the poli were replaced with agency workers who were not paid the UK minimum wage whilst in international waters, prompting a government response, City A.M. reported.
Agents from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) detained on Wednesday one P&O vessel, the Spirit of Britain, while reinspecting another one at the company’s behest.
The operator, which accused the MCA of an “unprecedented level of rigour,” announced it would restart operations before Easter but was forced to slash all Dover to Calais services for the time being.