P&O Ferres’ hopes of resuming Dover-Calais crossings this week have been dashed after one of its ships failed a two-day re-inspection due to “deficiencies”.
The inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) of the Spirit of Britain boat found several key safety failings and it was declared not fit to be cleared for sea.
It is unclear if the MCA plans to imminently inspect sister ships the Pride of Canterbury or Pride of Kent, which also usually sail the Dover-Calais route, reports Sky News.
P&O Ferries have to be judged safe by the MCA after the company sacked 800 staff last month.
“We have advised P&O to invite us back once they have addressed the issues. We do not know yet when this will be,” the MCA told the BBC.
Dover has seen lengthy lorry queues in the past week, with some drivers having to wait more than 24 hours to move onwards with their goods movement.
The Operation Brock queuing system for lorries approaching Dover will remain in place until after the Easter bank holiday weekend, the BBC reports.
The Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) said Brock will be kept running “as a precaution”.
Logistics UK has added its voice to the organisations demanding better facilities for lorry drivers caught up in the backlogs.
Heidi Skinner, from Logistics UK, told the BBC: “We are calling for an urgent review into the effectiveness of Operation Brock as a traffic management scheme, and most importantly, the humanitarian issues it raises as HGV drivers are left unable to access basic hygiene facilities, food and drink.”
A KRF spokesperson said for “safety reasons it is not possible to provide welfare on a live motorway where traffic is moving, even if slowly”.
After a quieter weekend and start of the week, traffic heading to Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover “will pick up again” this week ahead of the Easter weekend, the KRF has warned.