August 8, 2022

The ferry had ‘lost all power’

Three lifeboats were launched after a P&O ferry developed a mechanical issue in the Irish Sea.

The European Causeway was left stranded five miles off the coast of Larne, according to tracking website Marine Traffic.

It left Cairnryan at around midday on Tuesday and was due to arrive at Larne Harbour at 2pm the same day, the BBC reports.

In a tweet, P&O wrote: “Due to a mechanical issue with the Causeway in the Irish Sea, tugs from Larne and Belfast were deployed to guide it back to port. Once the ship is back in Port a full inspection will take place.”

Footage captured from the coast and shared on Twitter shows the boat stranded off the coast.

The European Causeway had been detained by the Maritime and Coastguard agency recently for reinspection, and had only been released on April 8.

The vessel eventually regained power and is now back in port.

Ship tracking websites showed that its automatic identification system (AIS) status was set to Not Under Command. This is a status for when a vessel “through some exceptional circumstance is unable to manoeuvre as required by these rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel”.

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The Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ Union (RMT) general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The reports of the European Causeway drifting in water off Larne having lost all power are deeply concerning, not least for the agency crew and passengers onboard.”

He continued: “Since our members were viciously sacked on 17 March, this vessel has been detained by the MCA for failing a raft of safety checks.

“The list of offences is now as long as your arm and the Government has to step in and protect ferry safety and jobs.

“P&O and their pay masters in Dubai are no longer capable of running a safe service and should be stripped of the licence to operate their ships.”

Last month, P&O came under fire for sacking some 800 workers with no notice, replacing them with workers who will receive just £5.50 an hour.

The company’s boss Peter Hebblethwaite was forced to admit in front of a parliamentary select committee that his company broke the law by not consulting with trade unions before sacking workers.

P&O is facing a criminal investigation for its actions.

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