Marine Link
Tuesday, June 28, 2022

ITF Inspectors Denied Access to P&O Ferries in Dover

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 21, 2022

© Elles Rijsdijk / Adobe Stock

© Elles Rijsdijk / Adobe Stock

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said its inspectors have been blocked from investigating crew welfare issues on board P&O Ferries’ vessels in the Port of Dover.

In March, P&O Ferries terminated about vessel 800 staff to hire cheaper agency workers in a move that has drawn backlash from politicians, workers and the general public.

The ITF said Dover Port Police this week refused access to its inspectors dispatched to look into welfare issues raised by replacement crew members, citing failure to give advanced warning for the visit.

“As an ITF Inspector in the U.K. for 17 years, this is the first time I have been refused access to a UK port to investigate crew welfare issues.” said one of the inspectors, Tommy Molloy. “Experience shows us that if non-compliant employers are tipped off to our inspections, often crew members get threatened and incriminating documentation goes missing. Our inspections are random by nature and by necessity.”

ITF said it completed the online security course required and even emailed ahead of time as a courtesy, even though inspectors are not obliged to provide prior warning to ports or vessel owners of impending visits to inspect vessels or investigate abuse of seafarers’ rights.

The inspectors said that the port officials phoned P&O Ferries while the inspectors were present, awaiting a decision on their access.

P&O Ferries declined to comment when reached by MarineLink.

ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton said, “P&O Ferries have shown that they have no regard for the law, it’s staggering that the Port of Dover would prevent access to ITF Inspectors who are simply there to check on crew welfare and the safety of the ships.

“ITF Inspectors across the world are at the frontline of protecting safety standards for seafarers and the vessels they crew. We have grave reservations about why they would be denied access, especially following MCA detentions related to safety concerns and crew familiarity of the vessels.

“We call on the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps to find answers as to why our inspectors were blocked, and give a commitment that it won’t happen again,” said Cotton.

The ITF has notified the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency about the incident as a violation of the ISPS Code.

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