P&O ferry leaves Scottish port for the first time since nearly 800 employees laid off by firm


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A P&O ferry has taken off from a Scottish port for the first time since the layoff of 800 staff members.

Local residents in Cairnryan, Dumfries and Galloway told the Record that the scandal-stricken company’s European Highlander left port at 3pm today.

It has been held there since March 17 after the controversial news that workers had been released.

But photos taken at 3:30 p.m. today, March 26, show the ship has departed and is believed to be en route to Larne in Northern Ireland.

People in Cairnryan saw the European Highlander set sail and thought there were no staff on board and no tickets available for the crossing.

It came after the firm’s European Causeway vessel failed a safety inspection and was detained in Larne. He is reportedly still being held in port.



The empty dock in Cairnryan at 3.30pm on Saturday after the ship departed.

The Maritime and Coast Guard Agency said it was unable to sail “out of safety concerns”.

The agency said: “We can confirm that the European Causeway has been detained in Larne.

“The vessel will remain in detention until all these issues are resolved by P&O Ferries. Only then will it be re-examined.



The European Highlander earlier in the harbor.
The European Highlander in the Scottish harbor formerly

“The detention of ships is based on concerns for their safety and to prevent them from going to sea.”

The news comes after nearly 800 employees were fired without notice by P&O last week, sparking a massive backlash across the political spectrum.

P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite was urged by MPs to quit after acknowledging there was “absolutely no doubt” that the ferry operator was required to consult unions before the large-scale layoffs.

The company replaced its crews with cheaper temps.

The chief executive admitted that the new crews are paid below the UK minimum wage, except on domestic routes, but stressed that this is allowed under international maritime rules.

P&O has been approached for comment.

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