Pride of Hull sets sail for Rotterdam for first time with agency staff after P&O crew sacked

The Pride of Hull has left East Yorkshire for the first time, after being docked in port for six days following the sudden sacking of its crew by P&O Ferries.

A total 82 members of staff on board the ship were told that they had lost their jobs over a video call last week without any notice.

They have since been replaced by agency workers.

ITV News reported earlier this week that the RMT Union accuses P&O Ferries of paying some agency staff as little as £1.80 an hour to crew sailings.

During an appearance before a committee of MPs, the chief executive of P&O Peter Hebblethwaite admitted that the average hourly pay of the new crew is just £5.50.

Hull crews led protests around the UK about the company's treatment of the 800 workers with a sit-in on the ferry immediately after being sacked.

On Thursday, the ship's tracker showed that it had sailed to Rotterdam just before 8pm the previous evening - it was cleared to sail without passengers of cargo last night.

Brian Johnson of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has said that of the 110 staff on board the ship only 18 of them were new members of staff.

A spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: "Our surveyors have carried out a full inspection across two days of Pride of Hull ferry.

"This is to make sure it complies with international regulations on manning and safe operation, in particular, emergency procedures such as firefighting and evacuating the ship.

"The inspection did not identify significant issues that would prevent the vessel sailing to Rotterdam.“

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency added that as the ship bears the flag of the Bahamas they bear the overall responsibility for the safety of the ship.

The Pride of Rotterdam, which is staffed by Dutch crew, will begin sailing between Hull and The Netherlands from March 25, with the Pride of Hull expected to be out of action for the foreseeable future.

There have been several protests about the sackings held in Hull and elsewhere. Credit: PA

The Chief Executive of P&O has appeared before MPs today to be quizzed over the sackings.

Peter Hebblethwaite told a joint hearing of the transport and business committees he was paying workers above the International Transport Workers' Federation minimum wage.

Mr Hebblethwaite told MPs: "Where we are governed by national minimum wage, we will absolutely pay national minimum wage.

"This is an international seafaring model that is consistent with models throughout the globe and our competitors."

The Prime Minister said it appears to him that P&O Ferries has "broken the law", telling the Commons on Wednesday that the Government will be "taking action", and encouraged workers to do the same.

Peter Hebblethwaite said the company will ‘fairly compensate for all proven claims’ involving lost or damaged items Credit: House of Commons/PA

Mr Hebblethwaite also said he want to apologise over the sackings.

He told MPs: “Can I start these with an apology?

“An apology to seafarers that were affected on Thursday of last week, an apology to their families, an apology to the 2,200 of our employees who have had to face very difficult questions over the last week or so.

“You may see this as a late apology and I just want to reassure you the reason that you’re hearing this for the first time today is because I’ve spent the last week in the business, talking to our people one to one.”