P&O Ferries agreement with DFDS ends as passengers told to book travel with other operators

The agreement P&O had with DFDS ends on Friday. Credit: PA

Passengers who had booked to travel with P&O Ferries from Dover this weekend are being left to source their own travel, as rival operator, DFDS, will no longer convey P&O ticket holders.

Anyone who had booked to travel with the company on the 8th, 9th or 10th of April will now have to book with another operator, leaving passengers scrambling to claim their money back from P&O.

The company announced the news on its Twitter feed on Tuesday afternoon.

It said: "All P&O Ferries Passenger Services are suspended this weekend.

"For travel 8/9/10th April please re-book directly with another operator before arriving at the port.

"DFDS will not be able to transfer P&O customers onto their services."

ITV News Meridian has tried to contact P&O Ferries but they refused to talk to us.

P&O Ferries sacked 800 of its staff on Thursday the 17th of March, saying it was forced to make 'swift and significant changes now'.

In recent weeks any passenger who held a ticket with P&O has been able to travel with rival operator DFDS from the Port of Dover.

That will no longer be possible, which could exacerbate queues seen at Dover in recent days.

The area was plunged into chaos at the weekend, when queues of up to 9 hours were reported.

However, passengers with P&O Ferries tickets will still be able to use DFDS services until Friday.

The sacking of its workers has come under immense criticism in recent weeks, with a criminal investigation now underway over the company's actions.

Dover and Deal MP, Natalie Elphicke, told ITV Meridian that she believes P&O will try to resume ferry services late next week.

"My understanding is that P&O will be looking try to put ships back into the water and make ferries operational again over the course of next week.

"That's dependant on them being able to pass the safety inspections.

"We know it was their intention to try to set water over a week ago, but they have had safety check problems.

"And of course they had a ship impounded."

Watch: Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, speaks to ITV Meridian about P&O Ferries plans.

The boss of P&O Ferries has previously insisted no criminal offence was committed when his firm sacked 800 workers without notice, after claims from the government that the law was "knowingly" broken.

CEO Peter Hebblethwaite sent an email, obtained by ITV News, to all remaining employees following his appearance at the Commons transport committee, telling them he's "incredibly sorry for any anxiety that I’ve caused you or your family in the last week".

"This was never my intention and I am painfully aware it feels deeply uncomfortable," he said as Boris Johnson said the P&O boss should resign.

Mr Hebblethwaite admitted to the committee that P&O broke employment law by firing hundreds of employees with no warning but in an email to employees he insisted "no criminal offence has been committed".

"Neither me, P&O Ferries or our Shareholder, DP World would allow it," he added, as he appeared to explain how employment law had been broken by saying "there has been a failure to comply with the obligation to consult".

He said the mass sacking was "an incredibly difficult decision" but one that was "necessary and pivotal for our business".