P&O ferry Pride of Kent cleared to sail again after passing fourth inspection

The Pride of Kent has passed a fourth safety inspection

P&O ferry The Pride of Kent has been cleared to sail after being inspected by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for a fourth time.

A team of surveyors boarded the grounded ship today at the request of P&O Ferries.

An MCA spokesperson said: “The Pride of Kent has been released from detention and can commence operations when P&O Ferries are ready.

“There are no further inspections of P&O Ferries at the moment but we will reinspect when requested by P&O Ferries.”

The Pride of Kent was detained for the first time on March 28 and failed an inspection by the MCA for a second time on April 13 and a third time on May 3.

It's been stuck in the Port of Dover since the company sacked 800 of its staff on March 17.

P&O had previously hoped to resume sailings on the Dover to Calais route in mid-April with the Pride of Kent and the Spirit of Britain, but both ships failed inspections by the MCA after a "number of deficiencies" were found.

The Spirit of Britain has since been inspected again and cleared to sail. 

A total of 23 failures were originally picked up on the Spirit of Britain by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) inspectors on April 11. It was cleared to sail 11 days later.

The Spirit of Britain has been cleared to resume sailing

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Transport Select Committee recently that he ordered the MCA to scrutinise the ships "with a fine-tooth comb".

P&O Ferries came under fire after it was revealed some of its new crew were being paid under £4 per hour.

Mr Shapps has announced that legislation forcing ferry operators using UK ports to pay seafarers at least the national minimum wage of £9.50 per hour will be included in the Queen's Speech on May 10.

P&O Ferries said it would "fully welcome" measures to increase pay for all seafarers in British waters as it wants "a level playing field".