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TonyMWeaver

P&O To Reflag Entire Fleet to Cyprus

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On December 18th 2018, it was announced that P&O would re-flag 2 of their vessels to Cyprus. 

It's been announced in the last 24 hours that the company have now decided to re-flag the entire fleet operating between Calais and Dover.

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I've been deliberating over who to use for a trip over to Belgium via Dover at the end of the month, this has made up my mind for me - DFDS.

I think this is a terribly cynical thing to do.

Edited by Ryan_H

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Such a shame to see how low the P&O outfit at Dover has stooped.  To think that the roots of their Calais operation lie in the pioneering British spirit of Captain Townsend.  Free Enterprise indeed.  When P&O acquired Townsend Thoresen in 1986, who could have possibly imagined just how comprehensively they would set about dismantling the whole operation.

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43 minutes ago, Ryan_H said:

I've been deliberating over who to use for a trip over to Belgium via Dover at the end of the month, this has made up my mind for me - DFDS.

I think this is a terribly cynical thing to do.

Is there any possibility it's a no-deal contingency of some kind? I haven't seen any reasoning in the media for it to affect British shipping, but it's not unreasonable to assume that P&O may have interpreted their legal situation that way.

Much like Easyjet's new Austrian flags.

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1 hour ago, TonyMWeaver said:

On December 18th 2018, it was announced that P&O would re-flag 2 of their vessels to Cyprus. 

It's been announced in the last 24 hours that the company have now decided to re-flag the entire fleet operating between Calais and Dover.

Did they re-flag the rest of the Dover Calais fleet to Cyprus as well .

 

Edited by Chef

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When the Norman Spirit was flying the Italian flag when used on the Le Havre route.  The dockers at Le Havre soon protested about her flying the FOC then.  And the same thing could happen to P&O at Calais.

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2 hours ago, Ian Walker said:

When the Norman Spirit was flying the Italian flag when used on the Le Havre route.  The dockers at Le Havre soon protested about her flying the FOC then.  And the same thing could happen to P&O at Calais.

Stena Horizon and Irish Ferries Epsilon are both Italian flagged and operate Ireland to Cherbourg without any issue .

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Another thought occurred to me, but is totally left-field.  With the publication of the report into the grounding of Pride of Kent in Calais now imminent, P&O will have seen the report as part of the ongoing consultation phase.  I wonder if P&O doesn't like it, and therefore wants to take a step toward minimising the opportunities for MAIB investigation in future?

That's probably totally off the wall, and I'm sure that a shipping company with P&O's pedigree would not take such an irresponsible attitude.  But the thought occurred to me and I thought I'd share it to see if anyone thinks it might have legs.

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1 hour ago, Gareth said:

Another thought occurred to me, but is totally left-field.  With the publication of the report into the grounding of Pride of Kent in Calais now imminent, P&O will have seen the report as part of the ongoing consultation phase.  I wonder if P&O doesn't like it, and therefore wants to take a step toward minimising the opportunities for MAIB investigation in future?

That's probably totally off the wall, and I'm sure that a shipping company with P&O's pedigree would not take such an irresponsible attitude.  But the thought occurred to me and I thought I'd share it to see if anyone thinks it might have legs.

Would be a bit pointless as they wouldn't be able to escape a competent investigation anyway. I like the theory though.

 

Just seems to me to be a pure flag of convenience move. Another sad day for the UK flag.

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1 hour ago, Ryan_H said:

Which are the two ships which have already been re-flagged?

I might be wrong, but I was of the understanding that Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France had already been re-flagged (?).

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11 hours ago, Chef said:

Stena Horizon and Irish Ferries Epsilon are both Italian flagged and operate Ireland to Cherbourg without any issue .

That's because neither is owned by the carrier, they're both owned by Caronte in Italy. BF didn't have an issue with Etretat as she's been French registered ever since LD had her and had been U.K. registered since her launch. Both Birkenhead Visentini's are Belfast Registered.

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I think it's admirable that Stena Line's vessels are largely UK or Dutch flagged, presumably they could follow the example of others such as Irish Ferries or P&O quite easily but have (so far at least) chosen not to and I think they should be applauded for that. DFDS appear to have their passenger ships flying either the Danish, British or French flag.

I do appreciate that to many people the flag of the vessel is a complete irrelevance and that it should not detract from the safety of the vessel or the travelling experience in any way. But I do think it is symbolic of a kind of 'race to the bottom' on pay and conditions and a sign that an operator has little or no values aside from maximising profits. I find that very sad and cynical and personally it deters me from using such operators. An operator like P&O should be proud to fly the red ensign and the government should be doing all it can to encourage ship owners to do so, regardless of Brexit or anything else.

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Nothing to do with Brexit - it's because P&O was sold off to Dubai owners a while back and is no longer a British company.  It's been downhill all the way since then.

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8 minutes ago, Ryan_H said:

I think it's admirable that Stena Line's vessels are largely UK or Dutch flagged, presumably they could follow the example of others such as Irish Ferries or P&O quite easily but have (so far at least) chosen not to and I think they should be applauded for that. DFDS appear to have their passenger ships flying either the Danish, British or French flag.

I do appreciate that to many people the flag of the vessel is a complete irrelevance and that it should not detract from the safety of the vessel or the travelling experience in any way. But I do think it is symbolic of a kind of 'race to the bottom' on pay and conditions and a sign that an operator has little or no values aside from maximising profits. I find that very sad and cynical and personally it deters me from using such operators. An operator like P&O should be proud to fly the red ensign and the government should be doing all it can to encourage ship owners to do so, regardless of Brexit or anything else.

I see you're point and in most circumstances it's probably true but in some instances it does have an advantage. When we travelled to Zeebrugge from Hull all of the guest service staff were Filipino. All of them I spoke to said that the ship is so clean and tidy as for 6 months a year it's their home and is treated as such and that they have little financial outlay allowing them to take 90% of their earnings home with them.

We had no problem offering tips either as the often used customer service term 'added value' was true to every member of staff who looked after us.

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7 minutes ago, jonno said:

I see you're point and in most circumstances it's probably true but in some instances it does have an advantage. When we travelled to Zeebrugge from Hull all of the guest service staff were Filipino. All of them I spoke to said that the ship is so clean and tidy as for 6 months a year it's their home and is treated as such and that they have little financial outlay allowing them to take 90% of their earnings home with them.

We had no problem offering tips either as the often used customer service term 'added value' was true to every member of staff who looked after us.

On the Zeebrugge route, the Pride of York is Bahamas flagged but the Pride of Bruges is Dutch flagged. I know the latter vessel has Dutch officers and Filipino crew, presumably the ‘York’ is the same but with British officers.

If it’s okay to have one ship under Dutch registry, why can’t the other still be British?

 

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14 minutes ago, Ryan_H said:

On the Zeebrugge route, the Pride of York is Bahamas flagged but the Pride of Bruges is Dutch flagged. I know the latter vessel has Dutch officers and Filipino crew, presumably the ‘York’ is the same but with British officers.

If it’s okay to have one ship under Dutch registry, why can’t the other still be British?

 

Good question, she was originally Dutch owned so maybe there's something in the provenance?

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It's the same with the Rotterdam boats too. PO Rotterdam is Dutch flagged, PO Hull is Bahamas flagged.  

Crew of the "British" boats tends to be a mixture of  British officers and mechanical crew, although last time I was on PO Hull last year think she had an Irish and a Dutch Master. 

Hotel and restaurant crew tend to be Spanish and Portuguese with a few Brits involved too.

We've always tended to fine that the Dutch flagged boats tends to edge it in terms of customer service and cleanliness for some reason. 

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According to what P&O said to Shippax it's about "fewer inspections and delays" and "favourable tax tonnage arrangements" due to Cyprus being in the EU.

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Most likely down to tax reasons. For example, it may be possible for crew to be paid free of income tax with a CY registered vessel.  As an aside, Ulysses and W.B. Yeats are both registered in Cyprus even though Irish Ferries, and it's parent, Irish Continental Group are registered in Ireland.

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