No action against P&O over alleged employment law breaches
Disgraced ferry company P&O will not be prosecuted for alleged breaches of Bermuda employment laws.
The company, which provides passenger ferry services out of Britain to France, Holland and Ireland, made news in March when it dismissed almost 800 seafarers without notice.
The mass sackings caused a storm of anger in the UK, with claims that the company should have notified the British Government of the dismissals at least 45 days in advance.
P&O bosses rejected that allegation, stating that, because its ferries were registered outside the UK, they were not subject to UK laws.
But the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority later revealed that the company could have flouted Bermuda laws. One of P&O’s passenger ships, Norbay, is registered in Bermuda and therefore is subject to the island’s regulations.
Francis Richardson, chief executive officer of the BSMA, said: “At the time P&O acted, it was identified by Bermuda to be an apparent breach of the Bermuda Merchant Shipping (Seafarer’s Employment) Regulations 2013.
“This implements part of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 in Bermuda in that the period of notice required to terminate a seafarer’s employment agreement was not adhered to.
“This matter has been referred to the Department of Public Prosecutions for their review.”
But yesterday Cindy Clarke, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said that no further action would be taken on the matter.
Ms Clarke said: “Our department received a preliminary investigative report at the end of April.
“We reviewed the matter and based on our examination of the evidence provided, and the relevant legislation no public prosecution was approved.