P&O Ferries to re-register liners to save money

A P&O Ferry in Hull
Image caption The Pride of Hull can hold up to 1,360 passengers

Two Hull-based ferries are being re-registered in the Bahamas in a bid to save money.

P&O Ferries is changing the status of the Pride of Hull and the Pride of York to avoid increased wage costs, if changes are made to employment laws.

Brian Rees from P&O said there would be no implications for passengers and the service would continue as normal.

Russ Garbutt, a former master on the Pride of York, said it was a "very sad day".

The Pride of Hull and the Pride of York are currently registered under the British flag.

Once they have been re-registered, the two liners will sail under the flag of the Bahamas.

'Won't go down well'

So-called "flags of convenience" enable shipping companies to employ crew members who operate under different working practices, at cheaper rates.

Mr Rees said: "It's to protect us, really, against possible changes in employment legislation which would take our wage bill up.

"We're not quite certain how it will pan out yet but the concern is, we take a lot of temps on who are employed through agencies but they'll often be paid at a lower rate than our own core crew.

"If we have to equalise that in the future, our wage bill would rocket and we just can't afford that."

Mr Garbutt said: "The Pride of Hull was very much showing the flag for Hull and to change that flag and the port of registry is a very sad day.

"It certainly won't go down very well with the people of Hull and the area.

"Under the Tonnage Tax regime there were benefits to remain under the British flag. I fail to see why P&O wish to move outside of that regime because there are great benefits attached to it, not just financial but also manning and training of young seafarers."

The two ships currently travel across the North Sea to the Netherlands and Belgium.

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