P&O Ferries
Trucks disembark from the European Causeway ferry, operated by P&O Ferries, at the Port of Larne in the UK. Image Credit: Bloomberg

London: Dubai-owned P&O Ferries on Thursday suspended its passenger and freight ships but denied the group was heading into bankruptcy.

P&O Ferries operates four routes serving Britain, France, Ireland and the Netherlands.

“P&O Ferries is not going into liquidation,” the company owned by DP World said in a statement.

“We have asked all ships to come alongside (return to dock) in preparation for a company announcement.

“Until then, services from P&O will not be running and we are advising travellers of alternative arrangements.”

Britain’s Press Association newswire, citing an internal company statement, reported the announcement would seek to “secure the long-term viability of P&O Ferries”.

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Lynch said there is “growing speculation that the company are today planning to sack hundreds of UK seafarers and replace them with foreign labour”.

The company has been badly hit by fallout from COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions over the last two years.