P&O to re-register ferries in the Bahamas

P&O Ferries are to re-register two of their best know vessels in the Bahamas as part of a cost cutting exercise. The Pride of Hull and Pride of York, currently registered under a British flag, will be re-registered as part of a bid to avoid increased wage costs due to a change in employment law.

It’s common, but controversial, practise for ships to sail under “flags of convenience” since it enables companies to employ crew at cheaper rates.

Brian Rees from P&O said: “It’s┬áto 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.”

Russ Garbutt, a former master on the Pride of York, 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 ferries currently sail on the popular Hull to Rotterdam and Hull to Zeebrugge routes (many people in Hull still refer to them affectionately under their old name “North Sea Ferries“).

More at the BBC.