This will “secure the long-term viability of P&O Ferries”, it explained.
The statement added: “To facilitate this announcement all our vessels have been asked to discharge their passengers and cargo and standby for further instructions.
“This means we’re expecting all our ports to experience serious disruption today.”
P&O Ferries wrote on Twitter: “Regretfully, P&O Ferries services are unable to run for the next few hours.
“Our port teams will guide you and travel will be arranged via an alternative operator.
“We apologise for the inconvenience this will have on your journey plans.”
Responding to reports about the future of P&O, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We are deeply disturbed by growing speculation that the company are today planning to sack hundreds of UK seafarers and replace them with foreign labour.
“We have instructed our members to remain onboard and are demanding our members across P&O’s UK operations are protected, and that the Secretary of State intervenes to save UK seafarers from the dole queue.”
P&O Ferries has denied it is going into liquidation after suspending sailings.
A spokesman for the firm said: “P&O Ferries is not going into liquidation.
“We have asked all ships to come alongside, in preparation for a company announcement.
“Until then, services from P&O will not be running and we are advising travellers of alternative arrangements.”
P&O Ferries, which transports passengers and freight, is owned by Dubai-based logistics giant DP World.
It operates these four routes: Dover to Calais; Hull to Rotterdam; Liverpool to Dublin; and Cairnryan, Scotland to Larne, Northern Ireland.
Sailings between Hull and Zeebrugge, Belgium, were axed in January 2021.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, P&O Ferries warned in May 2020 that around 1,100 workers could lose their jobs as part of a plan to make the business “viable and sustainable”.
The company that would become P&O was founded in 1837 after signing a government contract to transport post by boat between London and the Iberian Peninsula.
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