P&O Ferries: German fossil hunter who travelled to Yorkshire 'disgusted' after being stuck in UK

A 75-year-old from Germany has spoken of his disgust after P&O’s sackings cost him hundreds to get home and claimed they have not acknowledged his compensation request.

Jeffrey Mitchell, from Gütersloh, said he and two friends eventually booked an alternative more expensive ferry two days before he was due to travel because of the uncertainty.

The former trade unionist added he was appalled at the sacking of almost 800 crews, its effect on tourists and on getting aid to Ukraine. P&O have not responded to a request to comment on the claims.

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It comes as P&O continues to only run partial ferry services between Hull and Rotterdam following the sackings, including of 82 crew based locally, on Thursday, March 17.

The Pride of Hull has been taken to Rotterdam

The Pride of Hull remains berthed in Rotterdam's Europort and is not expected to sail until at least Monday (Apr 4) while her sister ship continues to run the route.

Meanwhile, the Insolvency Service has launched criminal and civil probes into the sackings after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps vowed to crack down on employment practices in the maritime industry.

P&O Chief Executive Peter Hebblethwaite wrote to Mr Shapps claiming the company had no choice but to sack crews without warning because it faced collapse if not.

Mr Mitchell and his friends were eventually forced to take a ferry to Amsterdam from Newcastle to get back to the continent.

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The cost of a single ticket was €321 (£270), more than the cost of his return ticket for the P&O ferry at €307 (£258). He has since written to P&O asking for a refund and £300 compensation and has vowed never to sail with them again.

The 75-year-old said he was unaware of the sackings when he arrived in Hull aboard the Pride of Rotterdam on Friday, March 18.

He added he was shocked when he learned of what had happened and began worrying about how he would get home.

Mr Mitchell said: “When I arrived I thought we’d be going back on Saturday, March 26. Me and my friends came to do fossil hunting on the East Yorkshire coast, I’ve sailed with P&O for years, probably about 25 times in total.

“No one told us what was going to happen with the sackings, I only found out after my wife heard about it and messaged me.

“I first thought things seemed strange when I couldn’t access my booking details online, I contacted P&O and they said there must be a problem with the browser I was using but I use that one all the time and I’ve never had any issues with it.

“There wasn’t really any information available at all about what was happening, I just kept looking at the P&O Ferries Updates Twitter account. On that account they’d say in the morning services were sailing in then by the evening it would say they were suspended.

“And they were selling tickets for services on their website before cancelling them at the last minute, it’s the bloody cheek of it. Eventually decided to go from a different port because we weren’t sure what was happening and my friend needed to sail on the Saturday to be back at work.

“I was worried and we were all wondering whether we’d get back at all. Since I returned to Germany I’ve had no communication with them at all.

“I think what’s happened to the crews and to tourists like me is sickening, it’s absolutely pathetic. What they did to the crews was disgusting and it broke the law, the British Government should be looking into this.

“And I know from speaking to some people on board the ferry on the way to the UK that they were carrying vehicles taking aid to Ukraine, so that was affected as well.”