P&O Ferries: Pride of Hull arrives without passengers into Rotterdam to go into dry dock

The Pride of Hull has arrived in Rotterdam after leaving the port of Hull on Wednesday night with a skeleton crew on board and no passengers.

It is believed to be going into dry dock in Europoort Rotterdam where new crew members will be trained.

The ferry had been berthed in Hull since last Thursday when 800 crew were sacked and replaced with cheaper agency workers, sparking outrage and protests.

Hull East MP Karl Turner said he suspects the motive for her leaving Hull was more to do with how expensive it is to berth her at King George Dock. He says he's working with Government Ministers to ensure the national minimum wage applies on international routes and says it can be done by making it a condition of the operator's licence.

Mr Turner said: "As I understand it the Maritime and Coastguard Agency have not said any of the crews are safe to go. They have simply given it the green light to sail out of Hull.

The MP said the saga had been the "worst self inflicted PR disaster" of any company since Gerald Ratner joking referred to one of his products as “total crap” in front of the great and good of Britain’s business world.

He said he'd been inundated with messages from disgusted constituents - including 16 who said they were cancelling cruises with P&O Cruises, despite their being an entirely separate company for more than 20 years.

He added: "What they were intending to do last Thursday was to train crew on board the vessel to the standard required then sail the ship - that went badly wrong.

Pride of Hull entering Europoort Rotterdam on Thursday morning Credit: VesselFinder

"They (P&O Ferries) will be losing millions of pounds a day all the time that vessel isn't in service. They will be desperate to get it back as soon as they can."

Mr Turner said legislating on the national minimum wage, currently £8.91, would remove the incentive for other operators to follow P&O Ferries' example.

There were only 82,000 seafarers left in the UK and further declines in their number could spell disaster as at time of war they had a vital role as an auxiliary Navy. During the Falklands War the Royal Navy requisitioned more vessels registered in Hull than from any other British port.

Trawlers, tugs and a North Sea Ferry, Norland, were manned by volunteers.

Pride of Hull at its berth in Hull Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

"I think the Government have woken up and thought this is very worrying," he added.

On Twitter one customer asked when services would be reinstated. The reply was: "We will update twitter as soon as we have more information."

A website tracking vessel movements showed Pride of Rotterdam still in Eurpoort on Thursday morning.

Pride of Rotterdam in Europoort Rotterdam on Thursday morning Credit: VesselFinder