*Peel Ports prevented a P&O Ferries vessel from sailing
A key supply line linking Liverpool and Dublin has been indefinitely delayed after Peel Ports prevented a P&O Ferries vessel from sailing. Peel Ports is the owner of The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, which operates the docks at the Port of Liverpool.
The Norbay, a ropax vessel, is a key ship carrying food, medicine and other supplies between the port of Liverpool and the port of Dublin. However, it was stopped in Liverpool in Thursday morning after P&O was presented with a sudden demand for payment of almost £600,000.
P&O said it believed it owed much less than this amount and that the firm had been in ongoing discussions with the port authorities – until their key contact was furloughed and the port neglected to tell them. The Liverpool port authorities then unnecessarily escalated matters without any reasonable warning or proper procedure.
A spokesman for P&O said: “We have been in open discussions since this crisis began with all of our ports and network to ensure that we can manage payments while everyone deals with this unprecedented situation. We had asked for flexibility in the time required to pay but the Liverpool port refused to respond, even though we were committing to full payment. Then we learned that our point of contact had been furloughed and they didn’t tell us. The irresponsible and unnecessary actions of The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company Limited at a time of national crisis have closed an essential Liverpool-Dublin supply route, which means vital goods will not be able to flow between the UK,
Ireland and Europe.”