P&O Ferries has suspended its sailings as it makes all UK seafaring employees redundant with immediate effect.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed that the business is not “sustainable” in its current form.
“In its current state, P&O Ferries is not a viable business,” they said.
“These circumstances have resulted in a very difficult but necessary decision, which was only taken after seriously considering all the available options.
“As part of the process we are starting today, we are providing 800 seafarers with immediate severance notices and will be compensating them for this lack of advance notice with enhanced compensation packages.”
Unions have instructed members to stage sit-ins onboard P&O vessels in response.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “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.”
Meanwhile, Mark Dickinson, general secretary of maritime union Nautilus International, said: “Be assured the full resources of Nautilus International stand ready to act in defence of our members.
“We believe it is in our members’ best interests to stay onboard until further notice.”