P&O Ferries will send four ships from its Irish Sea fleet to the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead over the next two months for £1.2 million of re-fit work.

The ferry and logistics company has agreed for its two ships on the Liverpool-Dublin route – the 17,500 ton sister vessels Norbay and Norbank – to go to the Merseyside yard for 16 days of work each starting today. Neptune Aegli has been brought in as cover for the duration of their absence.

Next month, P&O Ferries’ two ships on the Larne-Cairnryan route – the 21,000gt European Highlander and her sister vessel European Causeway – will sail to Birkenhead for 18 days of re-fit work apiece. While they are away European Seaway, which P&O Ferries usually deploys as an accompanied freight-only vessel carrying up to 200 passengers on the English Channel, will travel to the Northern Corridor to cover for them.

The programme, which comprises hull repairs, blast and paint jobs and steel deck renewals, will be completed in its entirety by early June. This will be the first time the ships have been re-fitted since 2015.

John Garner, Fleet Director at P&O Ferries, said: “We are delighted to be working with Cammell Laird, which has established itself as a leading British yard and is at the forefront of training up the next generation of skilled British shipyard workers.”

“Our team, led by Fleet Operations Manager for the Irish Sea Ian Robinson, has been pre-planning the work meticulously and this will minimise the length of time that the individual ships are out of service. Our customers should be assured that highly effective covering ships will be brought onto our Larne-Cairnryan and Liverpool-Dublin routes for the duration.”

Mike Hill, Operations Director at Cammell Laird, said: “Cammell Laird are really pleased to again be working with one of our long established customers. P&O Ferries have contributed to our success over many years and for this we are hugely thankful. The awarding of four ships is fantastic for us and certainly assists us further with the continued development of our business and its people.”