99,900 Reasons for P&O Ferries to Install CCTV Cameras

Richard FearnsideIt was a dark night four and one-half years ago when 30 year-old Richard Fearnside disappeared from P&O Ferries' Pride of Kent ferry as it was sailing from Calais back to Dover. His girlfriend said that he was going to the top deck to smoke a cigarette. Richard never returned. P&O didn't sound an alarm until the ferry returned to port.

P&O Ferries could offer no explanation to Richard's parents, Bob and Marianne, regarding what happened to their son while the P&O ferry was cruising in the middle of the English Channel. Although other passengers and crew had disappeared from P&O ferries under mysterious circumstances in the past, the ferry company had not bothered to install a single CCTV camera on the decks of its fleet of P&O ships for safety and security purposes.

P&O chose instead to install surveillance cameras only in its duty free shops on the ferries. Jewelry and alcohol, it appears, are more precious to P&O than its customers.

Richard's mother, Marianne, wrote a letter to P&O Ferries CEO, Helen Deeble, about her son's disappearance and sought information. P&O sent a boorish response, not from Ms. Deeble, but from a public relations subordinate at the ferry company. The PR company man told her that installing safety cameras was a silly, impractical idea.

I sent an open letter to Ms. Deeble about the absence of CCTV cameras on the P&O ferries. Ms. Deeble chose to ignore my letter just like she initially ignored Marianne's letter.  

Marianne and Bob started a petition titled Install CCTV Cameras on Passenger Decks.  The public is asked to read the articles posted at that site and sign the petition for P&O to install CCTV cameras. Supporters Marianne and Bob Fearnsidecan also leave a reason why they are signing the petition. There are now over 99,900 signatures and over 99,900 reasons for doing so. Take a minute and read the reasons expressed on the change.org page. A few reasons to consider: 

  • If this can save one life it is worth any cost.
  • This is a sad end for a mother and father to never know what happened when something so simple may have helped to give some answers.
  • Ridiculous that CCTV watches over Duty Free Shop, but ignores passenger decks and safety.
  • It's imperative these cameras are installed there as been to many unexplained loss of people at sea.

Carnival Corporation named Ms. Deeble to it's Board of Directors last year. Carnival's fleet of cruise ships are largely not in compliance with the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act which required the installation of automatic man overboard systems whenever feasible. Unfortunately, she is not a director who will improve safety for Carnival's passengers. And being on the Carnival board will not lead her to take overdue action for passenger safety on  P&O Ferries.

But Richard's parents have continued their efforts, which are gaining traction. Representative James Carver told the parliament in Europe “(Richard's) name is added to an increasing list of missing ferry and cruise ship passengers, and I am humbled to be able to support his family’s campaign for mandatory CCTV and thermal imaging cameras on all ferries operating from British and EU ports," according to Kent Online

Let's move the petition past 100,000 supporters. Please sign here.  

Have a comment? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

The petition has reached 100,001 signatures!

Photo credit: Marianne and Bob Fearnside

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Doug - October 6, 2017 2:09 PM

I am certainly no expert in the cruising industry, but was curious how you went from a ferry issue and tied it to the cruise industry, so I did some poking around and cannot find that Carnival Cruises owns the company you are referencing here. The fact that it has the same logo does not point to the same ownership.

I understand that WikiPedia is certainly not always accurate, but i found this on WikiPedia:

"P&O (formally the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company) was a British shipping and logistics company dating from the early 19th century. Formerly a public company, it was sold to DP World in March 2006 for £3.9 billion. DP World currently operate three P&O branded businesses, P&O Ferries, P&O Maritime and P&O Heritage.

P&O Cruises was spun off from P&O in 2000, and is now owned and operated by Carnival Corporation & plc. The former shipping business, P&O Nedlloyd, was bought by and is now part of Maersk Line."

That being said, I agree that ferries should be required to have the same sort of man-overboard monitoring systems and cameras to confirm man overboard situations.

If you are a software developer and have experience in the ability to monitor the exterior of a cruise ship or ferry for conditions that would generate a true man-overboard condition via video and thermal imaging, you stand to make a fortune...


jim walker - October 10, 2017 8:44 AM

Carnival does not own P&O Ferries (not to be confused with P&O Cruises).

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