It was a dark night 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 vanished a year ago today.
It’s an anniversary date no parent wants.
For a year, Richard’s parents have faced what they believe to be P&O’s cover-up of his disappearance.
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 clod at the ferry company. The PR company man told her that installing safety cameras was a silly, impractical idea.
Last December, I sent an open letter to Ms. Deeble about the absence of CCTV cameras on the P&O ferries. There are huge cruise ships in the U.S. that have literally over 1,000 CCTV cameras installed on board. Ms. Deeble chose to ignore my letter just like she initially ignored Marianne’s letter.
Ignored by P&O, Marianne started a petition to require P&O Ferries to install CCTV cameras on its passenger decks. The petition resonated with the public. To date, over 95,000 people have signed the petition while making insightful and poignant comments explaining why safety camera are required. You can see the petition here.
The Fearnsides remain in the dark about what happened to Richard. P&O’s attitude toward them, and its irresponsible refusal to install cameras on its ships, ensure that other passengers will disappear without explanation.
Please take a moment to click on the petition. Please sign it. Please tell P&O why it should finally install cameras.
Please read a few of our other articles:
Bottom photo credit: Canterbury Times
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