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Power has been restored to a P&O ferry after three lifeboats were launched following a "mechanical issue" in the Irish Sea.

It was adrift five miles off Larne in Northern Ireland for more than an hour on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Marine Traffic site.

P&O tweeted that tugs had been deployed to tow it back to port.

However, shortly after, the coastguard said: "The European Causeway has restored power and is now heading into Larne under its own power following an earlier mechanical failure."

It said the cruise ship Queen Victoria and local coastguard and lifeboat teams were standing by, but that there was no danger to passengers.

Three lifeboats were sent to the scene between 2pm and 3pm, the RNLI said.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has been inspecting the firm’s ships following safety concerns prompted by P&O’s controversial mass redundancy.

The ship that developed problems, the European Causeway, was only released from detention on 8 April.

It was banned from sailing after an initial inspection on 25 March found 31 safety failings.

The ship was eventually allowed to operate again on the Larne-Cairnryan route following a reinspection.

‘Deeply concerning’ for crew and passengers

P&O said an independent investigation would examine the cause of Tuesday’s power cut.

The company called it a "temporary mechanical issue" and said tugs remained on stand by as it continued towards the Northern Irish coast.

"There are no reported injuries onboard and all the relevant authorities have been informed. Once in dock a full independent investigation will be undertaken," it added.

The RMT union called the incident "deeply concerning, not least for the agency crew and passengers on board".

P&O caused an outcry after suddenly replacing almost 800 workers with cheaper agency staff on 17 March – a decision it later admitted was illegal.

The government’s business misconduct watchdog has launched criminal and civil probes into the company.

All of P&O’s ferries must pass an inspection before being allowed to sail again.

Dover-based ships the Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain also did not pass initial inspections.

However, it’s understood freight services to Calais are set to resume by Wednesday, with passenger services running again early next week.

© Sky News 2022