Over the last few days two P&O ferries, the Canterbury and the Burgundy, have come to take haven in Leith while they are not needed for their usual voyages.

The arrival of the Pride of Burgundy at the weekend caused a bit of a stir, as the ferry’s engines have now been running since the ship’s arrival, leading to local residents in Western Harbour making a formal complaint to Forth Ports and to The City of Edinburgh Council.

One resident, Chris Ashurst, told The Edinburgh Reporter: “I am certainly not happy – neither are many of the residents in Western Harbour after a third night of disturbed sleep.

“The disturbance caused to all residents in Western Harbour is unacceptable .

“We have several key NHS and other workers living here.

“It is heartless and careless on the part of the port to cause such added disturbance at this time when they need rest.

“The lack of action on the part of a company who has acknowledged responsibility give an appearance of arrogance and an complete abrogation of responsibility.”

After a couple of nights of noise and vibration from the ship’s engines causing a disturbance, the noise is not yet at an end. The engines were switched off temporarily on Sunday morning, but that was only a short reprieve.

Photo of the Canterbury courtesy of Chris Ashurst

We have been told by Forth Ports that the ferry’s engines will not be running once both ships are in port and in position at their berths. The company explained that there is a lot to do when the ship comes into berth to transfer the power over to a generator. The second ship arrived just after noon today.

A spokesperson from Forth Ports (owners of The Port of Leith) said: “During these unprecedented times, Forth Ports has been helping our maritime colleagues by providing safe haven for a number of vessels during the lockdown, for example the four Fred Olsen vessels that are currently anchored in the Forth Estuary. 

“We will be berthing two ferries owned by P&O in the Port of Leith. One arrived on Saturday and a second has just arrived today. We have a strong Group relationship with P&O who operate a freight ferry service out of our port at Tilbury on the Thames.

“The engines run until the ship’s power is switched over to a generator. This does take a bit of time, but the engine noise will stop when they are switched off.

“We thank the local community for their patience as we go about our providing assistance to our customers, ship owners and seafarers in what are unprecedented and challenging times for parts of the maritime industry during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Canterbury is a cross channel ferry launched in 1991, originally serving hate Dover to Zeebrugge freight route. The Burgundy is a small shop which carries 1420 passengers and 530 cars and is usually plying the Channel between Dover and Calais.

Thank you to Chris Ashurst for the photo above.

The Pride of Burgundy in Leith PHOTO ©2020 The Edinburgh Reporter