The trade association representing ferry companies shipping passengers and goods in and out of the UK has called on the government to provide financial support to keep services running.
According to the UK Chamber of Shipping, a steep drop in passenger numbers because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic meant it was quickly becoming cheaper to stop using vessels.
The group said that services were "just days away from being severely reduced." The Department for Transport announced it will continue to engage with companies. Up to 50% of the UK's food is imported.
P&O Ferries, which carries ~15% of the imported goods (including medicines and food) announced the suspension of company's passenger shipping operations (fleetwide) and furloughing 1000+ staff-crew, using the UK Government's job retention scheme.
It is not clear exactly what form the support could take. Different companies have different needs but it is thought the industry could ask for hundreds of millions of pounds to stay afloat.
For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.