P&O sparked national outrage in march when it sacked almost 800 members of staff with immediate effect. It terminated the contracts of long-serving, hard-working employees with the plan to replace them with cheaper agency workers.
Because vessels are not based in a particular country, they are not subjected to national laws such as the minimum wage.
P&O had been planning to pay agency workers as little as £1.80 an hour for their employment.
Ministers warned P&O at the time of the scandal to reverse its decision to hire agency staff on such little play or face being hit with new legislation.
After the ferry firm failed to back down, the Government today confirmed its crackdown plans.
In the Queen’s Speech the Government unveiled its Harbours (Seafarers’ Remuneration) Bill.
The legislation, which will be debated and voted on in Parliament in the months ahead aims to protect seafarers working aboard vessels visiting UK ports.
It gives ports the power to refuse access to ferry services that do not pay an equivalent to the National Minimum Wage to seafarers while in UK waters.
The National Minimum Wage was increased by 6.6 percent to £9.50 an hour from April 2022.
Ministers have already applied the National Minimum Wage to all seafarers working on domestic ferry services and on offshore support vessels serving oil and gas installations in the UK continental shelf.