Category Archive Listing:


Norman Spirit © Ray Goodfellow

LD Lines

LD Lines was a French ferry company owned by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs operating routes in the English Channel, the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean. The company operated both RoRo and passenger ferry services. LD Lines commenced operations between Portsmouth and Le Havre in October 2005 following the withdrawal of the long-standing operations of P&O Ferries on this route.

© Ray Goodfellow

Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries is a division of Irish Continental Group (ICG) plc, an Irish maritime group. The company operates passenger and freight routes between Ireland, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. Irish Continental Line was formed in 1973 as a joint venture between Irish Shipping Limited, Fearnley & Eger and the Swedish company Lion Ferry. It originally operated on the Rosslare–Le Havre route. Irish Shipping Ltd went into liquidation in 1984 and Irish Continental Line was sold off in a management buyout and emerged as the Irish Continental Group. In 1992 the Irish Continental Group took over the British and Irish Steam Packet Company Limited, a nationalised company which traded under the name B&I Line which operated ferry services between Dublin and Holyhead and between Rosslare and Pembroke Dock. In 1995 the trading name of the B&I Line and ICG’s own ferry services were changed to Irish Ferries.

Roy Thornton Collection


Hoverspeed was a ferry company that operated on the English Channel from 1981 until 2005. The company was formed in 1981 by the merger of the rival hovercraft operations of Seaspeed and Hoverlloyd. On the 16th February 1984 Hoverspeed was sold to its directors for a nominal sum following losses of £3.2 million. In June 1986 Hoverspeed was sold to Sea Containers (the owners of Sealink British Ferries) for £5 million. In 1990 Sea Containers sold Sealink British Ferries to Stena Line, Hoverspeed and a number of other assets were excluded from the deal. In June 1991 Hoverspeed introduced the first Seacat services from Dover to Calais and Boulogne. October 1st 2000 saw the final hovercraft services from Dover, all services in future would be operated by Seacats and Superseacats. After years of losses due to strong competition and the loss of Duty Free, Hoverspeed announced that they would cease operations on the Dover-Calais route, ending over 40 years of service. The last ferry service was on November 7, 2005.

Nicolas Lévy Collection


Hoverlloyd operated a cross-Channel hovercraft service between Ramsgate and Calais. It operated four hovercraft and was a rival to Seaspeed (owned by British Rail). The origins of Hoverlloyd date back to 1964, when the Swedish Lloyd shipping company investigated the possibility of operating a hovercraft service. Together with Swedish American Line (owned by Brostroms Rederi AB), the Cross-Channel Hover Services Ltd was registered as a British company in 1965. The name was changed to Hoverlloyd Ltd in 1966. In 1976 Brostroms Rederi AB purchased the entire operation. By 1980, it was obvious that cross Channel hovercraft operation could only continue economically if the two operating companies merged, with consequent rationalisation. Therefore, Hoverlloyd and Seaspeed merged in 1981, to create Hoverspeed. The former Hoverlloyd services from Ramsgate were subsequently withdrawn after the 1982 season and the four ex-Hoverlloyd craft were thereafter based at Dover until their withdrawal from service between 1983 and 1993.

© Andreas Wörteler


Holyman was an Australian company that operated cargo ships and fast ferries in Australia and other countries worldwide. The company was born from the Shipping and Development Division of global transport group, TNT, and was floated on the Australian Stock Exchange as an independent entity in 1994. Assets included in the original stock market floatation included a 50% stake in Condor Ferries. In 1997 the company entered into a joint venture with Sally Line to operate fast ferry services between Ostend, Dunkerque and Ramsgate as Holyman Sally Ferries, replacing the previous services of Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT) and those of Sally Line. Following huge financial losses in 1998 the company was on the brink of financial collapse, its 50% stake in Condor Ferries was sold to Commodore Shipping and the companies two thirds stake in Holyman Sally Line was acquired by Hoverspeed with the Ostend service transferred to Dover. By late 1999, Holyman was just a shell with most of its assets sold to stave off bankruptcy. In 2000 what was left of Holyman was acquired by the Lang Corporation.

© Simonwp


Ferryways NV was a Belgian RoRo ferry operator. They commenced operations on the 5th January 2000 and operated roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) services to Immingham, Tilbury and Ipswich from Ostend. The company was the target of a takeover by two subsidiaries of Cobelfret (CLdN) on the 1st June 2007, however following financial issues the company ceased operations on the 14th June 2007 when they went into administration. Cobelfret (CLdN) commenced legal proceedings in Belgium against the sellers to recover the price paid for the Ferryways business, on the grounds that they fraudulently provided false information as to the financial circumstances of the company prior to the transaction. Cobelfret claimed that the liquidation of Ferryways was as a direct result of its financial position prior to the acquisition, and was not a consequence of any actions taken by Cobelfret following it’s acquisition.

Port of Dover

Port of Dover

The Port of Dover is the cross-channel port situated in Dover, Kent, south-east England. The port has been owned and operated by the Dover Harbour Board, a statutory corporation, since it was formed by Royal Charter in 1606 by King James I. During it’s existence the Dover Harbour Board has owned/operated numerous vessels in support of it’s activities and thats why it has it’s own special category on the website.



DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest shipping and logistics company. The company’s name is an abbreviation of Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab (literally The United Steamship Company). DFDS was founded in 1866. Today, DFDS operates a network of 25 routes with 50 freight and passenger ships in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and the English Channel. The company celebrated 150 years of operation in 2016.

© Ken Smith

Dart Line

Dart Line was established in 1996 by Jacobs Holdings PLC following the acquisition of Thames Europort at Dartford. Dart Line principally catered in the carriage of unaccompanied trailer traffic from Thames Europort, Dartford, United Kingdom to Vlissingen, Holland and Zeebrugge in Belgium.

Current Local Ferry Fleet

Current Local Ferry Fleet

Lots of vessels have served the Port of Dover over the years and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which vessels are currently serving the ferry routes to and from Dover. This category contains all the vessels in the current local ferry fleets serving the routes to Calais and Dunkerque.

© Ray Goodfellow

Cruise Ships

A cruise ship or cruise liner is a passenger ship used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship’s amenities are a part of the experience, as well as the different destinations, i.e., ports of call, along the way. Transportation is not the only purpose of cruising, particularly on cruises that return passengers to their originating port, with the ports of call usually in a specified region of a continent. On average the Port of Dover sees over a hundred cruise ship calls a year.

Condor Ferries

Condor Ferries

Condor Ferries is an operator of passenger and freight ferry services between the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey. The company also operates a service between the Channel Islands and St Malo in France.

© Ken Larwood

Commodore Ferries

Commodore began operations in 1947 as Commodore Cruises, when they operated a number of ex-Royal Navy Fairmile ‘B’ craft that were used on excursions from South East England resorts. In 1950, the first cargo vessel joined the fleet. Ownership of Commodore passed to Mansfield Markham in 1960. In 1962, the Alderney Tramp Shipping Company was acquired. British Railways withdrew their ferry Brittany in 1963, and a new company, Condor Limited, was formed to operate high speed services to France with a hydrofoil. Control passed to Jack Norman in 1965, who then acquired Channel Transporters (Portsmouth), allowing Commodore to become major players in the Channel Islands freight markets. Sealink (British Railways) introduced first car ferries to Channel Island services in 1973, followed by multipurpose ferries also carrying trucks in 1977. A major Sealink freight customer was Mainland Market Deliveries (MMD), who were specialised fruit carriers. They transferred their business to Channel Islands Ferries in 1985. Channel Islands Ferries made significant inroads into the Sealink traffic to the islands, and in 1986 a joint company British Channel Islands Ferries (BCIF) was formed. However strike action by Sealink crews prevented Sealink ships from joining the new company, and Sealink eventually lost its entire shareholding. Following the failure to provide a joint service with Sealink to the Channel Islands, BCIF were left to operate services on their own. However, they chose to concentrate all their services on Poole, abandoning Portsmouth and Weymouth, and leaving MMD without a service from their port of choice, Portsmouth. In collaboration with Commodore, MMD chartered a ship and began a freight-only ro-ro service. On 1st August 1989, MMD were taken over by Commodore. In 2004, the group was rebranded with Commodore Ferries coming under the Condor Ferries group name. The group was sold once again in 2004 to the Royal Bank of Scotland’s venture capital arm for £240 million. In August 2008 the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 2 (MEIF 2) announced that it had agreed to acquire Admiral Holdings Limited, the owner and operator of the Condor Group.