MV Ostend Spirit
ex Pride of Calais, P&OSL Calais, PO Calais, Pride of Calais
Schichau -Unterweser AG Bremerhaven
Steel triple screw motor vessel, built Schichau-Unterweser Ag, Bremen-Vegesack, Germany in 1987 as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry. Engined by Sulzer Bros. Ltd., Winterthur. (Yard No. 94). Launched April 11th, 1987.
- Length: 169.60 m (overall)
- Breadth of Hull: 28.27 m (extreme)
- Draught: 6.12 m (maximum)
- Tonnage: 26,433 gross, 11,399 net, 4,213 deadweight
- Engines: 3 x CCM Sulzer ZA40S Diesels
- Power: 23,170kW
- Speed: 22 knots
- Capacity: 2,290 passengers, 650 cars/100 x 15 m freight units
- Call Sign: GJLY
- MMSI Number: 232001710
- IMO Number: 8517748
- Registry: United Kingdom
- Sister Vessels: Pride of Dover
April 11th 1987: Launched as a “Chunnel Beater”. First vessel of the fleet to appear in the livery of the new company ownership, P&O European Ferries (Dover) Limited.
© Christian Eckardt (left) and © Wim den Dulk (right)
© Christian Eckardt
November 27th 1987: Delivered to P&O European Ferries, Dover, England.
November 28th 1987: Left builders yard for Dover.
November 29th 1987: Arrived in Dover.
1987: Trials in Zeebrugge
Nigel Thornton Collection
December 2nd 1987: Trials at Calais.
© Ken Larwood
December 4th 1987: Maiden voyage to Calais.
December 14th 1987: Commenced service between Dover – Calais.
© Brian Fisher (both)
December 31st 1987: Registered to P&O European Ferries Ltd., Dover, England.
February 1988: Laid up at Wilton Feijenoord, Scheidam Harbour near Rotterdam, owing to seaman’s strike
June 29th 1988: Returned to service.
1990/1991?: “Club Class” lounge added and modified forward superstructure.
© Andreas Wörteler
March 3rd 1998: P&O European Ferries and Stena Line merge there operations on the short sea. The new company was called P&O Stena Line. Registered as a British private sector company, 60% owned by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) and 40% owned by Stena Line AB of Sweden. The new company took over the Dover and Newhaven services of P&O European Ferries and Stena Line.
December 1998: Renamed P&OSL CALAIS .
April 2002: P&O announced its intention to buy out the 40% stake in P&O Stena Line owned by Stena.
July 16th 2002: Out of service for nine days after an accident in Calais harbour. The vessel was going astern from berth 8, where the swing is very tight, and unfortunately grounded as a result of which she damaged a rudder and was sent to Dunkirk for repairs. Although initially the problem looked very serious, she was back in service for the peak summer season.
August 2002: The P&O Stena Line alliance ended with P&O purchasing Stena’s 40% share in the business. The Dover-Calais fleet adopted the appropriate P&O “Pride of ….” names, losing there P&OSL prefixes. All vessels had their Stena house flag removed from their funnels, along with the deletion of the name Stena from their hulls. In future the company would trade as P&O Ferries.
Dover Ferry Photos Library
© Andreas Wörteler
15th October 2002: Renamed PO Calais .
February 2003: Renamed Pride of Calais .
March 2004: During her refit she had her bridge wings enclosed.
December 27th 2004: Left Dover for refit on the Tyne at A&P Hebburn for two weeks.
January 28th 2005: Arrived back in Dover.
© Nigel Thornton
January 4th 2006: Noted being washed down in A&P’s dry dock at Hebburn mid-morning on January 4th. It had been scheduled to arrive at 04-00.
January 25th 2006: Left dry dock at Hebburn and is at present (11-30-25-01-06) berthed at Whitehill Point, North Shields, in front of the ‘Duke of Scandinavia’. She is due to leave the Tyne at 17-59 today.
January 27th 2006: Returned from refit.
© Nigel Thornton
February 21st 2006: Machinery failure occurred whilst berthed in Dover, resulting in the collapse of the gangway.
“Date of accident: 21/02/06
The Ro-Ro ferry Pride of Calais was allocated a lay-by berth at the Eastern Arm in Dover to carry out defect maintenance. The ship moored at 1430 using a mix of ropes and wires. The forward moorings comprised 2 head lines, 3 breast lines (1 wire and 1 rope on a bight) and 3 back springs (1 wire and 1 rope on a bight). The after moorings were arranged with 2 wire stern lines, 2 breast lines (1 wire and 1 rope) and 2 back springs (1 wire and 1 rope). The ropes on the forward mooring deck were left on the winch warping drum ends and backed up on bitts with figure of eight turns around a single bit.
Throughout the afternoon the wind was north easterly at 34 knots. At about 1810, broken strands were found on one of the after stern wires. A decision was made to replace the wire but no consideration was given to sending out an additional wire prior to removing the damaged one. At 1834, whilst the damaged wire was being replaced, a ferry entered the eastern breakwater, the wind increased to 37 knots and the single remaining stern wire parted. This resulted in the ship’s stern leaving the quay, the gangway being dragged off the quay and the forward breast rope parting. In the meantime, the remaining 2 after wires ran off the winch drums as the brakes rendered. Weight then came onto the after ropes which caused the drum ends to rotate the winch motor backwards because the ropes were not properly backed up on bitts. This caused the winch motor casings to become over-pressurised due to shock loading, causing them to fracture.
Fortunately a tug was in the immediate vicinity and a short time later the vessel was re-secured alongside.
The Chief Inspector has acknowledged a series of measures taken by P&O Ferries to prevent re-occurrence of this accident. However, the Chief Inspector has also advised against the practice, where possible, of;
Routinely leaving ropes on drum ends in favour of securing ropes on bitts
Mixing ropes and wires for the same type of mooring i.e breast, stern, head and spring lines.”
Extract from MAIB Preliminary Investigation
© Robert Fournier
18th January 2007: Refitted at A&P Falmouth. Arrived back in Dover on the 12th February 2007.
14th February 2007: Following some severe technical problems the Pride of Calais is in need of an emergency dry docking at Harland and Wolff in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
16th February 2007: Arrived in Belfast, Northern Ireland at 12:00pm and entered Harland and Wolff’s dockyard. The reason for the visit, “Vessel to proceed directly to a nominated dry dock facility to examine and deal with damaged fwd rudder skeg iwo frames 229-230” (Lloyds Class Direct Live via Equasis)
Belfast © Aubrey Dale
Belfast © Trevor Kidd (Larne Ferry Web)
18th February 2007: Departed Harland and Wolff at 13:45 for Dover.
Departing Belfast © Alan Geddes
19th February 2007: Arrived back in Dover following her emergency dry docking at Harland and Wolff in Belfast. Re-entered service on the 23:00 ex Dover.
© M Fournet
January 13th 2008: ETD from Tyne given as 10.00hrs 14/01/2008
January 14th 2008: Left Tyne for Dover and resumed.
February 28th 2009: To ARNO, Dunkerque for hull survey.
13th June 2008: P&O announce they have placed an order with Aker Yards of Finland for two 49,000 GRT vessels for there Dover to Calais operation. The first of these units will be delivered in December 2010 with the second unit coming on stream in September 2011. These two new vessels will replace the Prides of Dover and Calais.
March 1st 2009: Left ARNO and returned to Dover.
March 17th 2009: To ARNO, Dunkerque.
© Robert Fournier
March 26th 2009: Returned to Dover.
February 23rd 2010: Left Dover for refit on the Tyne
March 8th 2010: Left the Tyne.
March 9th 2010: Arrived back in Dover and resumed service.
February 28th 2011: Stood down from service for refit at A&P Falmouth.
March 1st 2011: Entered dry dock number 2 at A&P Falmouth.
March 11th 2011: Returned to Dover and re-entered service between Dover and Calais.
October 23rd 2011: Lost power on the approach to berth 5 in Calais. As a result she made heavy contact with the berth and damaged her bow spade. Repairs carried out alongside in Dover.
Undergoing repairs in Dover 24/10/11 © Ray Goodfellow
October 25th 2011: Owing to Seafrance strike action she was pressed into service operating as a stern loader.
February 9th 2012: Replaced on the Dover-Calais passenger service by the Spirit of France.
February 12th 2012: Freight mode relieving the European Seaway.
February 20th 2012: Promoted to passenger service to cover the refit of the Pride of Kent.
March 6th 2012: Departed Dover for refit at A&P Falmouth.
March 7th 2012: Arrived in Falmouth.
March 22nd 2012: Departed A&P Falmouth for Dover.
March 23rd 2012: Arrived back in Dover.
March 31st 2012: Promoted to passenger service to cover the refit of the Spirit of Britain.
In passenger mode departing Calais 03/04/12 © Ray Goodfellow
April 26th 2012: Entered service as the dedicated freight vessel replacing the European Seaway.
Back in freight mode, Calais approaches 14/05/12 © Ray Goodfellow
August 31st 2012: Promoted to passenger service following the breakdown of the Spirit of Britain.
September 2nd 2012: Returned to ‘Freight Only’ mode.
October 18th 2012: It was announced that the Pride of Calais would be withdrawn from service and laid up in Tilbury.
“Time has caught up with this grand old lady, The Pride Of Calais, and she has done us proud. Her final sailing is set to be the 14.50hrs departure from Calais to Dover on Saturday 20 October, due to arrive in Dover at 15.20hrs local time. She’ll then be de-stored and sent for lay-up whilst we consider her future.
We’ve been pondering how many passengers the ship has carried since she came into service in 1987 and the consensus seems to be in the region of 40 million, with superb reliability, and sailing something like 2,500,000 miles. Surely one of the most successful ferries ever built for the Dover Strait.” – P&O Ferries Facebook 18/10/12
October 20th 2012: Departed Dover at 1130 for her final commercial crossing to Calais with P&O Ferries. Operated the return from Calais at 14:50 (local time) arriving in Dover at 15:20. After discharging her final cargo she proceeded to Cruise Terminal Two.
The last vehicle boards (left) and under the command of Captain Robin Bent the Pride of Calais departs Calais for the last time. © Ray Goodfellow
© Paul Cloke (all)
October 23rd 2012: “Finished with Engines” at 17:05
December 18th 2012: Announced that she had been acquired by Transeuropa Ferries NV on a 3 year bareboat charter-purchase agreement. Renamed OSTEND SPIRIT
December 19th 2012: Left Tilbury for Ostend.
© Paul Cloke (all)
December 19th 2012: Called at Ramsgate for berthing trials.
December 19th 2012: Arrived in Ostend.
December 20th 2012: Conducted berthing trials in Ostend.
Ostend 20/12/12 © Michael Elias
January 4th 2012: Left Ostend for refit/dry-docking in Antwerp.
January 4th 2012: Arrived in Antwerp. It is anticipated that she would return to Ostend on January 14th 2012.
© Andreas Wörteler (both) Antwerp 04/01/2013
© Luc Cassier (all)
January 19th 2013: Left Antwerp for Ostend.
January 19th 2013: Arrived back in Ostend
© Cedric Hacke (all)
© Robert Pirotte
February 1st 2013 (01.38 hrs LT): Inaugural arrival at Ramsgate
February 1st 2013: First “daylight” arrival at Ramsgate.
First “daylight” arrival at Ramsgate
© Nigel Thornton (all)
18th April 2013: Departed Ramsgate at 08:30 (BST) for Tilbury, Essex. This was due to P&O Ferries re-possessing the ship for unpaid charter fees by Trans Europa Ferries.
Ostend Spirit laid up in Tilbury July 2013 © John Tweddell (all)
October 30th 2013: Reportedly departing Tilbury bound for Aliaga.
October 30th 2013: Departed Tilbury in the early evening for Aliaga, Turkey. Her ETA in Aliaga is the 10th November 2013. Upon arrival in Aliaga the vessel will be beached and broken up for recycling.
November 13th 2013: Beached at Aliaga at 12:00 GMT. Her AIS transponders stated that her destination was “Nirvana”.
The End – Aliaga, Turkey
The Ostend Spirit being beached in Aliaga, Turkey on the 13/11/13 © Selim San
© Selim San (both)
© Selim San (photo received 17/01/2014)
For those wishing to remember the Pride of Dover and Pride of Calais you may be interested to know that Ferry Publications have recently published a book entitled ‘Remembering the Chunnel Beaters’.
Written by local author John Hendy the book covers the service lives of both of these iconic vessels from their entry into service until their ultimate ending on a beach in Turkey. Priced at £9.95 this 60 page softback book is richly illustrated throughout and is highly recommended by myself.
For more information and to order your copy please visit the Ferry Publications website.
All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Micke Asklander (Faktaomfartyg), Paul Bilbrough ( onboardpoferries.com ), Brian Fisher, Luc Cassier, Paul Cloke, “cruiser”, Aubrey Dale, Christian Eckardt, Michael Elias, M Fournet, Robert Fournier, Alan Geddes, Cedric Hacke, Trevor Kidd, Ken Larwood, Robert Pirotte John Tweddell and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature. A sincere thanks goes to Selim San for covering her final moments.