FerriesP&O FerriesPast and Present

MV European Highlander – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9244116

MV European Highlander

© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton

Twin screw motor vessel built in 2002 at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shimonoseki, Japan (Yard No. 1069) as a passenger and vehicle roll-on/roll-off ferry.

Technical Data

  • Length: 162.7m (overall), m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 23.40m (extreme), m (overall)
  • Depth: 15.55m
  • Draught: 5.50m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 21,188 gross, 9,516 net, 28456t (deadweight)
  • Engines: Four Wartsila 12V38 diesels.
  • Power: 31680 kW
  • Speed: 22.5 knots
  • Capacity: 410 passengers, 375 cars or 85 x 15m freight units
  • Crew: 57
  • Call Sign: C6SN6
  • IMO number: 9244116
  • MMSI Number: 311404000
  • Registry: Nassau/Bahamas 🇧🇸
  • Near Sister-ships: European Ambassador (1068), European Causeway (1068)

Current AIS Location

Please note that this specific vessels AIS position data may be over an hour old and that the vessels position will only be displayed when it is within range of the VesselFinder AIS system. The AIS transponder/ship position data featured on this page is intended for information purposes only and it is in no way related to the 'Safety of Navigation at Sea'. All the AIS ship position data featured within this article is provided by VesselFinder and we are therefore not responsible for its content or its accuracy.


Ordered by P&O Irish Sea of the United Kingdom the vessel was built by Mitsubishi, Shimonoseki Shipyard, Japan. The vessel is the third of a trio of near-sisters and was designed by Danish naval architects Knud E Hansen as an efficient and fast RoPax vessel for operation on the Irish Sea on the Northern Corridor between Scotland and Northern Ireland. The first vessel is the EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY (1065) and the second is EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR (1068).

May 2002: Delivered to P&O Ferries Irish Sea Ltd., Nassau, Bahamas.

June 1st 2002: Left Shimonoseki bound for Larne.

June 26th 2002: Arrived Larne.

July 3rd 2003: Commenced service for P&O Irish Ferries between Larne – Cairnryan.

© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton

© Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale

January 8th 2005 (Sat 07.00hrs): Ran aground on rocks at Cairnryan Harbour in winds of up to 100 mph. The were 43 passengers and 57 crew stuck on the ship which set sail from Larne, at 0415 GMT. P&O expected a tug to be in place to refloat the vessel on the next high tide on Sunday morning. “The ship was sitting on a shingle shoreline with its anchors out”.

Date of accident: 08/01/05


This Ro-Ro ferry grounded while trying to berth at Cairnryan in very high winds. The vessel was successfully refloated the following day and no injuries or pollution resulted from the accident.

Action taken

The Chief Inspector wrote to P&O Ferries supporting the actions they have taken as a result of their internal inquiry and further commenting that, in future passage planning should include details of abort positions and the radar recorded by the vessel’s VDR (Voyage Data Recorder) should be properly adjusted and set at an appropriate range scale.

Internet Source

Internet Source

January 9th 2005: Refloated after being stuck for more than 30 hours. High tide, about 1100 GMT, Greenock based Svitzer Marine tugs POINT GILBERT and SHANNON hauled the ferry off the shingle beach at Cairnryan and assisted the vessel the short distance to her berth to allow her passengers and cargo to disembark. The operation took less than 30 minutes to complete.

January 10th 2005: After being freed from the beach at Cairnryan she made a run to Larne on the evening of 9/1/05 arriving at 1900. She loaded spare parts required for repairs and proceeded to dry dock at A&P Birkenhead at 2030.

January 10th 2005: Arrived at A & P Birkenhead for survey.

January 11th 2005: Departed A & P bound for Larne.

January 12th 2005: Resumed service Larne – Cairnryan.

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd  

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd  

© Trevor Kidd

July 13th 2006: Departed Larne, bound for A&P Falmouth for refit.

© Gordon Hislip © Gordon Hislip  

© Gordon Hislip

July 27th 2006: Returned to Larne after her overhaul in Falmouth berthing at MacKean Quay at 0845, then resumed  Larne – Cairnryan.

2015: Continues Larne – Cairnryan.

© Gordon Hislip

© Gordon Hislip

April 14th 2015 (07.30 hrs): Last service Larne (ex Cairnryan) then departed for dry-docking/refit/livery change (20.00.hrs)

April 15th 2015 (08.00 hrs): Entered dock at Birkenhead.

April 29th 2015 (20.30-21.00): Left dry-dock and shifted to wet basin

April 30th (21.00): Left wet basin for Larne.

© Robert Stanley © Robert Stanley  

© Robert Stanley © Robert Stanley  

© Robert Stanley  (all)

May 1st 2015 (08.30): Arrived Larne and resumed service (16.30).

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd  

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd  

© Trevor Kidd

February 23rd 2019: Cow catcher repairs at Larne.

May 16th 2019: Off service, sailed for overhaul at Birkenhead 1900hrs.

June 25th 2019: Left Birkenhead.  Dry dock extended due to longer than expected rudder repairs.

June 26th 2019: Arrived Larne.

June 28th 2019: Resumed service with 0730hrs ex Larne.  

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd

August 17th 2019: Experiencing bow thruster problems.

August 24th 2019: Bow thrusters back to normal

April 19th 2020: Underwater survey carried out at Larne

May 30th 2020: Off service for planned maintenance period. 

May 31st 2020: Returned to service.

June 30th 2020: Larne – Cairnryan sailings increased to 5 per day due to increasing freight demand.

July 4th 2020: Off service for planned maintenance.

July 5th 2020: Resumed service.

July 18th 2020: Off service for maintenance lay over.

© Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd

July 19th 2020: Resumed service.

December 23rd 2020: Missed 1 trip due to a propeller pitch control issue

April 2nd 2021: Came off service at Larne and sailed to Harland and Wolff’s Belfast Dry Dock for refit. Replaced by NORBANK.

April 23rd 2021: Resumed service Larne – Cairnryan.

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd

March 17th 2022: Instructed to come off service at Cairnryan as crews had been made redundant. 

March 26th 2022: Sailed to Larne to facilitate crew change and undergo MCA inspection.

April 23rd 2022: First sailing Larne – Cairnryan since enforced lay up.

© Trevor Kidd  © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd (Larne, 23/04/2022)

April 24th 2022: Returned to service.

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd (12/11/2022)

April 17th 2023: To Harland and Wolff, Belfast for refit.

May 11th 2023: Left Belfast.

© Luke Wilson  © Luke Wilson

© Luke Wilson (Belfast Loch, 11/05/2023) 

May 11th 2023: Arrived Larne to resume service.

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd (Larne, 28/05/2023)


© Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson

© Luke Wilson

September 27th 2023: Single service Larne – Cairnryan cancelled owing to “Storm Agnes”.

© Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson

© Luke Wilson (01/10/2023)

© Luke Wilson © Luke Wilson

🆕 © Luke Wilson (03/04/2024)

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Aubrey Dale, Gordon Hislip, Robert Stanley, Luke Wilson and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

Special thanks to Trevor Kidd.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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