FerriesP&O European FerriesP&O FerriesP&O Stena LinePast and PresentTownsend ThoresenTransEuropa Ferries (TEF)

MV Pride of Calais – Past and Present

IMO Number: 8517748

MV Ostend Spirit

ex Pride of Calais, P&OSL Calais, PO Calais, Pride of Calais

Schichau -Unterweser AG Bremerhaven

Schichau-Unterweser AG Bremerhaven

Steel triple screw ‘Chunnel Beater’ class motor vessel, built Schichau-Unterweser AG, Bremen-Vegesack, Germany (Yard No. 94) in 1987 as a passenger/roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry for the European Ferries Group (Townsend Thoresen)

Technical Data

  • 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: Dover/United Kingdom 🇬🇧, Ramsgate/United Kingdom 🇬🇧
  • Sister Ship: Pride of Dover (93)


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.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine

© Christian Eckardt  © Wim den Dulk

© Christian Eckardt (Left) and © Wim den Dulk (Right)

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

© Frank Heine  © Frank Heine

© Frank Heine

© Christian Eckardt

© 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

(Behind European Clearway) Nigel Thornton Collection

December 2nd 1987: Trials at Calais.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

December 4th 1987: Maiden voyage to Calais.

December 14th 1987: Commenced service between Dover – Calais.

December 31st 1987: Registered to P&O European Ferries Ltd., Dover, England.

February 1988: Laid up at Wilton Feijenoord, Schiedam Harbour near Rotterdam, owing to seamen’s strike

June 29th 1988: Returned to service.

© Brian Fisher  

© Brian Fisher (Calais, October, 1988)

© Andreas Wörteler  © Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

1990/1991?: “Club Class” lounge added and modified forward superstructure.

March 3rd 1998: P&O European Ferries and Stena Line merge their 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.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Calais, 13/04/1998)

© Pieter Inpyn  © Pieter Inpyn

© Pieter Inpyn (Calais, 01/07/1998)

December 1998: Renamed P&OSL CALAIS .

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

© Simonwp  © Pieter Inpyn

© Simonwp (Calais, 01/06/2001) (Left) and © Pieter Inpyn (Calais, 01/08/1999) (Right)

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

Dover Ferry Photos Library

© Andreas Wörteler

© 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

© 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

© Nigel Thornton (2006)

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.

Action taken

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  © Robert Fournier

© 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)

© Aubrey Dale  © Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale (Belfast, 16/02/2007)

© Trevor Kidd  © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd (Belfast, 16/02/2007)

18th February 2007: Departed Harland and Wolff at 13:45 for Dover.

© Alan Geddes  © Alan Geddes

© Alan Geddes (Departing Belfast, 18/02/2007)

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

© 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

© 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.

Interior 2011

© Christopher Randall  © Christopher Randall

© Christopher Randall  © Christopher Randall

© Christopher Randall  © Christopher Randall

© Christopher Randall  © Christopher Randall

© Christopher Randall (All)

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.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow (Undergoing repairs in Dover 24/10/11)

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.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow (In passenger mode departing Calais 03/04/12)

April 26th 2012: Entered service as the dedicated freight vessel replacing the European Seaway.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow (Back in freight mode, Calais approaches 14/05/12)

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.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

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

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Paul Cloke  © Paul Cloke

© Paul Cloke  © Paul Cloke

© 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  © Paul Cloke

© Paul Cloke  © Paul Cloke

 © Paul Cloke

© Paul Cloke  © Paul Cloke

© 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.

© Michael Elias  © Michael Elias

© Michael Elias (Ostend 20/12/12)

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  

© Andreas Wörteler (Antwerp 04/01/2013)(Both)

© "cruiser"  © "cruiser"

© "cruiser"  © "cruiser"

© "cruiser"  © "cruiser"

© Luc Cassier (all)

January 19th 2013: Left Antwerp for Ostend.

January 19th 2013: Arrived back in Ostend

  © Cedric Hacke

© Cedric Hacke  © Cedric Hacke

© Cedric Hacke  © Cedric Hacke

© Cedric Hacke (all)

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  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton (all)

18th April 2013: Departed Ramsgate at 08:30 (BST) for Tilbury, Essex. This was due to P&O Ferries repossessing the ship due to unpaid charter fees by Trans Europa Ferries.

© John Tweddell  © John Tweddell

© John Tweddell  © John Tweddell

© John Tweddell (Ostend Spirit laid up in Tilbury July 2013)

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

Being beached in Aliaga, Turkey on the 13/11/13 © Selim San

© Selim San  

© Selim San (both)

© Selim San

© Selim San 

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, Fotoflite, Luc Cassier, Paul Cloke, “cruiser”, Aubrey Dale, Christian Eckardt, Michael Elias, M Fournet, Robert Fournier, Alan Geddes, Cedric Hacke, Franke Heine, Pieter Inpyn, Trevor Kidd, Ken Larwood, Robert Pirotte, Christopher Randall, Simonwp,  John Tweddell and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.

Sincere thanks go to Selim San for covering her final moments.

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


  1. I just called TransEuropaFerries, I called for a price and happened to ask why was Ostend Spirit in Tilbury.

    Her answer was “Technical Problems”, and I asked what they meant by this and she said engine issues.

    Their website is also down for works!

    Hope this

    1. Hi John,

      One of our site representatives contacted TEF at Ramsgate and he was told something different.

      The responses were very guarded but our rep was told that the Ostend Spirit is no longer a part of the fleet but the Gardenia would still operate but all services were suspended for the time being. The Larkspur was not mentioned at all.

      Have to say the future for TEF is not looking at all good at the moment, especially not if you believe some of the rumours doing the rounds.

      Best Wishes

      Ray Goodfellow

      1. Thank you Ray, I do not understand as to why they would say two different things! Having sailed with them recently I found their service second to none! Sailed larkspur both ways and for its age was looking almost newer than when I sailed her back in early 90’s as Sally sky !

        Hope TEF ride what ever economic waves are ahead as I think they are great.

        1. Hi John,

          I couldn’t agree more. We travelled on the Gardenia last year and the Larkspur the year before. The customer service on the Larkspur were second to none and it still goes down as one of the most relaxing ferry crossings I have ever completed.

          The Gardenia last year wasn’t as pleasant as she is a classic freight ship and obviously doesn’t offer the same facilities but never the less she was still in good order and was a great trip down memory lane for me as she was the first ferry I ever travelled on when she was the European Endeavour with P&O European Ferries.

          I hope the company finds a way through their current situation and get back to normal.

          All the best

  2. Hi All,

    I don’t think things are looking great for T.E.F, makes for some sad reading. I am not sure this is the correct place to be posting this (*Ray, please correct me) but I think this should be read.

    It would seem that the Ostend Spirit has been taken back by P&O, I can only assume for unpaid fees?




    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for the update and the link to the story.

      Leaving information and links here is absolutely fine John, that’s what the comments section of the site is here for.

      There has been a fair bit of discussion in relation to this on our forum at http://www.doverferryphotosforums.co.uk (an account is required but it’s quick and easy to sign up) and I think with all the rumours doing the rounds it will be a classic sign of time will tell. I hope they see a way forward but I do have my doubts that this unique service will not return 🙁

      Best Wishes

  3. Now back in Tilbury – P&O put a bridge crew on for the voyage – when arrived in Tilbury the crew refused to leave due to un paid wages
    What a PITY sailed on her as Sally Sky and EuroTraveler (when sally direct)

    1. She was previously the Pride of Calais originally built for Townsend Thoresen. Never anything to do with Sally.

      1. Hi Steve,

        Thanks for the comment. I am a little confused as to why you stated that she was nothing to do with Sally as there is no reference to Sally in the article. There are references to TransEuropaFerries who briefly chartered the Pride of Calais as the Ostend Spirit earlier this year before they went bankrupt and P&O seized the vessel back and laid her up at Tilbury.

        Best Wishes

  4. Hi Ray,

    Is it confirmed that she’s now off to be scrapped? If so, a great shame. A good quality vehicle that could have been used as a backup for P&O or even a small start up operation back at Ramsgate. I last saw her only in passing while she was on her maiden revenue voyage with TEF. I was on Larkspur. (Another favourite of mine.)


    1. Hi John,

      I would take postage departure info on the Port of London website as confirmation. From what I know she has been prepped and ready to go for a number of weeks but it has taken this long to sort out the necessary paperwork.

      In days gone by having a ship in reserve was the done thing but a ship that is laid up doesn’t make any money, there are the berthing costs, crew costs, fuel costs etc.

      Don’t get me wrong I would love to see her used for further service but she is to specialised and I think she should be allowed to bow out gracefully and not end up in the same condition as the Dover was when she was towed away.

      I think if and I do say if, a ferry service does restart at Ramsgate the Calais would be to large with her 2000 passenger capacity.

      Any operator starting up in the current climate needs to aim at a market and specifically target that market. The freight business is picking up but it will take some time for things to reach the levels of yester year and the main problem at the moment is rates are so poor due to the competition in the short sea sector.

      God Speed Pride of Calais…..

  5. Sadly, I agree. Both Calais and Dover were super ships with very good trac records when you think how much they actually did work! They were a class of their own.

    Being German (forces baby) we traveled very often to and from UK. We moved to UK 10 days after the herald disaster ( we sailed on spirit).

    I have some fond memories of some ferries.

    Spirit ( Under the TT logo in 1987)
    Sally star
    Sally sky aka larkspur ( my fave)
    Stena britannica ( not sure what it is now but was on hook of holland around 1996)
    Stena koenigan bertrix ( same time as above)

    And who can forget hoverspeeds hovercraft service!

    These were what I would call “proper” ferries where memories were made.

    It always makes me sad to see one retire and end their life.

    1. It looks like she went with a fight though, having to make two attempts to get on the beach. I completely agree with John Taylor on this one, it is the end of an era.

      Best Wishes


    1. Hi John,

      Unfortunately we can only display photos on the website that we have permission to use, for instance they were taken by yourself or the photographer has given you permission for them to be published.

      I am working on procuring some photos of her on the beach through our usual source Selim San and I hope to be able to publish those soon.

      Best Wishes

  6. Here is a view from the bridge as she beached – must have been quite a sight as she was doing 19.4 knots 400 metres off the shore

    look at youtube and Old Ferry is Beached ( /watch?v=2pRE7GYT3lM)

    1. A further two videos have been placed on Youtube (search for Ostend Spirit) obviously not taken from the Bridge. Both are labelled as the first attempt at beaching although one is of the second attempt, a longer video than the Bridge view posted earlier. The other video shows the first attempt where she missed the beach and hit and holed another ship at quite a speed.

  7. My family had a boat they kept in Europe, so I used to do the crossing on these two ships with my family as a kid pretty much every few weeks back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I even remember when they came into service and how big and flash they felt compared to previous cross channel ferries we had used, plus I remember how well the stabilisers worked when it was choppy! I got a look around the engine room on the Dover as my father knew the chief engineer. Very very sad for me to hear they’re now both gone.

  8. Here is a new video that appeared online yesterday 22/01/2014 of the final moments of the Ostend Spirit. A sad site to see, but an amazing view none the less. Search for M/F Ostend Spirit – Selim San – Beeching/Aliaga 13.11.2013.

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