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MV Pride of Canterbury – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9007295

MV Pride of Canterbury (II)

ex European Pathway

© Ken Larwood

European Pathway © Ken Larwood

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built by Schichau Seebeckwerft AG, Bremerhaven, (Yard No. 1076) Germany for P&O European Ferries in 1991 as a commercial vehicle ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 179.70 m (overall)
  • Breadth of Hull: 28.30 m (extreme)
  • Draught: 6.27 m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 22,986 gross, 6,895 net, 7,509 deadweight (1991), 30,365 gross, 9,190 net, 5,800 deadweight (2002/3)
  • Engines: Four 8ZA 40 S Sulzer Diesels
  • Power: 20600kW
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Capacity: 200 passengers, 124 x 15m freight units (1991), 2000 passengers, 650 cars, 120 x 15m commercial vehicles (2002/3)
  • Call Sign: MPQZ6, 5BDW5
  • IMO Number: 9007295
  • Registry: Dover/United Kingdom 🇬🇧, Limassol/Cyprus 🇨🇾
  • Sister Ships: European Seaway, Pride of Burgundy, Pride of Kent

Location Data

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


October 8th 1991: Launched.

December 29th 1991: Delivered to P&O European Ferries, Dover, England.

December 30th 1991: Arrived at Dover from builders.

January 4th 1992: Commenced service between Dover – Zeebrugge.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection  © Ken Larwood

Roy Thornton Collection (left) and © Ken Larwood (right)

© Pieter Inpyn   © Pieter Inpyn 

© Pieter Inpyn 

© Pieter Inpyn (Zeebrugge 01/05/1993)

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

March 3rd 1998: P&O European Ferries and Stena Line merged their operations on the short sea. The new company was named 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.

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

March 10th 1998: Commenced service for P&O Stena Line Ltd, Dover between Dover – Zeebrugge.

November 25th 1998: Had a gearbox removed. It was required by the PRIDE OF BURGUNDY, removed in Dunkerque.

December 1998: Laid up in Zeebrugge awaiting a new gearbox.

© Urbain Ureel

April 2002: P&O announced its intention to buy out the 40% stake in P&O Stena Line owned by Stena.

August 2002:  The P&O Stena alliance ended with P&O purchasing Stenas 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.

November 28th 2002:  Last day in service on the Dover-Zeebrugge route.

December 1st 2002: Arrived at the yard of Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven to be converted to a passenger vessel.

Project Darwin

With the ending of the P&O Stena Line agreement it was announced by the newly formed P&O Ferries that the ex Zeebrügge freight vessels European Highway and European Pathway would be rebuilt at the German Shipyard of Lloyd Werft.

Upon completion of their rebuilds they would be placed on the premier Dover-Calais service replacing the PO Kent (ex Spirit of Free Enterprise, Pride of Kent, POSL Kent) and PO Canterbury (ex Fantasia). This move became widely known by it’s P&O in-house code name, Project Darwin.

It was anticipated that EUROPEAN PATHWAY would leave for Bremerhaven on December 1st 2002, followed later in the month by EUROPEAN HIGHWAY

Key features of the converted ships will include:

  • Passenger capacity up from 200 to 2,000
  • More than 5,000 square metres of passenger accommodation
  • Fifty extra crew cabins
  • Better manoeuvrability

The conversion would take place at the Bremerhaven yard of Lloyd Werft. The rebuilt ferries were to enter service on the Dover-Calais route in April and May of 2003 respectively.

Dover Ferry Photos Library   Dover Ferry Photos Library

Dover Ferry Photos Library   Dover Ferry Photos Library

Dover Ferry Photos Library   Dover Ferry Photos Library

Dover Ferry Photos Library (all)

© Christian Eckardt  © Christian Eckardt

© Christian Eckardt

Dover Ferry Photos Library   Dover Ferry Photos Library

Dover Ferry Photos Library   Dover Ferry Photos Library

Dover Ferry Photos Library  Dover Ferry Photos Library

Dover Ferry Photos Library   Dover Ferry Photos Library

Dover Ferry Photos Library (all)

April 2003: Renamed PRIDE OF CANTERBURY.

May 2nd 2003: Re-delivered to P&O Ferries.

May 5th 2003: Arrived back in Dover at 08.30. Berthed at no. 7 Eastern Docks and was greeted by siren salutes and water jets from the twin Dover Harbour Board tugs…..

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

Maiden arrival © Ray Goodfellow

May 12th 2003: Maiden voyage to Calais was at 07.45.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

June 28th 2003: Both the Pride of Kent and Pride of Canterbury were officially named. The ceremony was at the new cruise terminal in Dover on the Admiralty Pier extension.

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

January 31st 2005: Marine Ark (MES) deployment in the Western Docks prior to leaving Dover for refit.

February 1st 2005: To Southampton for refit.

February 20th 2005: Returned to Dover after refit.

© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton

March 2nd 2006: Marine Ark (MES) deployment in the Western Docks.

© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton

March 2nd 2006:  “Scheduled to arrive in Dry Dock no#2 in Falmouth at 0600 hrs tomorrow. Anticipated that she would remain in dry-dock until around March 17th.”

March 18th 2006: Returned to Dover after refit and resumed service.

© Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow  © Nigel Thornton

© Ray Goodfellow (left) and © Nigel Thornton (right)

December 28th 2006: Due to arrive 09.30hrs at Falmouth, dry-dock No.2, for refit.

15th January 2007: Re-entered service following refit on the 23:59 ex Dover.

31st January 2008: Whilst hove to in strong South Westerly winds off Deal, Kent, the Pride of Canterbury made heavy contact with a submerged object resulting in the loss of her port propeller and damage to her port propeller shaft.

2nd February 2008: Pride of Canterbury arrives at A&P Falmouth for her refit. Propeller repairs are not completed which result in the vessel being used in a freight capacity only upon on her return to Dover. It is believed permanent repairs will be completed in the Autumn of 2008.

14th June 2008: Owing to the technical problems caused by the loss of her propeller and the associated damage the Pride of Canterbury is laid up in Dunkerque until the necessary repairs can be made.

Dunkerque, Summer 2008 © Michel Elias

October 2008: Entered dry dock at ARNO, Dunkerque for full repairs and a complete overhaul. Due to the amount of time the vessel had remained laid up it was decided that she wouldn’t have an overhaul in 2009.

Dunkerque August 2008 © Robert Fournier

January 2009: Further technical problems were discovered following her dry docking in Dunkerque. It was believed the port gearbox was also damaged during her contact with the submerged object in January 2008 and a replacement was to be fitted as soon as possible.

14th January 2009: The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) published their report into the grounding incident on January 31st 2008.

© Jean-Guy Hagelstein

Dunkerque February 2009 © Jean-Guy Hagelstein

March 10th 2009: Finally departed ARNO and conducted sea trials.

© The Ferryman  © The Ferryman

© The Ferryman

March 11th 2009 (05.42 hrs): Returned to Dover and , after storing, resumed service (11.20hrs Dover – Calais)

February 6th 2010: To ARNO, Dunkerque for refit.

February 11th 2010: Arrived in Dover and resumed service.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

Arriving at the Port of Calais © Ray Goodfellow

January 21st 2011: Off service carrying out Marin Ark (MES) drills in Calais before proceeding to dry dock at ARNO Dunkerque.

January 24th 2011: Briefly returned to service to cover for the Spirit of Britain which required some remedial ‘port fit’ work in Dunkerque.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

Calais 21/1/11 © Ray Goodfellow

January 27th 2011: Proceeded to ARNO Dunkerque for refit.

February 9th 2011: Returned to Dover post refit minus the website address on her sides bringing her in line with the Spirit of Britain.

February 10th 2011: Returned to service.

August 11th 2011: Off service with engine problems.

August 12th 2011: Back in service.

January 5th 2012: Stood down from service for a brief refit at A&P Hebburn, Newcastle.

January 7th 2012: Arrived on the river Tyne for refit.

© Neil Mcbride

© Neil Mcbride

January 11th 2012: Departed Newcastle for Dover.

January 12th 2012: Arrived back in Dover and underwent a Marine Ark (MES) deployment.

© Ferry Boy  © Ferry Boy

© Ferry Boy

January 13th 2012: Re-entered service between Dover and Calais.

© Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

January 7th 2013: To ARNO, Dunkerque for refit.

© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell

© Ed Connell

© Ed Connell (all)

© Jean-Guy Hagelstein  © Jean-Guy Hagelstein

© Jean-Guy Hagelstein

© Jean-Guy Hagelstein (all)

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton (both)

February 7th 2014: To ARNO, Dunkerque for refit.

February 11th 2014: Left Dunkerque and sailed to Dover.

February 12th 2014: Resumed service Dover – Calais.

September 29th 2014 (08.00 hrs): Entering Calais, suffered engine-room fire. Reports suggest that the fire was extinguished by the ship’s fire protection system. Nobody was injured.

October 5th 2014: (0400 GMT) Departed Calais under tow from the Dutch tug RT Spirit bound for Dunkerque. Information suggests she will be in Dunkerque until the 29th November 2014.



Pride of Canterbury arriving in Dunkerque on the 05/10/14 © Julien Carpentier (all)

October 21st 2014: News that the vessel is also being converted from Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to Marine Gas Oil (MGO) in order to meet sulphur emission standards for January 1st 2015. Source: Le Marin

December 11th 2014: Left Dunkerque and conducted sea trials en-route to Dover.

December 12th 2014: Resumed service, sporting new livery.

 © Ray Goodfellow

Departing Calais © Robert Fournier (left) and departing Dover © Ray Goodfellow (right)

© Ray Goodfellow  

Arriving and Departing the Port of Calais © Ray Goodfellow

June 29th 2015: Owing to the closure of the Port of Calais due to industrial action all sailings cancelled. The Pride of Canterbury sailed in ballast to the Downs anchorage.

© Ray Goodfellow

Departing Dover for the Downs Anchorage 29/06/15 © Ray Goodfellow

June 30th 2015: Owing to Industrial Action, which closed the port of Calais, sailed to Boulogne to discharge passengers. No embarkation owing to lack of border control facilities. Returned to Dover “in ballast”. With further disruption probable, expected further sailings to Boulogne.

© Jean - Guy Hagelstein  © Jean - Guy Hagelstein

© Jean - Guy Hagelstein  © Jean - Guy Hagelstein

© Jean - Guy Hagelstein  © Jean - Guy Hagelstein

© Jean - Guy Hagelstein  © Jean - Guy Hagelstein

© Jean – Guy Hagelstein (Boulogne 30/06/2015)

July 2nd 2015: Resumed Service between Dover and Calais.

© Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

January 28th 2016: Stood down from service and proceeded to Damen Dunkerque for a short overhaul/refit.

February 2nd 2016: Departed Dunkerque and resumed regular service between Dover and Calais.

September 21st 2016: To Damen Dunkerque for refit.

© Julien Carpentier

October 4th 2016: Returned to service.

© Nigel Scutt  © Nigel Scutt

© Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping)

 © Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer

January 13th 2017: Left Dover for refit in Gdansk.

February 4th 2017: Refit completed. Left Gdansk for Dover

February 7th/8th 2017: Returned to service.

© Julien Carpentier

January 26th 2019: Came off service and sailed to Emden (Germany) for refit

January 27th 2019: Arrived Emden.

February 5th 2019: Showing as re-registered to Cypriot flag.

February 6th 2019: Completed refit and left Emden for Dover.

February 7th 2019: Arrived in Dover.

February 8th 2019: Resumed service Dover – Calais.


© Julien Carpentier

December 30th 2019: To Dunkerque (East) for survey.

December 30th 2019: Sailed to Calais.

December 30th 2019: Arrived at Calais to resume service.

February 24th 2020: Came off service and sailed to Damen Dunkerque (East).


© Julien Carpentier (Dunkerque, 06/03/2020)

March 2020: Resumed service Dover – Calais.

April 30th 2020: Having been at anchor off Dover she sailed to Leith.

May 2nd 2020: Arrived at Leith Anchorage.

May 5th 2020: Arrived at Leith for lay up.

© LeithDocksHQ

© @LeithDocksHQ  (Twitter)

© Drewski  © Drewski

© @Drewski  (Twitter)

September 17th 2020: Left Leith for refit in Rotterdam (eta 19/09/2020)

September 19th 2020: Arrived in Rotterdam.

October 12th 2020: Refit complete, left Rotterdam.


© Rob de Visser (Rozenburg, Netherlands 12/10/2020)

October 12th 2020: Arrived in Dover.

October 13th 2020: Sailed to Calais.

October 14th 2020 (04.30 hrs): Returned to service Calais – Dover (Freight Mode only).

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: Julien Carpentier, Carsten Dettmer, Micke Asklander (Faktaomfartyg), Ed Connell, Christian Eckardt, Michel Elias, Robert Fournier, Jean-Guy Hagelstein, Pieter Inpyn, The Ferryman, Ferry Boy, Neil McBride, Ken Larwood, Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping), Urbain Ureel, Rob de Visser and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.

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

One Comment

  1. This has not been widely reported in the news, however, there are pictures of the fire online. A real shame.

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