FerriesP&O European FerriesP&O FerriesP&O Stena LinePast and Present

MV Pride of Kent (ex European Highway) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9015266

MV Pride of Kent (II)

ex European Highway

© Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic)

© Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic)

Steel twin screw “Super European Class” motor vessel, built in 1992 by Schichau Seebeckwerft AG, Bremerhaven, Germany (Yard No 1073) as a Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) Passenger ferry for P&O European Ferries, Dover, United Kingdom

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: MQCJ2, 5BEB5
  • MMSI Number: 233009000
  • IMO Number: 9015266
  • Registry: Dover/United Kingdom 🇬🇧, Limassol/Cyprus 🇨🇾
  • Sister Vessels: European Seaway (1075), Pride of Canterbury (1076), Pride of Burgundy (1078)


“Together with EUROPEAN SEAWAY, the EUROPEAN PATHWAY (Pride of Canterbury) and the EUROPEAN HIGHWAY were originally built in 1992 as a trio of ”Super European Class” freight vessels for P&O European Ferries Dover-Zeebrugge service. Both the “PATHWAY” and the “HIGHWAY” were rebuilt at Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven in 2003 (“Project Darwin”) to make them suitable for passenger use on P&O Ferries Dover-Calais service.

December 14th 1991: Launched.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

June 12th 1992: Delivered to P&O European Ferries, Dover, England.

June 14th 1992: Arrived at Dover.

© Brian Pawley

June 16th 1992: First voyage between Dover – Zeebrugge leaving Dover at 16:15 hours.

© Andreas Wörteler  © 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 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.

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

© Pieter Inpyn  © Pieter Inpyn

© Pieter Inpyn

May 14th 1999: Commenced service between Dover – Calais.

November 1999: Commenced service between Dover – Zeebrügge.

Nigel Thornton Collection

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

August 2002: P&O Stena 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.

December 15th 2002: Final voyage between Dover – Zeebrügge

December 17th 2002: Departed Dover for the yard of Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven, Germany for rebuilding as a passenger vessel.

Project Darwin

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

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 Sprit 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

© Christian Eckardt  © Christian Eckardt

© Christian Eckardt

June 7th 2003: Arrived at the Port of Dover from Bremerhaven.

June 28th 2003: The PRIDE OF KENT and PRIDE OF CANTERBURY were officially named in a ceremony at the new cruise terminal on Dovers Admiralty Pier extension.

Dover Ferry Photos Archive  Dover Ferry Photos Archive

Nigel Thornton Collection

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

June 14th 2003: Entered service on the Dover – Calais service.

Personal Note: 29th July 2003: At 12:16 (BST) the Pride of Kent was stopped mid channel on her way back from Calais at position 51°025N 01°359E. At this position Senior master Captain David Miller carried out a service in which the ashes of my late step father Alan ‘Gunner’ Sugden were duly returned to his second home, the sea, godspeed Alan – you will always be missed.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Nigel Thornton

© Ray Goodfellow (Left) and © Nigel Thornton (Right)

2004: At refit bridge wings upper leading edges painted white to distinguish her from her sister.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

March 29th 2005: Left Dover for refit and gearbox replacement at ARNO, Dunkerque.

May 5th 2005: Returned to service.

2006: Still in service on the Dover-Calais service.

© Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

May 2nd 2006: At Falmouth for refit lasting two weeks.

May 16th 2006: Completed refit and returned to service.

April 10th 2007: Stood down from service and proceeded to CT2 (Cruise Terminal 2) for a deployment of her Marin Arc evacuation system before proceeding to A&P at Falmouth.

April 12th 2007: Arrived at A&P Falmouth for refit.

April 30th 2007: Refit complete, departed Falmouth for Dover.

December 15th 2007: At 2200 UTC in light winds and good visibility a close quarters situation occurred between Queen Elizabeth 2 and Pride of Kent.

Published: MARCH 2008

“Queen Elizabeth 2, on passage from Zeebrugge to Southampton, was south west bound in the Dover Strait Traffic Separation Scheme. Her track was biased to the starboard side of the traffic lane. Pride of Kent departed Dover for a scheduled voyage to Calais, observing the voluntary separation scheme established for ferry operators. As the vessels approached, a close quarters situation developed in which Queen Elizabeth 2 was required to give way.

When it became apparent that no avoiding action was being taken by Queen Elizabeth 2, Pride of Kent reduced her speed allowing Queen Elizabeth 2 to pass 0.6mile ahead of Pride of Kent.

There were no injuries to personnel and no pollution”

May 2nd 2008: To A&P Falmouth for refit.

May 25th 2008: Departed Falmouth for Dover.

May 21st 2008: Resumed service.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

March 27th 2009: Anticipated arrival at ARNO, Dunkerque for mini-refit.

© Robert Fournier

© Robert Fournier

April 3rd 2009: Returned to Dover.

April 18th 2009: Stood down from service for Marin ARC (MES) deployment etc.

April 23rd 2009: Resumed service.

March 10th 2010: Marin Arc (MES) deployment at Cruise Terminal 1 prior to departure for refit.

March 10th 2010: Departed Dover for refit on the Tyne lasting 16 days.

March 11th 2010: Arrived on the Tyne and entered A&P Hebburn.

March 27th 2010: Departed the river Tyne for Dover.

© Kevin Blair  © Kevin Blair

© Kevin Blair

March 28th 2010: Arrived at Dover and resumed service between Dover and Calais.

October 17th 2010: Off service with a technical problem.

March 10th 2011: Stood down from service for refit.

April 2011 (early): Returned to service.

February 20th 2012: Following an evacuation drill the vessel departed for refit at A&P Falmouth, Cornwall.

February 21st 2012: Arrived at A&P Falmouth and entered dry dock 2.

© Ferry Boy  © Ferry Boy

© Ferry Boy  © Ferry Boy

© Ferry Boy  © Ferry Boy

© Peter Wearing

March 7th 2012: Arrived back in Dover and re-entered service.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

July 25th 2012: Off service on the Eastern Arm due to technical problems. Resumed service with the 2015 ex Dover.

© Paul Smith

© Paul Smith

December 23rd 2012: To ARNO, Dunkerque for dry-docking.

December 24th 2012: Left Dunkerque and sailed to Dover.

© Andreas Wörteler  © Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

January 18th 2014: Departed Dover for refit at A&P Falmouth.

© Barrie Clark

© Barrie Clark

© Ben Reed  © Ben Reed

© Ben Reed  © Ben Reed

© Ben Reed  © Ben Reed

© Ben Reed  © Ben Reed

© Ben Reed

© Barrie Clark  © Barrie Clark

© Barrie Clark

© Barrie Clark (all)

February 5th 2014: Expected departure Falmouth.

February 6th 2014: Arrived back in Dover.

February 7th 2014: Resumed service.

December 18th 2014: To ARNO, Dunkerque for refit and conversion of the engines to cater for the new fuel/emissions regulations. Anticipated return to service late January/early February 2015.

January 30th 2015: Left Dunkerque and returned to service Dover – Calais sporting new livery.

© Mike Jackson  © Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow (Departing Dover 20/04/2015 and loading in Calais 28/06/2015)

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

© Manuel Dhondt  © Manuel Dhondt

© Manuel Dhondt (Boulogne 01/07/2015)

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

February 22nd 2016: To Damen, Dunkerque for refit.

© Robert Fournier

© Nathan Burt   © Nathan Burt

© Nathan Burt

© Nathan Burt

© Julien Carpentier

March 19th 2016 (13.28 hrs LT): Departed Damen yard (Port de Dunkerque) and sailed to Dover. Resumed service.


© Frank Behrends

© Carsten Dettmer  © Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer

February 20th 2017: To Damen, Dunkerque for docking re a propeller problem


© Julien Carpentier

March 21st 2017: Left Dunkerque.

March 22nd 2017: Resumed service Dover – Calais.

December 10th 2017 (12:45 CET): Whilst carrying out her departure maneuver from berth 6 in the Port of Calais the PRIDE OF KENT made contact with the mooring structure of the ‘T1’ RoRo berth. Following this collision the vessel then ran aground on a sandbar near to the East pier. The winds at the time of the incident were described as gusting to violent stormforce 11. The PRIDE OF KENT was carrying 313 people on board (including 208 passengers), 74 trucks, 36 cars and a coach. There were no reported injuries.

The vessel was eventually re-floated on a rising tide and with the assistance of the Calais based tugs ‘CHAMBON SUROIT’ and CHAMBON NOROIT’ and the Dunkerque based tugs VB PUISSANT’ and TRIOMPHANT’.

The Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue (CROSS) at Cap Gris-Nez placed the Calais based all weather lifeboat ‘NOTRE DAME DU RISBAN’ from the Société Nationale Des Sauveteurs en Mer (SNSM) and the Intervention and Rescue Tug ‘ABEILLE LANGUEDOC’ on standby but neither of these assets were required. This incident is now under investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and the Bureau d’enquêtes sur les événements de mer (BEAmer).


© Julien Carpentier (Port of Calais 10/12/2017)

Marine Accident Investigation Report

December 12th 2017: Left Calais, under her own power, bound for Damen, Dunkerque.

December 12th 2017: Arrived in Dunkerque.


© Julien Carpentier

December 18th 2017: The Port De Dunkerque website states her departure date as the 22/12/2017 whereas the P&O Ferries booking engine shows her returning to service on the 03/01/2018.


© Julien Carpentier (Dunkerque 11/02/2018)

March 2018: Anticipated return to service is now late April/early May.

© Julien Carpentier

May 22nd 2018: Departed Damen Dunkerque for sea trials in the Dover Straits.

Screen capture from MarineTraffic

May 23rd 2018: Arrived in the Port of Calais and resumed service Calais – Dover.

© Christian Jean Marc Joan

© Christian Jean Marc Joan (Calais 24/05/2018)

February 25th 2019: Came off service and sailed to Emden (Germany) for refit.

February 26th 2019: Arrived Emden.

March 4th 2019: Noted as having been re-registered to Cyprus flag, home port Limassol.

March 3rd 2019: Refit completed, sailed for Dover

© Frits Olinga  © Frits Olinga

© Frits Olinga (Emden, 03/03/2019)

November 18th 2019: Came off service and sailed to Damen Dunkerque.

November 18th 2019: Arrived Dunkerque.


© Julien Carpentier (01/01/2020)

January 3rd 2020: Left Dunkerque and conducted sea trials.

January 3rd 2020: Arrived Calais to resume service (Calais – Dover)

© Nigel Scutt

© Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping)(Dover, 06/01/2020)

October 22nd 2020: Came off service at Calais and sailed to Damen, Dunkerque East.

October 22nd 2020: Arrived Dunkerque East.


© Julien Carpentier (Dunkerque, 22/10/2020)

October 26th 2020: Left Dunkerque East and sailed to Calais.

October 26th 2020: Left Calais and sailed to Damen Verolme Shipyard, Rotterdam.

October 27th 2020: Arrived in Rotterdam.

© Gert Barendrecht  © Gert Barendrecht

© Gert Barendrecht

© Gert Barendrecht (Rotterdam, 27/10/2020)

© Rob de Visser  © Rob de Visser

© Rob de Visser

© Rob de Visser (Rotterdam, 27/10/2020)

© Hugo Sluimer

© Hugo Sluimer (Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, Schiedam (Wiltonhaven), 31/10/2020)

December 6th 2020: Left Rotterdam showing destination as Calais.

© Rob de Visser  © Rob de Visser

© Rob de Visser (Rotterdam, 06/12/2020)

December 6th 2020: Arrived in Calais.

December 8th 2020: Returned to service Dover – Calais.

March 19th 2021: Arrived in Dover and came off service.

March 20th 2021: Sailed for Tyne.

March 21st 2021: Arrived Tyne for refit at A & P Hebburn.

© Laura Simmister  © Laura Simmister

© Laura Simmister  © Laura Simmister

© Laura Simmister (Tyne, 21/03/2021)

April 12th 2021: Left Tyne for Dover.

April 13th 2021: Arrived back in Dover and expected to resume services Dover – Calais.

October 16th 2021: Came off service at Calais and sailed to Dunkerque for repairs.

October 16th 2021: Arrived at Damen Dunkerque.

October 24th 2021: Left Dunkerque for sea trials.



© Julien Carpentier (Dunkerque, 24/10/2021)

October 25th 2021: Arrived at Dover and resumed service Dover – Calais.

March 17th 2022: Instructed to come off service at Dover as crews had been made redundant. Laid up at Cruise Terminal, Dover



© Mike Jackson (Dover, 17/03/2022)

March 22nd 2022: Moved from Cruise Terminal to Eastern Arm, Dover.

© Julien Carpentier  © Julien Carpentier

© Julien Carpentier  © Julien Carpentier

© Julien Carpentier (Dover, 22/03/2022)

March 28th 2022: Detained in Dover by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) ” ….. due to failures on crew familiarisation, vessel documentation and crew training.”. 

April 6th 2022: Announcement made that the vessel would resume service week commencing 11/04/2022.

April 13th 2022: Failed second MCA examination and remains detained at Dover.

May 3rd 2022: Failed third MCA examination and remains detained at Dover.

May 9th 2022: Announcement made that she had passed her MCA examination.

May 12th 2022 (17:25 LT (UTC +1): Left Dover for Calais.

May 12th 2022 (19:49 LT (UTC +2)) : Arrived at Calais.

May 13th 2022: Left Calais for sea trials.

May 17th 2022 (17.25 hrs ex Dover): Returned to reduced service.

© Cedric Hacke  © Cedric Hacke

© Cedric Hacke

© Cedric Hacke (Calais, 25/06/2022)

October 19th 2022: Came off service at Calais.

October 20th 2022: Arrived in Dunkerque East for refit.

© Julien Carpentier © Julien Carpentier

© Julien Carpentier (Dunkerque East, 02/11/2022)

November 10th 2022: Emergency Services attended the PRIDE OF KENT in dry-dock.

“Intervention on board a ship”

19 emergency vehicles are currently responding to Dunkirk, for a fire in a ship that is down. 20 employees were evacuated. A smoke release is the subject of recognition, and combined actions with the crew on board.

Summary courtesy of Julien Carpentier: “SDIS 59 intervened this morning when a fire broke out in the engine area of the ship. Twenty fire engines were dispatched to the scene because the situation can quickly become very complex on a ship. Firefighters were called at 10:00 a.m. for a fire with smoke, visible from afar, on a ship on a floating dock. About twenty people, employees of the ship, were evacuated by the firefighters in the company of sailors trained to react to this type of situation. According to the communication from the SDIS, even if this type of fire starting (in a ship) can quickly be catastrophic, there are no serious or light injuries.”

Source: Service Départemental d’Incendie et de Secours du Nord (sapeurs-pompiers du Nord)

November 22nd 2022: Left Dunkerque East and sailed to Calais.

November 22nd 2022: Resumed service Calais – Dover.

December 27th 2022: Arrived in Calais and laid over.

January 2nd 2023: To Dunkerque (East) for dry-docking.

January 6th 2023: Left Dunkerque and sailed to Calais.

January 7th 2023: Resumed service Calais – Dover.

© Julien Carpentier

© Julien Carpentier (Calais, 24/01/2022)

April 16th 2023: Came off service at Dover and berthed at the “Old” Cargo Terminal (Eastern Docks).

April 26th 2023: Moved from the Cargo Terminal to Berth 9.

April 26th 2023: Left Dover and sailed to Calais, then made several unspecified crossings.

June 4th 2023: Came off service at Dover and berthed at the “Old” Cargo Terminal (Eastern Docks).

 © Julien Carpentier

© Julien Carpentier (Dover, 05/06/2023)

© Julien Carpentier  © Julien Carpentier

© Julien Carpentier (Dover, 06/06/2023)

© Paul Cloke

© Paul Cloke (Dover, 11/06/2023)

July 14th 2023: Left Dover for Tilbury.

© Craig Nelson  © Craig Nelson

© Craig Nelson  © Craig Nelson

© Craig Nelson

© Craig Nelson (Dover, 14/07/2023)

July 14th 2023: Arrived Tilbury and laid up.

October 5th 2023: Left Tilbury.

October 5th 2023: Arrived Calais.

© Julien Carpentier

© Julien Carpentier (Calais, 05/10/2023)


© Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne © Chris Thorne

🆕 © Chris Thorne

© Julien Carpentier  © Julien Carpentier

P&O branding removed from forward superstructure © Julien Carpentier (Calais, 06/10/2023)

October 9th 2023: AIS noted as showing destination Aliaga (eta 21/10/2023).

October 9th 2023: Left Calais.

© A2B via Sea

© A2B via Sea (Calais, 09/10/2023)

October 20th 2023: Arrived off Aliaga.

October 23rd 2023: Beached.

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: Mohawk Myké (A2B via Sea), Micke Asklander (Faktaomfartyg), Gert Barendrecht, Frank Behrends, Nathan Burt, Julien Carpentier, Barrie Clark, Paul Cloke, Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic), Carsten Dettmer, Manuel Dhondt, Christian Eckardt, Robert Fournier, Cedric Hacke, Jean-Guy Hagelstein, Pieter Inpyn, Mike Jackson, Christian Jean Marc Joan, Craig Nelson, Frits Olinga, Brian Pawley, Ben Reed, Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping), Laura Simmister, Hugo Sluimer, Paul Smith, Chris Thorne, Rob de Visser, Peter Wearing and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.

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

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