Current Local Ferry FleetFerriesP&O FerriesPast and Present

MV Spirit of Britain – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9524231

MV Spirit of Britain

© STX Europe

© STX Europe

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 2010 by STX Europe, Rauma, Finland (Yard No 1367) as a Passenger (Vehicle) Ferry for P&O Ferries, Dover, England 

Technical Data

  • Length: 213 Meters
  • Breadth of Hull: 31.4 Meters
  • Draught: 6.5 Meters
  • Tonnage: 49,000 GRT
  • Engines: 4 x MAN B&W 7L 48 60 main engines driving two propeller shafts.
  • Power: 30,400 kW (40,767 hp)
  • Thrusters: 3 x 3,000 kW
  • Speed: 22 Knots
  • Capacity: 2000 Passengers, 180 Lorries or 1,059 Cars (2700 Lane Meters)
  • Call sign: 5BDG5
  • IMO Number: 9524231
  • MMSI Number: 209479000
  • Registry: Dover/United Kingdom 🇬🇧, Limassol/Cyprus 🇨🇾
  • Sister Vessel: Spirit of France (1368)

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.


August 8th 2008: P&O Ferries signed a €360m contract with Aker Yards (later renamed STX Europe) for the two largest ferries ever to be constructed for the Dover-Calais service.


Spirit of Britain

“The first of these ships will enter service in January 2011 and the second in September 2011, replacing the Pride of Dover and the Pride of Calais.The new vessels are specifically designed for the Dover-Calais route and are built to Lloyd’s Register ‘Green Passport’ which provides a cradle to grave strategy for all materials used. The ferries will be as environmentally friendly as possible, offering significant advances in fuel efficiency through a hydro-dynamically efficient hull form that will optimise vessel performance with minimum fuel consumption.

The vessels will be the first passenger ferries in the world to comply with the new International Maritime Organisation “Safe Return to Port” requirements ahead of the international compliance date.

These rules require that, in the event of a ship becoming a casualty, basic services are provided to all persons on board and that certain systems remain operational for safe return to port. Performance standards are stipulated for a wide range of ship systems including fire-fighting, power supply, propulsion, steering and navigation. The requirements come into force for vessels built after 1 July 2010.

The ships will have the Lloyd’s Register class notation of PSMR (Propulsion and Steering Machinery Redundancy) which will be assigned where the main propulsion and steering systems are configured to ensure that, in the event of equipment failure, the ship retains availability of propulsion power and manoeuvring capability to provide a safe return to port.”

© P&O Ferries Ltd

An artist’s impression of the Spirit of Britain © P&O Ferries

March 3rd 2009: The first steel plate was cut by P&O Ferries chief executive, Helen Deeble.

© STX Europe ASA

© STX Europe ASA

August 25th 2009: The keel block was laid at the STX Europe Shipyard in Rauma, Finland. In keeping with maritime tradition coins were placed under the keel for good fortune.

Keel Laying 25/08/09 © STX Europe ASA  Keel Laying 25/08/09 © STX Europe ASA

Keel Laying 25/08/09 © STX Europe ASA

May 13th 2010: It was announced that P&O Ferries will be naming its two new ships the Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France when they come into service in 2011.

“Dame Kelly Holmes has graciously agreed to become Godmother to the Spirit of Britain which will commence service on the Dover-Calais route in January 2011.”

Spirit of Britain Under Construction

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries

June 8th 2010: The Spirit of Britain is floated out of its construction dock in Rauma, Finland.

Spirit of Britain Float Out 8th June 2010

© P&O Ferries and © STX Europe ASA  © P&O Ferries and © STX Europe ASA

© P&O Ferries and © STX Europe ASA  © P&O Ferries and © STX Europe ASA

© P&O Ferries and © STX Europe ASA  © P&O Ferries and © STX Europe ASA

© P&O Ferries and © STX Europe ASA  © P&O Ferries and © STX Europe ASA

© P&O Ferries and © STX Europe ASA

June 8th 2010: After being floated out of her building dock the Spirit of Britain is maneuvered to the fitting out quay by tugs.

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries

23rd November 2010: Departs the STX Europe shipyard in Rauma at 10:00 for her first sea trials in the Gulf of Bothnia.

© P&O Ferries  © P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries (Undergoing Sea Trials)

December 2010: Registered owner and ship manager; P&O Short Sea Ferries Ltd, Dover, United Kingdom.

© P&O Ferries

© P&O Ferries (Almost ready)

5th January 2011: Delivered to P&O Ferries at Rauma in Finland.

5th January 2011: Departed STX Europe’s Rauma shipyard on her delivery voyage to Dover. Owing to heavy ice conditions in the Baltic she was escorted by the ice breaker “Nordica” until she reached Stockholm, Sweden.

9th January 2011: Arrived at the Port of Dover shortly after 11am escorted by the Dover Harbour Board Tugs DHB Dauntless and DHB Doughty. Resumed service.

Maiden Arrival in Dover

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

9th January 2011: After crossing the bay and turning she proceeded to berth one on the Eastern Arm.

10th January 2011: Moved to berth 6 in the Eastern docks to continue her preparations to take up service on the 21st January 2011.

11th January 2011: Marin Ark deployment carried out alongside in Dover’s berth 6.

Dover 11/01/11 © "Ferry Boy"  Dover 11/01/11 © "Ferry Boy"

© Peter Wearing (Dover 11/01/2011)

14th January 2011: Carried out berthing trials within the Port of Dover.

© Captain Steve Johnson, P&O Ferries  © Captain Steve Johnson, P&O Ferries

© Captain Steve Johnson, P&O Ferries

15th January 2011: Carried out berthing trials in the Port of Calais.

21st January 2011: Entered commercial service between Dover and Calais under the command of senior master Captain David Miller.

24th January 2011: Proceeded to ARNO in Dunkerque for 48 hours of remedial work to ensure a better port fit in the port of Calais. Her bow spade was extended by 300mm on deck 5 and by 150mm on deck 3.

© Paul Bilbrough  © Paul Bilbrough

© Paul Bilbrough (Departing Calais on her first day in commercial service)

4th February 2011: Aborted her 0920 sailing with technical problems. It was reported that she was suffering shaft problems. She departed Dover at 12:30 with the assistance of two tugs and proceeded to the Margate Roads.

5th February 2011: Departed the Margate Roads bound for Zeebrugge arriving at 23:30.

© Michael Moons  © Michael Moons

© Michael Moons (Zeebrugge, 06/02/2011)

6th February 2011: Departed Zeebrugge at 16:30. She duly arrived in Dover at 22:00 before taking up the 23:15 sailing to Calais.

24th March 2011: Officially named ‘Spirit of Britain‘ by Dame Kelly Holmes MBE at Dover’s Eastern Docks. She sailed from the Port at 13:30 for a special cruise before returning to Dover at 14:30. She resumed service between Dover and Calais at 17:30.

 © Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson (Dover, 24/03/2011)

10th May 2011: Reported to be out of service due to an electrical problem.

11th May 2011: Re-entered service between Dover and Calais.

28th December 2011: Departed Dover for a hull inspection in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Falmouth © Mark Willis  Falmouth © Mark Willis

© Mark Willis (Falmouth)

5th January 2012: Arrived back in Dover and took up the 19:05 service to Calais.

Calais 29/01/12 © Ray Goodfellow  Calais 29/01/12 © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow (Calais 29/01/2012)

31st March 2012: Stood down from service and proceeded to STX Europe in Rauma, Finland for modifications to alleviate the vibration problems which were encountered during her first year in service. The Pride of Calais covered her sailings.

4th April 2012: Arrived in Finland.

22nd April 2012: Departed Rauma for Dover.

24th April 2012: Arrived back in Dover.

25th April 2012: Returned to service with the afternoon crossing to Calais. Upon arrival in Calais she was delayed for several hours following a fatality on board.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow (Ready to take up service, 25/04/2012)

28th June 2012: Experienced a technical issue with one of her propellers on the approach to the Port of Calais. Withdrawn from service to effect repairs.

30th June 2012: Re-entered service with the 0925 service from Dover to Calais.

31st August 2012: Experienced yet another technical problem resulting in her withdrawal from service.

2nd September 2012: Returned to service.

4th September 2012: Experienced further technical problems on the approach to Dover. It was reported that she was only able to use two engines and one propeller shaft. She was aided to her berth by the port tugs DHB Dauntless and DHB Doughty.

© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell

© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell

© Ed Connell

5th September 2012: Resumed Dover-Calais operations with the 0925 sailing to Calais

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

© Andreas Wörteler  © Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

© Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer

3rd January 2014: To Dunkerque for refit.

© Jean-Guy Hagelstein  © Jean-Guy Hagelstein

© Jean-Guy Hagelstein

17th January 2014: Departed Dunkerque (ex refit) for Dover at 14:00.

17th January  2014: Re-entered service with the 23:45 from Dover to Calais.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

30th January 2015: Left Dover for Falmouth and refit.

31st January 2015: Arrived in Falmouth.

© Barrie Clark  © Barrie Clark

© Barrie Clark

© Barrie Clark

7th February 2015: Departed Falmouth for Dover.

8th February 2015: Arrived in Dover and resumed service between Dover and Calais.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow (Dover 02/03/2015)

25th December 2015: To Damen Vlissingen for refit.

15th January 2016: Left Vlissingen and sailed to Dover.

17th December 2016: Had “House Flags” removed from funnel.

Courtesy of Nigel Scutt  Courtesy of Nigel Scutt

© Nigel Scutt

18th December 2016: Sailed to Vlissingen for mini-refit.

23rd December 2016: Sailed to Dover. New “House Flags”!!!

© Paul Cloke  © Paul Cloke

© Paul Cloke

27th December 2017: Off service with technical problems.

© Nigel Scutt

© Nigel Scutt

28th December 2017: Resumed service.

3rd June 2018: Departed Dover for overhaul/refit at Damen Rotterdam.

4th June 2018: Arrived in Rotterdam and entered drydock.

18th June 2018: Departed Rotterdam.

19th June 2018: Resumed service between Dover and Calais.


© Julien Carpentier (Calais 19/06/2018)

January 2nd 2019: Came off service and sailed to Hamburg for refit.



© Marko Stampehl

January 3rd 2019: Arrived in Hamburg for dry-docking at at Blohm+Voss.

January 2019: Noted as having changed to Cypriot Register, home port Limassol

January 12th 2019: Completed refit and sailed to Dover.

January 13th 2019: Arrived in Dover.

January 14th 2019: Resumed service between Dover and Calais.


© Julien Carpentier (Calais, 14/01/2019)

January 5th 2020: Left Dover and sailed to Ijmuiden.

January 6th 2020: Arrived Ijmuiden, then on to Amsterdam for refit.

January 20th 2020: Refit complete, left Amsterdam for Dover.

January 22nd 2020: Resumed service Dover – Calais.

January 5th 2022: Came off service at Dover and sailed t0 Rotterdam.

January 6th 2022: Arrived Schiedam for refit

© Hugo Sluimer

© Hugo Sluimer (Schiedam, 09/01/2022)

February 11th 2022: Refit complete, left Schiedam for Dover.

© Hans Esveldt © Hans Esveldt

© Hans Esveldt (Rotterdam, 11/02/2022)

February 12th 2022: Arrived in 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)

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

April 12th 2022: Detained at Dover by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (under Paris MoU deficiencies )

April 22nd 2022: Released from detention.

April 23rd 2022: Left Dover AIS showing destination “Trials”.

April 26th 2022: First commercial sailing, “Freight Only”, since being detained.

May 4th 2022: Reduced timetable for full service.

May 5th 2022: Full timetable for full service.

© Cedric Hacke © Cedric Hacke © Cedric Hacke

© Cedric Hacke (Calais, 25/06/2022)

January 7th 2023: Came off service at Calais and sailed to Dunkerque (East).

January 7th 2023: Arrived Dunkerque for refit.

© Julien Carpentier © Julien Carpentier

© Julien Carpentier (Dunkerque, 21/01/2023)

January 21st 2023: Refit complete, sailed from Dunkerque to Calais to resume service.

December 23rd 2023: Christmas lay-up at Dover

© Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton

© Oscar Harper

© Oscar Harper

December 26th 2023: Left Dover for refit at Falmouth

December 27th 2023: Arrived Falmouth.

© Roger Salter © Roger Salter

© Roger Salter (Falmouth, 28/12/2023)

© Jack Broderick © Jack Broderick © Jack Broderick

© Jack Broderick (Falmouth, 01/01/2024)

January 8th 2024: Left Falmouth.

© Roger Salter © Roger Salter

© Roger Salter (Falmouth, 08/01/2024)

January 9th 2024: Arrived Dover and resumed service Dover – Calais.

March 19th 2024: Off service at Calais for maintenance.

March 20th 2024: Sailed to Dover and continued service.

March 24th 2024: Came off service and sailed to Dunkerque Anchorage.

March 25th 2024: Sailed to Dunkerque East.

March 26th 2024: Left Dunkerque East.

March 27th 2024: Arrived Dunkerque Anchorage.

March 27th 2024: Arrived Calais.

March 27th 2024: Sailed to Dover for intermittent scheduled sailings.

© Stéphane Vancutsem © Stéphane Vancutsem

🆕 © Stéphane Vancutsem (Calais, 01/04/2024)

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. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to: Jack Broderick,  Paul Cloke, Chris Laming, Brian Rees, Michelle Ulyatt, Natalie Hardy and Daniel Maidment at P&O Ferries, STX Europe ASA, also: Paul Bilbrough, Julien Carpentier, Barrie Clark, Ed Connell, Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic), Carsten Dettmer, Dover Strait Shipping, Hans Esveldt, Cedric Hacke, Mike Jackson, Michael Moons, Roger Salter, Nigel Scutt, Hugo Sluimer, Marko Stampehl, Stéphane Vancutsem, Peter Wearing, Mark Willis, and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.

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

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