MV Spirit of France
© STX Europe ASA
Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 2011 by STX Europe, Rauma, Finland (Yard No. 1368) for P&O Ferries, London, England. Delivered January 2012.
- 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: 30,400kW (40,767hp)
- Thrusters: 3 x 3,000 kW
- Speed: 22 Knots
- Capacity: 2000 Passengers, 180 Lorries or 1,059 Cars (2700 Lane Meters)
- Call Sign: 2DXD5
- MMSI Number: 235082717
- IMO Number: 9533816
- Registry: Dover/United Kingdom, Limassol/Cyprus
- Sister Vessel: Spirit of Britain
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August 8th 2008: P&O Ferries signs a €360m contract with Aker Yards (STX Europe) for the two largest ferries ever to be constructed for the Dover-Calais service. 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.
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. The Spirit of Britain will enter service in January 2011 followed by the Spirit of France in September 2011.
June 8th 2010: On the same day as the float out of the Spirit of Britain the keel of the Spirit of France was laid at the STX Europe Shipyard in Rauma, Finland. In keeping with maritime tradition `lucky’ coins were placed under the keel by P&O Ferries chairman, Robert Woods.
Spirit of France Under Construction
© P&O Ferries
December 2010: Registered owner and ship manager; P&O Ferries Ltd, Dover, United Kingdom.
February 18th 2011: Floated out of the building dock at STX Europe Rauma shipyard for the first time in sub zero temperatures.
Spirit of France Float Out
© STX Europe ASA
February 18th 2011: After her float out the Spirit of France was manoeuvred to the fitting out quay.
Fitting out at STX Rauma in May 2011. © P&O Ferries
May 2011: Fit out works continues apace with sea trials expected sometime in June 2011.
June 29th 2011: Departed STX Rauma for her first sea trials in the Gulf of Bothnia.
September 6th 2011: Further sea trials. Owing to vibration issues delivery is delayed.
October 13th 2011: Further sea trials.
October 26th 2011: Further sea trials.
November 13th 2011: Further sea trials.
November 17th 2011: Reported in some maritime news outlets that P&O had refused delivery due to vibration issues.
November 28th 2011: During a storm the vessel parted her moorings and ran aground within the shipyard. The vessel was dry docked and damage was deemed to be negligible.
December 20th 2011: Further sea trials.
January 3rd 2012: Final sea/yard acceptance trials completed.
Departing for final sea trials © P&O Ferries
January 24th 2012: Official handover to P&O Ferries and commencement of her 1,400 mile journey to Dover. Scheduled to arrive in Dover at 11:00 (GMT) on Saturday 28th January 2012.
Handover to P&O Ferries 24/01/12 © STX Europe ASA (left) and Departure from Rauma © P&O Ferries (right)
January 28th 2012: At 11:00 the Spirit of France duly arrived in her home port of Dover.
© Ray Goodfellow
January 29th 2012: Conducts berthing trials in the Port of Dover.
January 30th 2012: Maiden arrival in Calais for berthing trials. Departed Calais for Dover and berthed at cruise terminal two for crew familiarisation.
February 8th 2012: Operated a freight crossing to Calais.
February 9th 2012: Operated her maiden passenger voyage from Dover to Calais at 12:05.
© Andreas Wörteler
© Ray Goodfellow
© Andreas Wörteler
© Carsten Dettmer
December 19th 2013: To Dunkerque for refit.
© Robert Fournier
January 2nd 2014: Departed Dunkerque and resumed service.
© Ray Goodfellow
June 29th 2015: Prevented from docking in Calais due to industrial action. Vessel returned to Dover and berthed bow in to discharge her load before departing for the Downs anchorage.
Loading at Dover before returning from Calais after being refused entry 29/06/15 © Ray Goodfellow
June 30th 2015: Owing to Industrial Action, which closed the port of Calais, sailed to Boulogne for berthing trials. Returned to Dover “in ballast”. With further disruption probable, expected further sailings to Boulogne.
Arriving in Boulogne © Manuel Dhondt
Boulogne © Manuel Dhondt
© Jean-Guy Hagelstein
July 2nd 2015: Resumed service between Dover and Calais.
December 19th 2015: Stood down from Dover-Calais service and proceeded to Scheldepoort Drydock at Damen Vlissingen (Flushing).
December 20th 2015: Entered Dry Dock.
Scheldepoort Drydock at Damen Vlissingen (Flushing) 20/12/15 © Co de Vos
December 24th 2015: Departed Vlissingen for Dover.
Departing Scheldepoort, Vlissingen (Flushing) for Dover on the 24/12/15 © Arjan Van Gelder
December 27th 2015: Resumed service from Dover to Calais.
Back in service, seen arriving in Dover on the 29/12/15 © Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping)
© Frank Behrends
December 26th 2016: Sailed to Damen , Dunkerque for refit.
© Robert Fournier
January 12th 2017: Left Dunkerque.
January 13th 2017: Resumed service Dover – Calais
© Cedric Hacke
January 14th 2019: Came off service and sailed to Hamburg for refit.
January 15th 2019: Arrived Hamburg
January 2019: Noted as having been re-registered to Cypriot flag.
January 25th 2019: Refit completed, left Hamburg and sailed to Dover.
January 26th 2019: Arrived in Dover and recommenced Dover – Calais.
January 22nd 2020: Came off service and sailed to Ijmuiden.
January 23rd 2020: Arrived Ijmuiden and onward to Amsterdam for refit.
January 23rd 2020: Arrived Amsterdam.
February 4th 2020: Refit complete arrived IJmuiden and continued to Dover.
February 5th 2020: Arrived in Dover to resume service Calais – Dover.
February 6th 2020: Resumed service.
February 10th 2021: To Schiedam (Rotterdam) for refit and alterations to service areas.
March 3rd 2021: Returned to Dover.
March 5th 2021: To Tilbury for completion if internal works.
March 18th 2021: Returned to Dover.
March 19th 2021: Resumed service Dover – Calais.
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: I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Frank Behrends, Cedric Hacke, Chris Laming, Brian Rees, Michelle Ulyatt, Natalie Hardy and Daniel Maidment at P&O Ferries, STX Europe ASA, Dover Sea Safari, Nigel Scutt (Dover Strait Shipping), Co de Vos, Arjan Van Gelder, Carsten Dettmer, Robert Fournier, Jean-Guy Hagelstein, Manuel Dhondt and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.