MS Pride of Calais and the White Cliffs of Dover, Dover Harbour, Kent, UK

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John Latter on July 25, 2010

The MS Pride of Calais ferry at the start of a regular cross-channel sailing to Calais in France.

This Dover Harbour photo, best viewed in a larger size, was taken at 12.33 pm on Thursday, 22nd of July, 2010, from near the lighthouse end of the Prince of Wales Pier.

The Eastern Arm pier running behind the Pride of Calais juts out from the Eastern Docks (the cross-channel ferry terminal, out-of-shot to the left) which are located below the White Cliffs of Dover.

At the end of the Eastern Arm is the Eastern Entrance to the Straits of Dover and English Channel (the other side of Eastern Entrance is formed by the Southern Breakwater).

The strange-looking object on top of the cliffs just right of centre is the South Foreland lighthouse. The top of the darker Old South Foreland lighthouse, built in 1793, can be seen near the right-hand edge of the cliffs. Both lighthouses are over 5000 yards distant, the ship is about 1600 yards away (see all lighthouses).

The Pride of Calais appears in the background of The MT Clipper Bordeaux, Western Entrance, Dover Harbour; also see the Pride of Dover and Pride of Canterbury photos.

The Pride of Calais, currently owned by P and O Ferries, was originally built for Townsend Thoresen in 1987, and launched on the 11th of April of that same year, as the sister ship to the MS Pride of Dover. She can carry 650 cars and 2290 passengers. The ship has always served on the Dover-Calais route, but during French labour disputes she has sailed to Zeebrugge (Belgium). (1)

Townsend Thoresen was renamed P and O European Ferries late in 1987, following the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster.

Between 1999 and 2002 the Pride of Calais was under the control of P and O Stena Line and carried the name P and OSL Calais (sometimes P and O SL Calais) from 1999 until 2002. Once returned to P&O control she was renamed MV PO Calais before she was repainted into new P&O Ferries livery when her name returned to MV Pride of Calais.

The Pride of Calais will leave service in 2010 - 2011 to be replaced by one of two new ferries ordered by P and O Ferries, both of which will have a bigger capacity and almost double the amount of tonnage, at 49,000 tonnes, making them the largest ferries to ever cross the channel.

A LLoyd`s List article dated Thursday, 8 April 2010, originally said (3):

Dame Kelly Holmes DBE, the UK double gold medal heroine of the Athens Olympics, is to become Godmother to the first of two huge record-beating cross-Channel ferries to sail on the Dover-Calais service.

Dame Kelly will name the Olympic Spirit when P&O Ferries takes delivery of the new vessel at the end of 2010. An identical sistership will be delivered in the autumn of 2011 and will take the name Olympic Pride.

At 49,000 gross tonnes and 213 m in length the new ships enter the record books as the largest ferries to date to operate across the Dover Strait.

With space for more than 160 articulated lorries the two new ships will double the freight carrying capacity of the Pride of Dover and Pride of Calais, the ships they are replacing, while providing a third vehicle deck for up to 200 tourist vehicles.

This announcement was updated on Wednesday, 5th May 2010, when BBC News reported (4):

Two new ferries for the Dover-Calais route have been re-titled to avoid clashes over Olympic naming rights. Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes is to name one of the new P&O ferries, which was to have been called Olympic Spirit, next year. The vessel will now be called Spirit of Britain. Its sister ship, originally known as Olympic Pride, will now be named Spirit of France.

P and O Ferries have a Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France website which is "designed to keep you up to date with how the ships are progressing and what you can expect when they enter service in 2011. The site will be regularly updated with exciting content including images, videos and even blog updates from those involved in the project. The latest technology has been used to bring the ships alive, eventually allowing you to explore them all in incredibly realistic 'virtual walkthroughs'."

Pride of Calais Career (1):

Name: 1987-1999: Pride of Calais, 1999-2002: P&OSL Calais, 2002-2003: PO Calais, 2003-present: Pride of Calais

Owner: 1987: Townsend Thoresen, 1987-2006: P&O European Ferries (Dover) Ltd, 2006-present: P&O Ferries Ltd

Operator: P&O Ferries

Port of registry: Dover, United Kingdom

Route: Dover-Calais

Builder: Schichau Unterweser AG (Schichau Seebeckwerft)

Yard number: 94

Maiden voyage: 4 December 1987

Status: in service

General characteristics (1) (2)

Tonnage: 26,433 tonnes

Length: 169.6 m (556.4 ft)

Beam: 28.27 m (92.7 ft)

Draft: 6.12 m (20.1 ft)

Installed power: 3 x Sulzer ZA40S Diesels

Propulsion: Triple controllable pitch propellers

Speed: 22 knots

Capacity: 2,290 passengers, 650 vehicles (1,500 lanemetres)

Call Sign: GJLY

IMO: 8517748

MMSI: 232001710

"P and O", or "P&O", is derived from the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.

Click to see all Ferry photos (related tags: Boats, Cruise Ships, Ships, Tugs).

(1) Wikipedia entry for MS Pride of Calais (2) Marinetraffic entry for MS Pride of Calais (3) "Award revived for pioneer": the link is no longer working, possibly because the news became out of date. (4) Change of names for new ferries to avoid Olympics clash

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on January 10, 2011

Click to see the new P&O super-ferry, MS Spirit of Britain, which entered Dover Harbour for the first time on Sunday, 9th of January, 2011 (replacing the Pride of Dover).

John Latter on May 12, 2011

The Pride of Calais appears in the background to:

MS Emerald Princess Cruise Ship berthed at the Admiralty Pier

John Latter on January 29, 2013

Renamed Ostend Spirit in December 2012 for Transeuropa Ferries. When in range of AIS, the vessel's current position is shown at:

MS Ostend Spirit Ferry

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and AIS Base stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on July 25, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2010/07/22 12:33:35
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 200.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash