MS Spirit of Britain Ferry and the White Cliffs of Dover, Dover Harbour, Kent, UK

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John Latter on January 10, 2011

After wandering around in small circles in the North Sea off Deal and Sandwich for a couple of hours, the MS Spirit of Britain super-ferry finally entered the Eastern Entrance of Dover Harbour at 11.05 am (my camera's time) on Sunday, 9th of January, 2011.

The above view, with the White Cliffs of Dover as a backdrop, was taken at 11.19 am and shows the brand-new cross-channel ferry in the last stages of maneuvering prior to berthing.

The Eastern Arm pier running behind the Spirit of Britain juts out from the Eastern Docks cross-channel ferry terminal (out-of-shot to the left).

At the other 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 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 above zoomed photo of the Spirit of Britain, best viewed in a larger size, was taken 1900 yards away from near the lighthouse end of the Prince of Wales Pier (see all lighthouse photos).

Click to see a similar view of the MS Pride of Calais.

Abridged extract from a P&O Ferries blog (1):

P and O Ferries took delivery of its new 180 million euro ship Spirit of Britain on the 5th of January after a handover ceremony at the STX Europe shipyard in Rauma, Finland.

The ship then followed a route initially cleared by icebreakers in the Baltic Sea.

The ship will now undergo final preparations for entry into service on the cross-channel Dover to Calais route from the 21st of January.

At 49,000 gross registered tonnes and 213 metres in length, Spirit of Britain is by far the largest ferry ever designed for service on the Dover Strait. The new ship is the first of a pair coming into service for P&O Ferries between Dover and Calais this year, with sister ship Spirit of France to follow in September. Each has capacity for up to 2,000 passengers and vehicle deck space for a line of traffic almost four kilometres long.

The MS Spirit of Britain, which is replacing the MS Pride of Dover, was originally going to be called the Olympic Spirit. Then in may, 2010, BBC News reported (2):

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.

Ship's Details (3):

Name: Spirit of Britain

Operator: P and O Ferries

Port of registry: Dover, United Kingdom

Route: Dover-Calais

Builder: STX Europe, Rauma, Finland

Yard number: 1367

Launched: 8 June 2010

Status: Completed

General characteristics (3) (4):

Tonnage: 49,000 tonnes

Length: 213 m (698.8 ft)

Beam: 31.4 m (103.0 ft)

Draft: 6.5 m (21.3 ft)

Installed power: 4 x MAN 7L 48/60 Diesels

Propulsion: 2 x controllable pitch propellers

3 x Bow thrusters

Speed: 22 kn (41 km/h)

Capacity: 2,000 passengers, 650 vehicles

Call Sign: 2DXD4

IMO: 9524231

MMSI: 235082716

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

Click to see all Ferry photos (including the Pride of Canterbury; related tags: Boats, Cruise Ships, Ships, Tugs, Workboats).

(1) P&O Ferries New Ships Blog

(2) Change of names for new ferries to avoid Olympics clash

(3) Wikipedia entry for MS Spirit of Britain

(4) Marinetraffic entry for MS Spirit of Britain

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 16, 2011

This is the last (but uploaded first) of 5 photos showing various stages of the arrival of the MS Spirit of Britain in Dover Harbour.

The first in the series is:

Dover Tugs welcome the MS Spirit of Britain

Links to the other 3 will appear in subsequent "Comments".

John Latter on January 17, 2011

Click to see the 2nd of 5 photos showing the MS Spirit of Britain super-ferry arriving in Dover Harbour for the first time on Sunday, January 9th, 2011:

Dover Tugs escorting the MS Spirit of Britain ferry in Dover Harbour

John Latter on January 19, 2011

The 4th photo in the series of 5 (and the last to be uploaded) showing the MS Spirit of Britain super-ferry's arrival in Dover Harbour has now been uploaded:

MS Spirit of Britain before the White Ciffs of Dover

John Latter on January 20, 2011

An "extra" photo of the MS Spirit of Britain's first arrival in Dover Harbour has been uploaded:

MS Spirit of Britain near the White Cliffs of Dover

John Latter on January 21, 2011

The 3rd photo in the series of 5 showing the MS Spirit of Britain super-ferry's arrival in Dover Harbour has now been uploaded:

MS Spirit of Britain and a Water Cannon Salute

Also see the 20th of January, 2011, photo:

MS Spirit of Britain berthed in the Eastern Docks at Night

John Latter on October 7, 2012

The MS Spirit of Britain is framed between the "standing stones" shown in:

The On the Crest of a Wave Artwork at Sunset, Dover Harbour.

John Latter on December 15, 2012

When in range of AIS, the vessel's current position is shown at:

MS Spirit of Britain 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 January 10, 2011
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2011/01/09 11:19:00
    • Exposure: 0.005s (1/200)
    • Focal Length: 0.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash