P&O receives £150m cross-Channel ferry


P&O Ferries has taken delivery of a new £150 million ship set for service in one of the world's busiest waterways.

The 47,000-tonne, 213-metre long Spirit of France, which can hold up to 2,000 passengers, is one of the largest ferries built for the Dover Strait.

P&O Ferries collected the vessel at the STX shipyard in Rauma, Finland, yesterday before it started its 1,400-mile voyage to Dover under the command of Captain Steve Johnson. It will arrive in Dover at 11am on Saturday.

Final preparations will then be made before the Spirit of France enters service on the Dover-Calais route by the middle of next month.

Last year Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes officially named another P&O Ferries ship, the £152 million Spirit of Britain, a 49,000-tonne ferry.

The company said the combined cost of the two sister ships represented the largest investment it had ever made.

Chief executive Helen Deeble said: "This investment gives us the finest cross-Channel ferries ever commissioned for the Dover Strait and is a bold statement of our determination to continue to raise the bar in terms of the quality and comfort of ferry travel.