Thursday, 6 October 2011

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

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 on Sunday, 9th of January, 2011:

The P and O super-ferry before the White Cliffs of Dover after arriving from builders shipyard in Rauma, Finland (STX Europe) January 9, 2011. Call Sign: 2DXD4, IMO: 9524231, MMSI 235082716. View: Prince of Wales Pier.
(Click this MS Spirit of Britain text link to see the largest size)

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.

This zoomed photo of the Spirit of Britain was taken 1900 yards away from near the lighthouse end of the Prince of Wales Pier (see all lighthouse photos).

A similar view of the MS Pride of Calais will be uploaded anon.

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

P&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.

Video - A 2010 3D computer simulation showing the Spirit-class ferry crossing the English Channel and her modular construction:

The MS Spirit of Britain, which replaces the MS Pride of Dover (2), was originally going to be called the Olympic Spirit. Then in May 2010, BBC News reported (3):

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.

Vessel Details (4) (5):

Name: Spirit of Britain
Operator: P&O Ferries (company website) (6)
Port of registry: Dover, United Kingdom
Route: Dover-Calais
Builder: STX Europe, Rauma, Finland
Yard number: 1367
Launched: 8 June 2010
Status: In service
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.

Geology (7): The White Cliffs of Dover are composed mainly of soft, white chalk with a very fine-grained texture, composed primarily of coccoliths, plates of calcium carbonate formed by coccolithophores, single-celled planktonic algae whose skeletal remains sank to the bottom of the ocean and, together with the remains of bottom-living creatures, formed sediments. Flint and quartz are also found in the chalk.

White cliffs like those of Dover are also found on the Danish islands of Møn and Langeland or the coasts of the island of Rügen in Germany. The cliff face continues to weather at an average rate of 1 centimetre (0.39 in) per year, although occasionally large pieces will fall. The most recently reported rockfall occurred in January 2010 when an estimated 90,000 tons of chalk fell into the sea (8).

Notes and Sources

(1) P&O Ferries New Ships Blog
Built 1987 by Schichau Unterweser for Townsend Thoresen, now P and O Ferries. Ex-MV P and O SL Dover. Cross-channel route Dover to Calais (France). IMO 8517736, MMSI 232001670, Call Sign: GJCR. Withdrawn 2010.
MS Pride of Dover

(2) The MS Pride of Dover berthed at the Admiralty Pier in April 2010 during the transport crisis following the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruptions in Iceland.

(3) Change of names for new ferries to avoid Olympics clash
(4) Wikipedia entry for MS Spirit of Britain
(5) Marinetraffic entry for MS Spirit of Britain
(6) Also see P&O Ferries
(7) Wikipedia entry for the White Cliffs of Dover (abridged)
(8) All over for the White Cliffs of Dover? Fears for historic landmark as severe winters cause huge rockfalls

The main photo was originally uploaded to:

MS Spirit of Britain and the White Cliffs of Dover, Dover Harbour

See all MS Spirit of Britain and Cross-Channel Ferry photos.

A Dover Panorama photo

Clickable thumbnails of all harbour-related photos on the main Panoramio Images of Dover website are available on this blog on the Port of Dover Page (also linked to below the blog title).

The Panoramio photos are each accompanied by a Google Earth satellite map. However, the images are smaller than those on the Images of Dover Blog and the captions are less well formatted.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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