EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER (Vessel Profile)

EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY approaches Cairnryan during August 2018 at the end of another sailing from Larne. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY approaches Cairnryan during August 2018 at the end of another sailing from Larne. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Profile of P&O Ferries European Causeway and European Highlander which operate between Larne and Cairnryan. Pictures, history, technical data and deckplans.

Fast Facts

  • IMO Number: 9208394 / 9244116
  • Constructed by: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shimonoseki [JP] #1065 / 1069
  • Also known as:
    No previous names.
  • Passenger capacity: 410
  • Vehicle Capacity: 1750/1825 lane metres of freight -107 trailers, 84 trucks, or 315 cars or a combination of all three
  • Current Operator: P&O Ferries
  • Usual Route: Larne [NI] – Cairnryan [GB]

Overview of European Causeway and European Highlander

Designed by Danish naval architects Knud E Hansen and built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) at Shimonoseki in Southern Japan, EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER are the first and third of a series of 3 vessels (the second, EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR, later became STENA NORDICA), built for P&O Irish Sea (now part of P&O Ferries).  They operate the Larne to Cairnryan service together for P&O Ferries and are the first purpose-built vessels to operate on the service. Previously the route only had vessels cascaded from other routes.

EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER approaches Larne, August 2018. Copyright © David Faerder.
EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER approaches Larne, August 2018. Copyright © David Faerder.

As EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER and EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY were designed specifically to operate the Larne to Cairnryan link, their facilities reflect the short 105 minute crossing time they were designed for.  At the time of writing, the advertised crossing time is now slightly longer at 120 minutes.  EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY replaced PRIDE OF RATHLIN as the conventional passenger ship during August 2000.  She was joined by EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER in July 2002, which replaced the veteran freighters EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR and EUROPEAN PATHFINDER.

An artists impression of European Causeway
An artists impression of European Causeway

The “other” part-sister

The second (and largest) of the series of three vessels operated for Stena Line between Dublin and Holyhead until the start of 2015 as the STENA NORDICA, having previously operated the unsuccessful Dublin – Mostyn route for P&O until 2004 as EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR as well as Dublin-Liverpool and Rosslare to Cherbourg before a spell with Stena Line in Scandinavia.  At the end of March 2015 having been replaced at Dublin by STENA SUPERFAST X, STENA NORDICA began a charter for DFDS on the English Channel, and so again became the only vessel of the series not to operate on Irish Sea services.   She is currently back with Stena operating in the Baltic Sea following a spell as the refit relief vessel for Stena Line’s Irish Sea services in early 2017.

Stena Line's STENA NORDICA and P&O's EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY seen together in Loch Ryan as the former arrives at Loch Ryan Port on Monday 25th Feb 2019. Both vessels were originally ordered for P&O Irish Sea and are part-sisters. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
Stena Line’s STENA NORDICA and P&O Ferries’ EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY seen together in Loch Ryan as the former arrives at Loch Ryan Port on Monday 25th Feb 2019. Both vessels were originally ordered for P&O Irish Sea and are part-sisters. Copyright © Scott Mackey

Differences

There are some differences between the two Larne to Cairnryan conventional vessels, as EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER was completed 2 years after EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY, having only been ordered 3 months after the earlier vessel was introduced.  As a result the opportunity was taken to make some tweaks to the design including extending the overall length of the vessel and making some revisions to the layout of the passenger accommodation.  Most significantly a second passenger lift was added to EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER.  From the outside EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER is slightly longer and has an extra lifeboat on each side, making it easy to tell the two vessels apart.  This lifeboat replaces the MES system fitted to EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY. Despite her additional length, the official capacity of EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER remains the same as her running mate.

P&O Ferries' Japanese-built Ro-Pax EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER passes Loch Ryan Port on her way to Larne, Aug 22nd 2018. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
P&O Ferries’ Japanese-built Ro-Pax EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER passes Loch Ryan Port on her way to Larne, Aug 22nd 2018. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

Layout

Despite the difference in length between the two vessels, passenger and vehicle capacity for both vessels is the same.  Vehicles are accommodated over 3 decks (decks 1, 2 and 3) with 2 of those decks (2 and 3) directly accessible from the double-decked link spans at Larne and Cairnryan.  Vehicle access between decks is possible via 1 x 50m long hoistable ramp, and a single fixed ramp to the lower hold (deck 1).  All passenger facilities are located on deck 4.  Both vessels were refurbished by Blu Marine whilst dry-docked at Cammell-Laird Birkenhead during 2017.  These refurbishments involved installing a new Food Court, replacing and reupholstering furniture, and the replacement of the flooring in the passenger corridors.

P&O's EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY passes Corsewall Point lighthouse while enroute form Larne to Cairnryan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox 2017.
P&O’s EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY passes Corsewall Point lighthouse while en-route form Larne to Cairnryan on 21/03/17. Copyright © Steven Tarbox 2017.

Notable incidents

EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY experienced a total loss of engine power while approaching her berth at Larne on August 13 2002. The quick actions of the crew averted the vessel grounding by lowering her anchors, but a large yacht was not so lucky and experienced some slight damage having been clipped by the vessel. By the time the vessel was brought to a halt engine power had already been restored and there were no injuries to any passengers or crew as a result of the incident.

EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER was blown aground on the morning of Saturday January 8th 2005 while attempting to berth at Cairnryan at around 7am in what were described in the media as hurricane force winds. She was pulled from the shingle beach just south of the port the following morning at high tide at around 11am by two tugs. After sailing for Larne to load spare parts that evening she sailed for A&P Birkenhead for a full hull examination the following day. She was back in service on January 12th.

EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY swings towards Loch Ryan at the start of another routine crossing between Larne and Cairnryan, April 2019. Copyright © Steven Tarbox
EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY swings towards Loch Ryan at the start of another routine crossing between Larne and Cairnryan, April 2019. Copyright © Steven Tarbox

On December 18th 2018 EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY hit national headlines after several vehicles tipped over during stormy weather during a sailing to Cairnryan, damaging other vehicles on both of her vehicle decks in the process and triggering an emergency services response.  The vessel was back in service less than 24 hours later, however. The MAIB later released a special safety bulletin regarding the incident ahead of the conclusion of the full investigation as at least six freight drivers had remained in their vehicles during the sailing, despite this being against international regulations and ignoring the instructions of the crew.

On March 31st 2019, there was an engine room fire onboard EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY while alongside at Larne. While three fire appliances were deployed to assist, the crew managed to extinguish the fire using the vessels own fire suppression system with no injuries reported.

Deck plan

Click on a deck plan below to enlarge it.

Official P&O deckplan for European Causeway/European Highlander.
Official P&O deckplan for European Causeway/European Highlander (2013).
EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY / EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER deck plan, 2018 version. © P&O Ferries.
EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY / EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER deck plan, 2018 version. © P&O Ferries.

Technical Data

Side profile of European Highlander. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Side profile of European Highlander. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Side profile drawing of EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY. Copyright © Steven Tarbox
Side profile drawing of EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY. Copyright © Steven Tarbox

 

EUROPEAN CAUSEWAYEUROPEAN HIGHLANDER (where different)
IMO Number92083949244116
ClassificationLloyds Register of Shipping
DesignKnud E Hansen A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark
Interior Design (as built)Knud E Hansen A/S, Copenhagen, DenmarkDugdale Management and Design, Ipswich, England
Technical consultantThree Quays Marine Services, London, England
(Now BCTQ)
Building YardMitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Shimonoseki, Japan
Hull Number10651069
Laid down 12/10/2001
Launched20/03/200018/01/2002
Year Completed20002002
Construction Cost£33m£36m
In service14th August 2000
(replacing Pride of Rathlin)
3rd July 2002
(Replacing European Endeavour and European Pathfinder)
Call signC6RG7C6SN6
Length overall159.5m162.7m
Beam25.7m25.7m
Draft5.5m5.5m
Gross Tonnage20,64621,118
Machinery

Main Engines : 4 x Wärtsilä 12V38 (Max 7.92kW each @600 rpm, NOR 6,732kW) V12 marine diesel engines

Auxiliary Engines: 2 x Daihatsu 6DK-28 (1,900kW each @750 rpm)

Bow Thrusters: 2 x Kawasaki (1.260kW each)

Engine power is delivered to 2 x 4.25m KaMeWa propellers driven at 182 rpm

Sperry Marine Gyrofin® stabilizers

Litton Vision 2100 integrated bridge system

Interswitched Decca BridgeMaster E 340 ARPA radars and 250 docking radar

(See more at: http://www.sperrymarine.com/news/litton-marine-systems-supplies-electronics-new-po-irish-seas-ro-ro-ferry/)

Power(Max/Pme  @ 75%)31680kW/23760kW
Operational speed (designed/in service)22.7/18 Knots

 

24.95 knots achieved in trials

22.5/18 Knots
Capacity410 passengers 1750 lane metres of freight -107 trailers, 84 trucks, or 315 cars or a combination of all three410 passengers 1825 lane metres of freight -107 trailers, 84 trucks, or 315 cars or a combination of all three
CrewApprox. 55Approx. 57
Onboard Facilities in use
(Following May 2013 refits)
  • Club lounge (Chargeable extra)
  • Onboard Wi-Fi (Chargeable extra)
  • Family Bar
  • Food Court
  • Video game arcade
  • Children’s play area
  • Shop
  • Freight drivers restaurant
  • Freight drivers lounge
  • Freight drivers showers
  • Outside deck
General arrangement of European Causeway. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

P&O Promotional Video about the 2013 refit of European Highlander

Promotional Video About The 2013 Refit Of European Highlander

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Last Updated: 29.04.19SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

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