Ferry News

Irish Ferries Acquires Additional Dover – Calais Ferry From Competitor

Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group (ICG) has today confirmed widely reported industry information that it has purchased a ferry from competitor DFDS. 

1992-built CALAIS SEAWAYS will be renamed ISLE OF INNISFREE when she is introduced to service with the company.  She will become the third ferry to wear the name for the company.  The vessel transferred to ICG ownership yesterday.

An artist’s impression of CALAIS SEAWAYS as ISLE OF INNISFREE. Image: Irish Ferries.
An artist’s impression of CALAIS SEAWAYS as ISLE OF INNISFREE. Image: Irish Ferries.

Increased Frequency

The addition of a second ship will allow Irish Ferries to offer a much more competitive 10 sailings each way per day.   This comes at a time when the DFDS/P&O space charter is due to begin on 7 November.  Presently Irish Ferries has a single vessel, ISLE OF INISHMORE, on its Dover – Calais route.

Andrew Sheen, Irish Ferries Managing Director, said:

“We are delighted be able to add a second ship to our Dover / Calais route, with the ship doubling our frequency with a departure every 2 ½ hours rather than the current 5 hours between sailings. The Ship underlines our commitment to this route and facilitates trade for both exporters and importers as well as ensuring capacity for essential passenger movements and greater choice for tourism”.


CALAIS SEAWAYS was released from the DFDS by the arrival of the purpose-built E-Flexer ferry CÔTE D’OPALE.  The former was completed in 1991 (though not actually delivered until May the following year) by Boelwerf as PRINS FILIP for the Belgian state controlled Ostend – Dover (later Ramsgate) service.  She has a gross tonnage of 28,833 tonnes, passenger capacity for 1,140 and a freight unit carrying capacity of 83 units. 

In almost three decades of service under various names and operators, CALAIS SEAWAYS has connected Dover to Ostend, Zeebrugge, Boulogne, Calais, and Dunkirk. She also operated as an overnight ferry on the Portsmouth – Le Havre route. ISLE OF INNISFREE will be the ninth name that the ship has carried.

Irish Ferries expects to introduce the new vessel from the first week of December 2021.

Steven Tarbox

Steven is a former retail professional and a ferry writer and photographer. He created NI Ferry Site as a web design project in 2014 to be a news and information source for everyone with an interest in ferries, with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. Steven is the editor of the website and looks after all of the technical aspects.
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