Ferry News

P&O Ferries Sells Dover – Calais Ferry

Dover-based P&O Ferries has reached an agreement with Sea Lines of the Åland Islands for the sale of the Calais freight vessel EUROPEAN SEAWAY.  The 30 year old ferry, which is presently laid up in the River Fal, will be renamed SEA ANATOLIA by her new owner.

EUROPEAN SEAWAY is expected to be towed to Turkey for conversion work to make her more suitable for possible future roles.  

As a Dover-based vessel, EUROPEAN SEAWAY was built to load using shore-to-ship ramps rather than more commonly used ship-to-shore onboard ramps.  As with P&O Ferries’ other Dover vessels, EUROPEAN SEAWAY does not have any ramps between her vehicle decks as she is designed for loading over twin-level ramps only.  

Speculative Purchase 

Sea Lines plans to install a new stern ramp as well as an internal ramp which will hugely increase deployment options for the ship. EUROPEAN SEAWAY will also require maintenance work having not seen service since June 2019.  It is understood that she will be towed to Turkey.

EUROPEAN SEAWAY Restaurant Seating. For more interior shots of this ship, see our dedicated page here. © Steven Tarbox

Sea Lines previously operated a route between Turkey and Ukraine.  This was originally in partnership with Stena then on an individual basis.  The route and its ship SEA PARTNER (ex STENA PARTNER) was sold to CENK Group earlier his year.

The Sea Lines purchase of EUROPEAN SEAWAY appears to be purely speculative with no firm route currently planned for her.  The CEO of the company, Joe Lindbolm told Åland’s Sjöfart:

“We are happy to take over such a flexible and well-managed ship.  We currently have no firm plans for her.  We follow the market and see what happens.  It may be relevant to employ in your own traffic, charter out or sell”

(Google translated from Swedish)

While no sale price has been disclosed, Sea Lines is understood to have acquired EUROPEAN SEAWAY at an attractive price which reflects the work that needs to be done to the ship.  

EUROPEAN SEAWAY approaches Larne on her first full day of service, Saturday 6th May 2017. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
EUROPEAN SEAWAY approaches Larne on her first full day of service, Saturday 6th May 2017. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

The sale of EUROPEAN SEAWAY brings a 30 year long career with P&O Ferries companies to a close.  Originally ordered by P&O European Ferries as one of four similar ships, she is the sole member of her class to remain as originally conceived.  This has limited her usefulness to P&O which has seen the ship spend numerous periods of time laid up.

In addition to her normal Dover – Calais route, EUROPEAN SEAWAY has also served the Larne – Cairnryan service and the Dover and Zeebrugge service she was originally constructed for.

Pride of Burgundy Finished With P&O?

EUROPEAN SEAWAY’s part-sisters are PRIDE OF BURGUNDY, PRIDE OF KENT, and PRIDE OF CANTERBURY.  While Kent and Canterbury were converted to Ro-Paxes from the same configuration as EUROPEAN SEAWAY, PRIDE OF BURGUNDY was built as a Ro-Pax ferry with her design changed while under construction.  

PRIDE OF BURGUNDY. Image: P&O Ferries.

It is understood from industry sources that efforts are ongoing to find a buyer for the PRIDE OF BURGUNDY and she is unlikely to return to service with P&O Ferries.  She completed her most recent spell of service on 20 December, having covered the dry-docking of PRIDE OF CANTERBURY. PRIDE OF BURGUNDY is currently tied up at Dunkirk.

P&O Ferries was contacted and has declined to comment on the sale of EUROPEAN SEAWAY.

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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