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Irish Ferries Signs Bareboat Charter Agreement Including Purchase Obligation with DP World France SAS for 'Spirit of Britain'

16th May 2024
Big Boost: ICG’s subsidiary, Irish Ferries, has signed a bareboat charter agreement with DP World of the Spirit of Britain, a former P&O Ferries serving ship on the Dover-Calais route, where it is to return to service for the Dublin based company in June. At 47,592 tonnes, Afloat highlights the ‘Spirit’ class ferry will be the largest ferry for Irish Ferries when it joins their fleet on the UK-France link.
Big Boost: ICG’s subsidiary, Irish Ferries, has signed a bareboat charter agreement with DP World of the Spirit of Britain, a former P&O Ferries serving ship on the Dover-Calais route, where it is to return to service for the Dublin based company in June. At 47,592 tonnes, Afloat highlights the ‘Spirit’ class ferry will be the largest ferry for Irish Ferries when it joins their fleet on the UK-France link. Credit: P&O Ferries-facebook

Irish Continental Group (ICG) subsidiary Irish Ferries, has entered into a Bareboat Charter agreement including a purchase obligation with DP World France SAS for the Spirit of Britain, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Spirit of Britain until recently had operated for the DP World owned operator, P&O Ferries, on the Dover-Calais route, from where the ‘Spirit’ class ferry built by STX Europe, Rauma, Finland, in 2010 entered service for P&O on the UK-France route the following year.

The 47,592 tonnes ferry has been acquired by the Dublin based maritime transport group, ICG for a total consideration of €89.4 million settled through a combination of a two-year bareboat charter set at €20,000 per day and a purchase obligation for €74.8 million at the end of the charter.

Afloat tracked today the Spirit of Britain to Dover Eastern (Arm) Docks, where the 212m ferry to be renamed is available for immediate delivery, and according to ICG, it is expected to enter Irish Ferries UK-France service in June. In that month, three years ago, Irish Ferries launched their Dover-Calais service in direct competition with P&O Ferries and DFDS on the premier short-sea route between the UK and mainland Europe.

Spirit of Britain along with 'Darwin' class twins, were replaced by P&O’s ‘Fusion’ class newbuilds, the second of twins, P&O Liberté, which made its debut in March, as Afloat previously reported. Its entry on the Strait of Dover involves three ferries (likewise of Irish Ferries) operating the busy short-sea service.

With Irish Ferries introduction of the Spirit of Britain, this will boost capacity, with 2000 passengers, and enhanced customer facilities. In addition increased space for 194 cars and for freight totalling 180 lorries.

Irish Ferries acquistion of the ‘Spirit’ class ship will be their largest ferry on the UK-France service, which will allow the operator to move one of the three ferries on the Dover-Calais service to replace ropax Norbay. Incidentally, this ferry is chartered from P&O Ferries and is currently running on Irish Ferries Rosslare-Pembroke route.

The ferry trio on the Strait of Dover service is operated by the Isle of Inishmore, which previously served the Ireland-Wales route until opening the UK-France route in June, 2021, in addition to secondhand tonnage acquired, leading to the Isle of Innisfree and Isle of Inisheer.

Published in Irish Ferries
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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About Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries, owned by the Irish Continental Group, is a a major ferry operator in Ireland, providing daily and weekly links to and from Ireland for tourism and freight travelling between Ireland and the UK and Ireland and the continent. Irish Ferries has a fleet of six ships, three of which service the busy Dublin to Holyhead route.

The ICG Chairman is John B McGuckian and the CEO is Eamon Rothwell.

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