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P&O Cruiseferry Giant on UK-EU 'Landbridge' Route Returns to Humber after Engine Room Fire

22nd October 2020
Pride of Hull departed its UK namesake port city (above on Humberside) on the North Sea bound for Rotterdam when an engine room fire took place. AFLOAT's photo of the giant cruiseferry is one of the largest in Europe has a capacity for 1,360 passengers,  250 cars and 400 freight vehicles. Among facilities is a traditional Irish Pub Bar. P&O's operations on the Irish Sea comprise of the Dublin-Liverpool service and the North Channel link of Larne-Cairnryan. Pride of Hull departed its UK namesake port city (above on Humberside) on the North Sea bound for Rotterdam when an engine room fire took place. AFLOAT's photo of the giant cruiseferry is one of the largest in Europe has a capacity for 1,360 passengers, 250 cars and 400 freight vehicles. Among facilities is a traditional Irish Pub Bar. P&O's operations on the Irish Sea comprise of the Dublin-Liverpool service and the North Channel link of Larne-Cairnryan. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

P&O Ferries operator on the Irish Sea in addition to a North Sea 'landbridge' link to mainland Europe served by Pride of Hull was stranded with almost 300 passengers on board after an engine room fire.

The fire took place on board the Pride of Hull which was reported about 21:00 BST on Tuesday, said HM Coastguard.

All 264 passengers and crew are safe aboard the ferry travelling from Hull to Rotterdam.

It is anchored in the River Humber (see Pre-Brexit) following the fire, the coastguard added.

P&O Ferries said it would return the ship to port later and assess the damage after a fire in one of the engine rooms.

An Associated British Ports spokesman said: "We continue to support the ship and will be assisting in her safe return to the Port of Hull as soon as possible."

BBC News has further details of the incident. 

Afloat adds as of this afternoon, Pride of Hull berthed at its routine Humberside terminal (see photo above). Sister Pride of Rotterdam belong to some of the largest cruiseferries operating in Europe and worldwide with each ship of almost 60,000 gross registered tonnage, noting Irish Ferries W. B. Yeats is 54,975. 

A pair of P&O ropax ferries currently on the Irish Sea, Norbay and Norbank had served Hull-Rotterdam though firstly for operator North Sea Ferries, a subsidiary of P&O Ferries.

In 2002 the ropax twins transferred to the Dublin-Liverpool route where running since the summer is the chartered in freight-only Misida, as Afloat previously reported.

Published in Ferry
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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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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