Kent local Jenny Evans has become only the second woman ever to captain a P&O Ferries ship after being promoted to the rank of Master on the Spirit of France.
The 30-year-old, who joined P&O Ferries straight after taking her GCSEs, now has responsibility for up to 200 crew members and 2,000 passengers who sail on the 47,000-ton ship between Dover and Calais.
Jenny, who lives in Rochester with her husband David, said: “I wanted a career at sea from the age of 13. My dad, Jim Grove-Quinn, also worked for P&O Ferries and whenever we went to Calais on our holidays I spent most of my time going up to the captain’s bridge to see how the ship was being run.”
“At my dad’s suggestion, I joined P&O Ferries straight from school and took a cadet course at South Tyneside College which set me on the path to becoming an officer.
“Since then I’ve worked on most of the ships in our English Channel fleet. I love the job, which is very busy and always has something going on.
“My dad still works for the company on our sister ship the Spirit of Britain and is very proud that his daughter has reached the rank of Master. Although he’s made me promise never to tell him what to do if I ever see him on board.”
P&O Ferries, which is this year celebrating the 180th anniversary of the founding of P&O, appointed its first female captain in 2015.
John Garner, the company’s Fleet Director, added: “Jenny’s progression through the ranks illustrates the remarkable career opportunities which are available to young men and women who choose a career at sea. We are all proud of her and wish her many years of happy and safe sailing with P&O Ferries.”
P&O Ferries is a leading pan-European ferry and logistics company, sailing 27,000 times a year on eight major routes between Britain, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium. It operates more than 20 vessels which carry 10 million passengers and 2.2 million freight units annually.