A legal wrangle looks likely after LD Lines parent Louis Dreyfus Armateurs cancelled the order for Norman Leader, the 12,000gt vessel reported to be costing the equivalent of £78 million and specifically designed for the English Channel service linking Portsmouth and Le Havre.
Contracted with Singapore Technologies Marine as far back as July 2007, Norman Leader undertook trials during 2010 and was advertised to enter service on 28 April this year. Apart from delivery delays, LDA are also citing deadweight issues with the vessel, which is designed to carry up to 1,250 passengers, with vehicle decks offering various freight combinations.
After a lengthy refit at the Remontowa Yard in Gdansk, Poland, Norman Spirit (1991/28,883gt) has returned to the Portsmouth-Le Havre route it opened for LD Lines in autumn 2005, having spent the previous year as Ostend Spirit running between Ramsgate and Ostend. Norman Spirit replaces Cote d’Albatre (2006/18,425gt). LD Lines have also changed vessel on the ‘Motorways of the Sea’ service from St Nazaire to Gijon with Baltic Amber replacing Norman Bridge.