Although Dover welcomed P&O Ferries’ newest vessel Spirit of Britain in January, the 49,000gt super-ferry will not be officially named by Olympic gold medal winning athlete Dame Kelly Holmes until a yet-to-be announced date in late March.

Spirit of Britain and sister ship Spirit of France, due for autumn delivery, represent a P&O investment of £360 million. They are the biggest ferries ordered for the Dover-Calais service, on which they will each provide five return crossings every day.

Built at Rauma, Finland by STX, Spirit of Britain completed three days of sea trials in the Baltic at the beginning of December 2010 and reportedly acquitted herself well in testing conditions, with winds of up to force eight.The vessel arrived in Dover on 9 January and entered service two weeks later on 21 January.

After 23 years of Channel service, Pride of Dover (1987/ 24,433gt) made a last Callais sailing on 15 Decenber 2010 and was then laid up at Tilbury.

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