Although Spirit of Britain headed for Falmouth in late December 2011 and a guarantee dry-docking undertaken by A&P, there was still no sign of the 47,600gt vessel’s sistership Spirit of France at Dover. As 2012 opened, Pride of Calais (1987/26,433gt), which was originally due to have been withdrawn last autumn, sailed on to start a 25th year of English Channelservice.

Spirit of Britain was back on the Dover-Calais run in time to celebrate the 21 January first anniversary of her introduction by P&O. While Spirit of France undertook further trials in the Baltic in December, it was not clear whether vibration problems which delayed her delivery had been rectified and, in early January, the vessel remained at the STX shipyard in Rauma.

In the lead up to Christmas, with SeaFrance vessels remaining inactive in Calais and SeaFrance Nord Pas-de-Calais at Dunkirk after escaping exile in Dover, P&O ran a six-ship service with freight ro-ro European Seaway, recalled from lay-up at Tilbury, used for up to five round trips a day on occasions.

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