Withdrawn by P&O Ferries last October after almost 25 years of service out of Dover, Pride of Calais started a three-year charter-purchase to Transeuropa Ferries in January, running between Ramsgate and Ostend as Ostend Spirit and increasing route frequency to 12 sailings a day opposite Gardenia (1978/8,097gt) and Larkspur (1976/14,58gt).

Pride of Calais left her lay-up berth at Tilbury on 19 December and called for berthing trials at Ramsgate before continuing to Ostend and then to Antwerp for refit and repainting. Transeuropa commenced operations in November 1978 and the acquisition of Ostend Spirit, able to carry 85 accompanied trucks, 250 cars and up to 1,400 passengers, suggests fresh emphasis might be placed on developing the car/passenger business.

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