Launching of the second car-passenger ferry, NB 1368 the Spirit of France, which STX Rauma shipyard is building for P&O Ferries, was conducted on Thursday, 17 February 2011. The vessel is a sister ship of the Spirit of Britain, which was handed over to the client in January 2011.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the client P&O Ferries and STX Finland, the classification society Lloyd’s Register and media representatives, as well as numerous other guests invited by the shipyard and the ship-owner. As water was flooding the drydock, 1368 pieces of colourful balloons were released into the sky.

“The construction of the Spirit of France continues as planned and at a rapid pace. Sea trials are scheduled for June, and the vessel will be handed over to the client in October, says Timo Suistio, Director of STX Rauma shipyard. “At the moment, Rauma shipyard has two special vessels under construction; an arctic multipurpose vessel, and a fisheries research vessel. We have proved our expertise as builders of both demanding car and passenger ferries and technically challenging special vessels. We continue our uncompromised efforts to attract new orders,” Suistio points out.

When completed, the Spirit of France together with its sister ship, the Spirit of Britain, will be the largest ferries in cross-Channel traffic. At 47,592 gross registered tonnes and 213 metres in length, the vessel will offer 3,746 lane metres of vehicle space for 180 lorries and 195 cars simultaneously. The passenger capacity is 2,000 people. Several state-of-the art shipbuilding technologies will be applied in both design and construction of the ship. Special attention will be paid to safety features and environmental friendliness.