P&O Irish Sea
|Predecessor||P&O European Ferries|
|Fate||rebranded as P&O Ferries|
|Headquarters||Copse Road, |
Fleetwood (until 2004),
|Footnotes / references|
P&O House Flag
The P&O Irish Sea brand was formed in 1998 by merging the ferry operations of Pandoro Ltd (who operated freight-orientated routes between England, Scotland and France to Ireland) into P&O European Ferries (Felixstowe) Ltd. The merged company was renamed P&O European Ferries (Irish Sea) Ltd and headquartered in the former head office of Pandoro at Copse Road in Fleetwood. Only the Cairnryan based service of P&O European Ferries (Felixstowe) Ltd transferred to the merged company.
In 1999, P&O Irish Sea announced its intention to purchase two purpose-built Ro-Pax's (roll-on, roll-off, vehicle/passenger) vessels from Mitsubishi of Japan for the Larne - Cairnryan and Liverpool – Dublin routes. This would allow the transfer of the European Leader to the Fleetwood - Larne route and sale of Pride of Rathlin. The new ships would be European Causeway and European Ambassador and were delivered in 200 and 2001 respectively. An additional ship for the Larne - Cairnryan route was ordered in 2000 and delivered in 2002 as European Highlander.
In 2004, P&O sold its Fleetwood – Larne service to Stena Line. In addition to the service rights, European Leader, European Pioneer and European Seafarer were also sold to the Stena Sphere. At the same time, P&O announced the closure of the Mostyn – Dublin service due to low passenger numbers; this led to the sale of European Ambassador and European Envoy for further service in Europe. Originally the company had also intended to sell the Liverpool - Dublin route to Stena, but this was blocked on competition grounds. In 2005, the company withdrew from the Rosslare – Cherbourg route; this was taken over by a new company, Celtic Link Ferries, who also purchased European Diplomat. In 2014 this route was also taken over by Stena Line.
During 2006, P&O's ferry and port operations were taken over by DP World. In 2010, P&O Irish Sea, which had been run from the parent company's offices in Dover since the withdrawal from Fleetwood in 2004, was rebranded as part of P&O Ferries. Officially the company name remains as P&O European Ferries (Irish Sea) Ltd, however. This rebranding coincided with other changes within the P&O Ferries group of companies such as the closure of the Portsmouth - Bilbao route.
P&O Irish Sea operated many routes across the Irish Sea:
- Cairnryan – Larne - conventional ferries (all year round with fast craft service during conventional ferries refit period; in 2013 this was 10 May to 10 June). P&O Ferries currently operates this route.
- Troon – Larne - fast craft service (Spring to Autumn). This route no longer exists.
- Liverpool – Dublin - conventional ferries (all year round). P&O Ferries currently operates this route.
- Fleetwood – Larne (route and ships sold to Stena Line in 2004). This route no longer exists.
- Mostyn – Dublin (2001–2004). This route no longer exists.
- Ardrossan – Larne (service changed to Troon - Larne in 2001). This route no longer exists.
- Rosslare – Cherbourg (route and ship taken over by Celtic Link Ferries in 2005; now operated by Stena Line)
- Dublin – Cherbourg (2001–2004). This route no longer exists though a new route linking the two ports has since been established by Irish Ferries.
P&O Irish Sea operated a large fleet of vessels during its twelve years in operation.
|11,086 GT||Returned to owner (chartered)|
|European Ambassador||2000||2000–2004||24,206 GT||Sold to Stena Line|
|European Causeway||2000||2000–2010||20,646 GT||Continued service with P&O Ferries|
|European Diplomat||1978||2001–2005||18,732 GT||Sold to Celtic Link Ferries|
|European Endeavour||1978||1998–2002||8,097 GT||Sold to Transeuropa Ferries|
|European Endeavour||2000||2007–2019||22,152 GT||Sold to Eckero Line|
|European Envoy||1979||1998–2004||6,310 GT||Sold to Kystlink|
|European Highlander||2002||2002–2010||20,464 GT||Continued service with P&O Ferries|
|European Leader||1975||1998–2004||12,879 GT||Sold to Stena Line|
|European Mariner||1978||1998–2010||1,598 GT||Broken up in 2011|
|European Navigator||1976||1998–2002||3,809 GT||Sold to AB Maritime|
|European Pathfinder||1976||1998–2002||3,335 GT||Sold to Transeuropa Ferries|
|European Pioneer||1975||1998–2004||10,957 GT||Sold to Stena Line|
|European Seafarer||1975||1998–2004||10,957 GT||Sold to Stena Line|
|Express||1998||2005–2010||5,902 GT||Continued service with P&O Ferries|
|Jetliner||1996||1998–2000||4,675 GT||Returned to owner (chartered)|
|Norbank||1994||2002–2010||17,464 GT||Continued service with P&O Ferries|
|Norbay||1993||2002–2010||17,654 GT||Continued service with P&O Ferries|
|Norcape||1979||2010–2010||14,087 GT||Continued service with P&O Ferries|
|Pride of Rathlin||1973||1998–2000||12,503 GT||Sold to Indonesian ferry operator|
|RR Triumph||1997||2006–2007||7,606 GT||Returned to owner (chartered)|
|Superstar Express||1998||2000–2004||5,517 GT||Returned to owner (chartered)|
- "P&O Irish Sea Ferries - History 1". Archived from the original on 27 May 2000. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
- "P&O EUROPEAN FERRIES (IRISH SEA) LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
- "Stena pays £50m for P&O routes and ferries". www.travelmole.com. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
- "P&O Irish Sea Ferries - History 8". Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- "P&O Irish Sea Ferries - Timetables and P & O Irish Sea Ferry tickets". www.directferries.co.uk. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
- P&O Irish Sea Corporate Site
- 'The Pride of Aisla and the Pride of Rathlin' - Scaled models built for Motis Ireland Ltd.
- Larne Ferry Web - for news & history of ferry services to Larne