P&O Irish Sea

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P&O Irish Sea
PredecessorP&O European Ferries
Faterebranded as P&O Ferries
HeadquartersCopse Road,
Fleetwood (until 2004)
Area served
Irish Sea
ServicesPassenger transportation
Freight transportation
OwnerP&O Ferries
Footnotes / references
P&O-house flag.svg
P&O House Flag

P&O Irish Sea was the trading name of P&O Ferries in the Irish Sea from 1998 to 2010, when it was rebranded P&O Ferries.


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)[1] into P&O European Ferries (Felixstowe) Ltd. The merged company was renamed P&O European Ferries (Irish Sea) Ltd[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] Officially the company name remains as P&O European Ferries (Irish Sea) Ltd, however.[2] 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:


P&O Irish Sea operated a large fleet of vessels during its twelve years in operation.

Name Built In service Tonnage Fate
Celtic Star 1991 1999–2003
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)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "P&O Irish Sea Ferries - History 1". Archived from the original on 27 May 2000. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  2. ^ a b "P&O EUROPEAN FERRIES (IRISH SEA) LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Stena pays £50m for P&O routes and ferries". www.travelmole.com. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  4. ^ "P&O Irish Sea Ferries - History 8". Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  5. ^ "P&O Irish Sea Ferries - Timetables and P & O Irish Sea Ferry tickets". www.directferries.co.uk. Retrieved 13 August 2020.

External links[edit]