MS Spirit of Free Enterprise

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Career British Red Ensign
Name: MS Spirit of Free Enterprise
Operator: Townsend Thoresen (1980-1987)
Ordered: 1979
Launched: 1979
Maiden voyage: 1980
Identification: IMO number: 7820473
Status: in active service, as of 2024
General characteristics
Tonnage: 7,950 gross register tons (GRT)
Length: 131.91 m (432 ft 9 in)
Beam: 23.19 m (76 ft 1 in)
Draught: 5.72 m (18 ft 9 in)
Speed: 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
Capacity: 1,300 passengers

MS Spirit of Free Enterprise was the first of a class of three roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ferries built for Townsend Thoresen at the end of the 1970s. Her two sister ships were the MS Pride of Free Enterprise and the infamous MS Herald of Free Enterprise.

As Spirit of Free Enterprise

The Spirit operated reliably and successfully on Townsend's routes from her delivery in 1980 until the company was bought by P&O in 1987. In the same year, her identical sister ship the Herald of Free Enterprise capsized while leaving Zeebrugge. The design of the ship was not found to be at fault, and after fitting of cameras to allow monitoring of the bow doors from the bridge she continued in service.

As Pride of Kent

In the aftermath of the sinking of the Herald, P&O moved to change the appearance of the fleet. The Townsend red and white hull with light blue funnels was replaced with the P&O darker blue and white, and the old Townsend "Free Enterprise" names were replaced. Spirit of Free Enterprise became Pride of Kent in late 1987.

In 1991 Pride of Kent was extended in a process often known as "Jumboisation". The ship was cut in half and a new hull and superstructure section 31 metres in length was inserted amidships, raising her passenger capacity to 1,825 and her car capacity to 460. The work cost £20m and took six months.

In 1998 she was renamed P&OSL Kent following the merger of P&O European Ferries and Stena Line on the DoverCalais route, and later "P O Kent" in August 2002 (following P&O's buyout of Stena Line's 40% share in the joint venture).

In the spring of 2003 the ship was sold by P&O after a brief lay-up period in Dunkerque. She has been replaced by another ship again named Pride of Kent, an extensive rebuild of a former freighter, which P&O Ferries, considered to be new ships,[citation needed] but were in fact, converted freight ships.

As Anthi Marina

As of 2006 she is named Anthi Marina and operated by GA Ferries between Piraeus, Kos and Rhodes. In addition to the jumboising carried out by P&O she now has a more conventionally shaped bow in place of her original clamshell doors, and an internal ramp to enable her upper car deck to be used in ports without double-deck linkspans. As most Greek ports lack the linkspans found elsewhere, the ship is usually docked stern-on to the quayside and vehicles loaded via a ramp mounted on the ship.