The Spirit of Britain will be the biggest ferry on the Channel

Spirit of Britain, which will be the biggest ferry operating on the English Channel, has been launched.

The 49,000-tonne vessel is being built in Finland and is expected to be delivered to P&O Ferries in December.

She is 213m long and will be able to carry 1750 passengers, 180 lorries, and 195 cars, and will later be joined by a sister ship which will be christened Spirit of France.

The two new ships were originally to have been named Olympic Spirit and Olympic Pride, but those names were dropped amid concerns that the ‘Olympic’ prefix might infringe the rights of the Olympic movement.

Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes will officially name Spirit of Britain next January in Dover before the ship makes her maiden voyage to Calais.