Dorset Man’s ‘Ghost Ship’ Tour Lets You See Abandoned Ferries Still Haunting The English Channel

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 01 Sep 2020 17:28
Dorset Man's 'Ghost Ship' Tour Lets You See Abandoned Ferries Still Haunting The English ChannelPA Images

A Dorset man’s ‘ghost ship’ tour will take you up close to abandoned cruise ships and ferries haunting the English Channel.

The large vessels usually transporting people all over the world have been at a standstill for months following the ongoing pandemic halting all international cruise trips. The eerie spectacle can be seen from England’s south coast, and while many would think it a sad sight, one man decided to generate some positivity.


Paul Derham, of Mudeford, has started up his own ‘ghost ship tours’ that take people around several of the abandoned vessels. Paul spent around three decades sailing cruise ships around the world before he bought the Mudeford Ferry near Christchurch.


The 62-year-old put the idea on his business’s Facebook page and received masses of interest. Initially only planning on doing two tours, Paul ended up putting on four after the first two sold out in just a couple of hours.

Speaking to CNN Travel, Paul said, ‘I am completely overwhelmed with the attention and a little bit proud, without being big-headed, that we managed to pull it off.’


Some of the ships that can be spotted include Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, all of which are usually ferrying thousands of people around the globe.

PA Images

The tours take around two and half hours, and it even gets up close to one of the ships Paul himself was once deputy captain of.

Paul continued:


They [the ships] look spectacular, because even when they’re in the ports of call, like Southampton or wherever, you can’t get that close to a ship, with a good view. As we went past, one of them said, ‘Blimey, I can still get their Wi-Fi.’

PA Images

P&O told the BBC that it has several ships in the Channel because there was not enough room at its home port of Southampton. Apparently there are around 100 crew currently on each of P&O’s vessels off the south coast, which are likely to include crew in the engine rooms, cleaners, electricians, chefs and medics.

According to Professor Richard Bucknall, director of research at University College London’s department of mechanical engineering, a ship cannot be at anchor without a crew on board due to the risk of the ship moving.


That explains why one of Paul’s passengers could still get Wi-Fi, then.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Life, Dorset, england, Now, Travel


BBC News and 1 other
  1. BBC News

    Coronavirus: How ghost cruise ships became a summer tourist attraction

  2. CNN Travel

    Huge empty 'ghost' cruise ships lure tourists