Norman Leader

The ship that never was. Originally expected to be delivered to L. D. Lines Portsmouth/Le Havre route in July 2009 (thus releasing Norman Spirit to the Company's new Dover/Boulogne service), Norman Leader's construction was plagued with difficulties, the full extent of which were never made known to the public. By March 2011 she was still at her builder's yard and L. D. Lines availed themselves of the opportunity to cancel the order (which they were fully entitled to do so in view of the substantial delays to her delivery). It was rumoured that there had been unresolved deadweight problems. This was frustrating and embarrassing for L. D. Lines, who had been taking bookings for the much-heralded new ship for some time. However, in view of their retreat from the short-sea Dover/Boulogne and Ramsgate/Oostende routes, L. D. were left with surplus vessels in their fleet and Norman Leader was no longer going to be needed anyway. So with this cloud came a silver lining for the Company whose attempts to grow a network of successful Cross-Channel routes had been nothing short of disastrous.