Category: Things seen

Things seen – October 2012

  • We start once again in Newhaven and a pair of remarkable films from the SNCF archive showcasing the Villandry and Valencay:

    Chateaux sur mer
    Car Ferry des années 70

  • Newhaven port has fallen some way in importance and in maintenance since those halcyon days of the 1960s and, as these urban explorers discovered, the grade 2 listed former marine workshops are in a sorry state.
  • Fifty years later, and just before the end of the final incarnation of SNCF’s ferry fleet as Seafrance, the crew of the Seafrance Rodin were captured at work.
  • Few Dover-Calais car ferries of the 1990s remain in that service but reminders of what was, at times, a slightly tawdry era were recorded by a Frenchman with a camcorder:
    Stena Invicta

    Stena Empereur

    Stena Challenger

    Seafrance Renoir

    Pride of Kent

    Pride of Dover

  • Pride of Burgundy

  • Not being in a position to mock others for their obscure interests, one can only salute Beno and his Youtube Elevator Tours.

    Whilst it is noted that the Pride of Burgundy has nice Lutz lifts, the reviewer is more impressed with the “really retro 80s Lutz lifts on the Pride of Dover”.

  • Beno’s website also has some images of abandoned and decaying Folkestone harbour.
  • Thoresen’s overlooked freighter, the Viking IV, was a product of the Trosvik shipyard in Norway and she had a sister ship, the Mandeville, which was owned by A F Klaveness & Co, who would later become one of the three founder companies of Royal Viking Line. The Mandeville had an interesting career, tramping across the North Sea and seeing initial service on charter to Grimaldi and operating to Libya.

    Both ships ended their days as livestock carriers, the Mandeville as the Murray Express prior to being scrapped in the late 1990s. The Viking IV met her doom in more unfortunate circumstances: as the Guernsey Express she was caught by Super Typhoon Dale as it swept through the Pacific in November 1996. The ship sank, taking nearly 1,600 helpless cattle down with her in what became one of the most controversial reference points in the debate about Australia’s live export trade.

  • Staying briefly with livestock carriers and it is interesting to see images of the Linda Clausen, which must be the only Cunard passenger ship ever so converted. Originally the Cunard Ambassador, the ship sufferred an on board fire when just two years old in 1974. Declared a total loss, the wreck was rebuilt and served for a further decade before a further fire in the engine room saw her head for scrap in 1984.
  • The fates of the three Wappens Von Hamburg continues to be played out. The trio were built as successive passenger ship generations in 1955, 1962 and 1965 for HADAG service to the small German archipelago of Helgoland. The youngest was the first and, so far, only one of the three to go for scrap. Here is a somewhat distressing video of the ship being demolished by a digger in Esbjerg.

    The first and second HADAG ships of this name survive but the future in each case remains uncertain. The 1955 version remains laid up in the United States, now under the name Aurora. Her owner’s website contains some more information, together with a plea for donations.

    The Wappen Von Hamburg of 1962, which briefly saw 1960s service with Stena as the second Stockholm-based “Jatten Finn”, soon returned to HADAG and remained with the company until the 1980s. She continued to serve Helgoland until 2000 but now finds herself named the Supper Clubcruise 2, laid up in Istanbul.

  • The third “Jatten Finn” was Stena’s own Poseidon and this picture of the little ship is worthy of reference, if only for the oustanding backdrop. To complete the story of Stena’s early escapades in Stockholm, the very first ship to be bestowed with Jatten Finn titling was another HADAG ship, the Helgoland which was chartered in 1964. She returned to Stena in 1972 as the Stena Finlandica having been chartered in between times to the Red Cross for use in Vietnam as a hospital ship – in which guise she was covered in the harrowing 1970 documentary Nur leichte Kämpfe im Raum Da Nang. The Helgoland/Stena Finlandica survives as the Galapagos Legend.
  • The same Esbjerg scrapyard which dealt with the 1965 Wappen Von Hamburg also scrapped five Wightlink ships in recent years, including the Our Lady Pamela.
  • The Vitsentzos Kornaros at Piraeus

    The Vitsentzos Kornaros at Piraeus

  • Time for a quick look inside the engine room of the Vitsentzos Kornaros (ex-Viking Viscount).
  • The ‘Viscount’ also features in this collection of recollections from the Townsend Thoresen era.
  • Michele Lulurgas has written a fine appreciation of his personal favourite, the Ionian Island (ex-Albireo, later Blue Island, Merdif 1) on the Adriatic & Aegean Ferries website. An intriguing image of the ship in her final guise can be found here.
  • Car deck difficulties for the Penelope A.
  • It is difficult to imagine any company which had a more interesting passenger ferry fleet than Sol Lines, the Cyprus Liners, who operated for less than a decade from the late 1970s. The company acquired second hand ships with all sorts of backgrounds, starting with the remarkable Sol Phryne, originally the 1948-built Taisetsu Maru and followed up with the Sol Express (Sealink’s Dover), Sol Olympia (the first Stena Britannica), Sol Christina (Trasmed’s Juan March) and Sol Olympia II (Trasmed’s Santa Cruz de Tenerife).

    The website of Solomonides Shipping has an excellent section which details the Sol Lines era. All ships are covered through the ‘History’ menu but particularly recommended are the pages covering the company’s general history, the Sol Phryne and the ill-fated Sol Olympia II which burned in dry dock in Elefsis in 1985 and brought the entire operation to an end.

  • The Sol Olympia’s time as the Wickersham is remembered in this blog post.
  • One ship which has survived a near-death experience is the 1962-built Ambriabella. For many years she could be found rotting in Elefsis as the Panic but a couple of years ago she was discovered by a group of Italians who sought to restore her as a luxury yacht. The ship was originally built for Italian north Adriatic coastal service before heading to Greece in the 1970s. Her new owners have launched a website and restoration of the ship is planned to take place in Trieste.
  • The sister to the Ambriabella is the Dionea and several years ago this ship was similarly converted to a yacht.
  • The despatch of the Scotia Prince for scrap has provoked a fair amount of remorse in North America. The ship’s final period of operation in Europe saw her working for Marmara Lines in their final season between Italy and Turkey; she is seen here passing through the Corinth Canal.
  • The first of seven interesting pages of archive of material relating to one of the Scotia Prince’s Portland-Yarmouth predecessors, the Prince of Fundy, can be found here (click ‘Next’ to proceed).
  • The Nindawayma laid up in Montreal, June 2006

    The Nindawayma laid up in Montreal, June 2006

  • The Nindawayma (ex-Manx Viking) was reported to be finally scrapped a couple of years ago. The ship lay unwanted in Montreal for seven years before being towed to Sault Ste. Marie where she lay for some time, although a certain amount of work was done to enable both stern and bow doors to be properly opened.

    Fotunately, one astute photographer managed to completely document the ship as she was just before leaving Montreal.

  • Some radio controlled ferry models:
    Towada Maru
  • Jumbo Ferry's Ritsurin II

    Jumbo Ferry's Ritsurin II

  • Japanese operators love nothing more than to promote their services through catchy jingles and accompanying videos. Here are a couple of the very best from over the years:
    Jumbo Ferry (as played on board at all port arrivals)
    Higashi Nihon Ferry Rurururu Rurururu Car Ferry…
    The original Sunflower
    More Sunflower – a classic
  • The ship depicted in the last video is the Sunflower 11 which went on to operate for the ill-starred Sulpico Lines as the Princess of the Orient for whom she sank in The Philippines in 1998 with the loss of 150 lives. Film of a dive on her wreck can be found here.
  • Lastly, rough weather affects ships all over the world and a few videos have caught the eye in recent months:
    The Hamnavoe is seen caught in heavy seas leaving Stromness.

    A difficult arrival at Mikura-jima for the Camellia-Maru.

    Rough weather for the Theofilos at Lemnos.

    The Corsica Express Three leaves a trail of destruction in Samothraki during her brief Greek sojourn.

    The Cruise Olympia in difficulties at Ancona.

    The Olympic Champion rolling into Heraklion harbour.

  • A few hints on using the conditions to your advantage can be taken from the skipper of this small passenger ferry on the Mekong River in Thailand.
  • Things seen – October 2011

  • The Villandry is captured on Youtube in the 1960s in these timeless home movie reels – she is seen at Newhaven here and here and at Dieppe here. The ship also makes an appearance in this video which captures some excellent scenes of Britons at leisure in the 1960s but the star of the show is undoubtedly the Falaise, arriving at Newhaven stern-first.
  • Later in her life, the former Villandry is studied in this video at Kefalonia in 1990 and here arriving at Delos.
  • The Villandry and Valencay, as built, joined the Dieppe-Newhaven car ferry pioneer, the Falaise, and that ship’s first season is captured at the start of this Pathe newsreel, which continues past the ferry operation with a consideration of Dieppe and the surrounding area.
  • The former Heysham steamer Duke of Lancaster remains something of an enigma but the website now has dozens of past and present pictures which help to answer a few of the questions as to what she is like aboard.
  • The Arran steamer the Marchioness of Graham had a notable career, staying close to home through the Second World War and surviving locally until the late 1950s. Later rebuilt in Greek service, this video documents her launch back in 1936.
  • The Munster of 1968.

    The Munster of 1968.

  • Alongside modern coverage of Stena’s Irish Sea ships, this remarkable retrospective featured on RTE’s Nationwide programme includes footage of and on board B+I Line’s 1960’s Munster. “Form filling and tiresome customs delays have largely disappeared. A visitor only needs a current driving licence, an international motor insurance card and a pass covering the temporary exportation and re-importation of his car…”
  • A couple of years ago the former Hovertravel AP1-88 Double-O-Seven found herself in trouble in her new home of Sierra Leone. On a related theme, James’ Hovercraft website has had an overhaul and is worth a look.
  • The hoverport at Boulogne is captured in its heyday in this video from 1982.
  • Trouble for the Tor Anglia in 1976.
  • The famous Danish motorship Jens Bang, which went on to have a lengthy Greek career as the Naias, lives on in this outstanding model by Per Rimmen which came up for auction a couple of years ago. Meanwhile some classic DFDS views of a vintage similar to the Jens Bang can be found here.
  • This significance of this remarkable video, including close-up views of the open bow visor and ramp arrangements of the Wasa King (ex-Viking Sally, later Estonia) arriving at UmeÃ¥ is self-evident.
  • Was Gothenburg the coolest place on Earth in 1973? One would think so from this video – and if, like the folk seen from 10:15 onwards, you could sail in and out on the Stena Jutlandica, Stena Olympica, Prinsessan Christina and Tor Anglia or jet around on those Finnair or KLM DC-9s who can argue?
  • The Stena Danica of 1965 at Gothenburg.

    The Stena Nordica of 1965 at Gothenburg.

  • The first Stena Nordica burnt out in Venezuelan service in 1980 but the wreck remains off the island of Cubagua where it is popular with divers. The original Stena bow markings are still visible in this shot.

    What, meanwhile, has become of the ‘Nordica”s sister, the first Stena Danica? The ship saw lengthy service after 1969 as the Lucy Maud Montgomery in Canada before disposal in 1999. The most recent images I can find of her are as the Lady Caribe I, laid up in Key West in the early 2000s. In late 2007 Shippax reported her sold to “Dominican buyers” but there the trail goes cold.

  • Jadrolinija capers in Drvenik Mali. The ship is the PeljeÅ¡canka, locally-built in 1971 and based on the design of the earlier trio of ships bought by the company from Greece.
  • It is not always plain sailing in Croatia as this rough weather film taken aboard the Ero (ex-Aero) in the late 1960s demontrates. This ship was laid up several years ago and reported sold for scrap in late 2009; however as of May 2011 she still lay amongst the Jadrolinija reserve fleet in Cres.
  • The Lovrjenac seen during her terminal lay up at Mali Losinj in August 2008. The bridge of her similarly retired fleetmate, the Novalja, can be seen to the left.

    The Lovrjenac seen during her terminal lay up at Mali Losinj in August 2008. The bridge of her similarly retired fleetmate, the Novalja, can be seen to the left.

  • The latest edition of Ferry & Cruise Review includes a picture of the Lovrjenac (ex-Norris Castle) being scrapped at Aliaga, to which she was towed, along with the Novalja (ex-Kalmarsund V) in late May. The Lovrjenac’s Red Funnel and Jadrolinija fleetmate the Nehaj (ex-Cowes Castle) also found her career at an end this year – like the Božava she was scrapped near Venice.

  • With her interlude as a floating bar in Mali Losinj apparently not a success the veteran Marina (ex-Kronprinsessan Ingrid (1936)) has been relocated to Rijeka which will hopefully be better able to support her activities.
  • Although it is hard to establish whether the Middle Eastern operator Namma Lines are still operating, a few months ago the company did post some Youtube guides to two of their ships: the Mawaddah (ex-King Minos) and the Masarrah (ex-St Columba).
  • The sister to the Mawaddah, the former N Kazantzakis/Shiretoku Maru is today the Kowloon-based cruise ship Metropolis.
  • The Lissos.

    The Lissos.

  • ANEK’s Lissos was sent for scrap earlier in the year and her arrival in Alang was captured for the record. The Lissos was an interesting and slightly-awkward looking ship but one I will miss. Certainly the officers of the cargo vessel featured in this near-miss video will not quickly forget her.
  • The final demise of the GA Ferries fleet was extensively recorded locally – here is an interesting video taken on board the Daliana just before her departure for the scrapyard whilst the final, slow, death march of the Romilda out of Piraeus can be seen here. Similar videos can also be found showing the final departures of the Daliana, the Marina and the Samothraki.
  • This 1994 video of Chandris’s The Azur (ex-Eagle) transiting the Corinth Canal shows what an exciting part of any voyage on any ship this is for passengers.
  • Crazy drivers in Piraeus are nothing new it seems – various classic passenger ships make cameo appearances in this clip from the movie The Burglars of 1971.
  • ©


  • The author of the the guidebook Greek Island Hopping, Frewin Poffley, sometimes appears to be lacking in any real understanding of the ferry business but has managed to carve out a niche selling his book to travellers to the Greek islands. Good luck to him – but repeated requests that he address the unauthorised use of the Aqua Maria image featured here (taken by me on the quayside at Drapetsona on 23 November 2010 and included in this post last year) have met with no response. Poor show old chap.
  • If you are going to plagiarise images from across the internet, then at least there should be the upside of creating a useful resource; this plundered collection of photographs of the Greek Naxos show the ship throughout her Greek career.
  • Another locally-built Greek ship, a few years younger than the Naxos, was the Santorini which subsequently passed to Indian owners, remaining there until apparently being withdrawn earlier this year. The ship is pictured here alongside the former Suilven (now Bharat Seema) in India whilst there are some interal pictures here and an outstanding voyage report here.
  • The Kefalonia.

    The Kefalonia.

  • Since the original company was absorbed into Attica several years ago it has been a rare sight to see more than one Strintzis ferry in port at a time. On the occasion that the current pair of ships of the revived Strintzis Ferries switched routes in July, however, it was possible to view the Eptanisos and the Kefalonia side by side.
  • The state of the Greek economy means rumours fly around regarding the futures of several of the ferries owned by operators in that country. Whilst Endeavor Lines earlier in the year strongly denied those concerning their operations, their Ionian Queen has recently appeared as a ‘premium listing’ on the website of a well-known ship broker. For six years this ships and her sister, the Ionian King, have been the best ships in Southern Adriatic service and the sale of the ‘King’ back to Japanese owners by Agoudimos Lines earlier this year was tempered somewhat by the survival of the ‘Queen’. The departure of both ships would be a sad loss to the ferry operations out of Brindisi and Bari.
  • Endeavor’s other operational ship is the Elli T which one has to think stands a chance of heading to the breakers rather than further service were she to be sold. Leaping back to her original life as the Japanese Okudogo 3, this series of images show what an eccentric but fascinating ferry she was (and to large degree still is) aboard.
  • A ship which sailed from Japan to Greece in 2010 was the 1991-built New Hiyama, purchased by ANENDYK for local Cretan service. The ship, renamed Sfakia I, berthed in the port of Souda (Chania), ostensibly for rebuild, but has remained there ever since – to the intrigue of locals. An interesting video providing a tour of the accommodation has appeared on Youtube.
  • Last but not least:
    Hengist (as Agios Georgios)
    Horsa (as Penelope A)
    Vortigern (as Milos Express)
  • Things seen – May 2011

    The Queen of Prince Rupert

    The Queen of Prince Rupert

  • The Queen of Prince Rupert will become one of the few BC Ferries to see further service outside Canada following her sale to Fijian interests for inter-island use. As noted in the Fiji Sun, the ship has been renamed Lomaiviti Princess and there are some pictures of the ship, still in Canada, on the West Coast Ferries forum.

    A variety of more historical images of the Queen of Prince Rupert can be found here.

  • Perhaps due to her name, the scrapping of the Greek-owned Grecia (ex-Espresso Livorno/Espresso Grecia) in Aliaga attracted more attention than most, with youtube videos of her before the final departure and, most interestingly, of her final charge for the beach. The ship grounds herself alongside the remains of the ex-Jadrolinija Vanga, chunks of which can be seen being manhandled on shore.

    Navi e Amatori has a later image of the Grecia with demolition work in full swing.

  • Rather unnoticed, the most elderly of the 2010 Southern European scrap victims was the Peloritano, which although heavily rebuilt was originally the domestic German ferry the Fehmarn of 1927. Her final days are captured in this image at Aliaga, with fellow Italian domestic veteran the Capri (ex-Kvamsøy) in the background.
  • An easier way of disposing of unwanted ships was demonstrated by the treatment of the ro-ro Jolly Rubino; having run aground several years ago, she was stripped then sunk via a controlled demolition to form an artificial reef.
  • The occasional bumps and scrapes are a fact of life, especially for ships in relatively tight or difficult harbours. The Elyros had a small scrape with her berth at Souda but the Isola di Procida’s break for freedom in Napoli ended by slamming into the side of one of her CAREMAR fleetmates.

    Going back a few years, the Boa Vista (ex-Speedlink Vanguard/Normandie Shipper) provided the first of Kystlink’s various mishaps when she ran aground off Hirtshals, captured in a series of images here.

  • Moving onto more calamitous demises, and, whilst not a ferry, this remarkable footage from aboard the Achille Lauro before her fiery end is worth viewing.
  • The Moby Prince at Bastia

    The Moby Prince at Bastia

  • Ferry fires can be devastating. Perhaps most famous is the Moby Prince, and whilst the footage here on board the ship after the fire is interesting, the amateur video taken aboard by one of the doomed passengers, included in the opening sequence of this Italian documentary, is truly haunting. That video’s survival supports the theory that the ferocity of the fire was less the cause of death than the toxins which the fire gave off.
  • Pictures aboard the raised Herald of Free Enterprise are similarly poignant.
  • A more modern fire victim was the LISCO Gloria whose charred remains were captured up close for the Danish media.
  • I have tried to keep an eye on the latest happenings with the half-sunken ARMAS ferry Assalama, still stranded off the port of Tarfaya, Morocco. A relatively recent image is here whilst there are more images from the day of the disaster here.
  • The Sea Serenade at Corfu, August 1999

    The Sea Serenade at Corfu, August 1999

  • Whatever happened to the Sea Serenade of Poseidon Lines? Whilst, as the Arielle, her sister achieved the slightly dismal distinction of being Hellenic Mediterranean Lines’ last ever ship before sailing for scrap in 2006, the elder of the former Japanese pair rather disappeared off the radar since finishing service nearly a decade ago. She ended up renamed the Marinos D and laid up at a shipyard in Izola, Slovenia. The recent news that the floating dock there has been sold to Turkish interests has also led to speculation that the ship herself will finally also be making a move – presumably for scrap.
  • Another crop of videos from Greece:
    An atmospheric trip aboard the locally-built Lemnos of Nomikos Lines;
    A bit of the old school: a race between NEL’s Theofilos and GA Ferries’ Dimitroula;
    The Alcaeos (ex. Marella) of NEL Lines;
    Remarkable footage during a fire aboard the Knossos (ex-Svea);
    Morning arrivals in Piraeus from the Golden age – including the Knossos, Sappho and Ialyssos;
    The introduction of Fragline’s Georgios (1971)
  • What is the most popular ferry in Greece? Who knows, but the distinctly unscientific method of measuring bookings made through Viva Travel indicates it is, curiously, the Blue Horizon. Google Translate version here.
  • In Croatia, the white fleet of Jadrolinija, past and present, continues to provide splendid internet fodder, from the company’s former cruise ship the Dalmacija featuring in the video for this mid-90s Techno classic by Marusha to the strangely mesmerising 2010 time lapse video of the Marko Polo loading at Rijeka.

    There are also some interesting still images out there – such as some more classic images of veterans at Rijeka here, here and here and a superb recent shot of the little Rogac ferry Lastovo obliterated by spray.

    The image above of the Vis (ex-Sydfyn) at Ubli last Summer is almost identical to this one of her former fleetmate, the Slavija I (later Europa I).

    Lastly, there has been local access to the long laid-up Ero (the heavily modified remains of the 1931-built former Danish domestic ferry Aerø). Although reported sold for scrap in some quarters, she remains for now amongst the Jadrolinija reserve fleet in Cres. Below are some links to a series of recent images of and on board the old ship (click on the thumbnails to go to the original urls):

    img20110329115515 3764_TN

    img20110329115653 3765_TN

    img20110329115822 3766_TN

    img20110329115950 3767_TN

    img20110329120001 3768_TN
    img20110329120224 3769_TN

    Heading back several decades, the same ship can be seen, amongst a variety of others, in these vintage Danish films from the early 1960s which pleasingly capture a completely lost age:

    Film 1
    Film 2

  • One of the most recent ships to head to Croatia is the former Pomerania, now Blue Line’s Dalmatia; seen above at Ancona in May, her final Copenhagen-ÅšwinoujÅ›cie sailing was captured in a brutally honest slideshow for the Danish daily newspaper Politiken.
  • A couple of Tirrenia items:
    A classic and slightly peculiar TV advert;
    Lastly, a piece of Blair-Witchesque cinematic genius as the sense of terror mounts in this video of a gentleman roaming the almost-deserted decks of the now-withdrawn Domiziana , before finally locking himself into his cabin, presumably to slit his wrists.
  • The Domiziana at Olbia, September 2010

    The Domiziana at Olbia, September 2010

    Things seen – November 2010

    The Anthi Marina, Milena and Dimitroula laid up in Piraeus outer harbour.

    The Anthi Marina, Milena and Dimitroula laid up in Piraeus outer harbour.

  • The laid up GA Ferries fleet in Piraeus has been put up for auction by the port authority. The following starting bids have been specified:

    DIMITROULA €1,277,000
    ANTHI MARINA €2,128,000
    ROMILDA €979,000
    MILENA €957,000
    MARINA €1,309,000
    RODANTHI €1,383,000
    DALIANA €957,500

    One wonders which shipboard delights make the Daliana €500 more valuable than her sister the Milena. Truthfully, I doubt many will miss most of these ships all of which were fairly grim clunkers at the very bottom of the market by the time GA Ferries finally gave up the ghost. The Dimitroula, whilst not an exception to that comment, was perhaps the most interesting, retaining many of her pocket Italian liner stylings through her Greek career. The fast craft Jetferry I, tucked up in the inner harbour adjacent to the berths of the smaller Blue Star ships, has already been repossessed by her secured creditors so is excluded from the list.

    There are some slightly haunting videos of the ships in the outer harbour, creaking and groaning at their berths here and here.

    The same set of videos also features a close up consideration of the Mediterranean Sky, once of Karageorgis Lines and before that Ellerman’s City of York but now a sunken, rusting hulk in a corner of Elefsis Bay.

    Meanwhile, near to the end of her operational days, life on board a Christmassy Romilda was captured by a nautilia user with the highly commendable name of ‘vortigern’.

  • The final departure of the Athens from Igoumenitsa en route for scrapping was captured for posterity – the vessel had served Ventouris Ferries for approaching a quarter of a century and had survived through all of the troubles of the family’s shipping operations – being right on the spot of disaster on occasion as pictures of her, freshly painted, alongside the sunken Grecia Express (ex-Norwind) prove.
  • Another former British ferry whose operational career in Greece was cut short at an early stage was the Theseus (ex-Dundalk, St Cybi). She did see service for a while however, as evidenced by this highly entertaining video of her berthing in rough weather at Kythira in 1993. Comedy highlights include the lost tyre bouncing around behind a disembarking vehicle and, somewhat cruelly, the lady who manages to drench herself as she attempts to embark by running up to and over the vehicle ramp.
  • ‘Mr Snail’ has a fine collection on flickr of images of and on board many of the lesser lights of the currently operational Greek domestic fleet, large and small.
  • The recent collision of the Superferry II (ex-Prince Laurent) with the pier in Tinos rang a bell and a quick search revealed a similar incident in Andros a couple of years ago – with rather more dramatic consequences for those on board.
  • The many and varied incidents which have affected BC Ferries’ fleet are documented in this remarkable youtube video which formed part of local TV coverage of the sinking of the Queen of the North.

    Meanwhile, this series of videos shows Tsawwassen terminal and the Queen of New Westminster being pounded by wet & wild weather in 2007.

  • Whilst Corsica Ferries seem somehow less accident-prone than rivals Moby, this image of the stern of the Mega Express shows that they still have their share of mishaps.
  • Continuing the theme of accidents and incidents, the former Ursula of Scandinavian Ferry Lines, latterly the Cozumel II, was washed ashore at Chinchorro Bank in Mexico during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. In May of this year she was finally released from her predicament as evidenced by this local television report.
  • Staying in Mexico, it is nearly three years since the Victory of Grandi Navi Veloci was sold to Baja Ferries where she operates as the Chihuahua Star alongside the California Star (ex-Stena Forwarder). She appears to have settled down quite well in operation, but, as can be seen from this voyage report, remains very much a GNV ship onboard.
  • Sessan Linjen was one of the more prestigious and upscale early car ferry operators and the company’s absorption by local rivals Stena Line in 1982 remains in many ways regrettable The vast majority of Sessan’s fleet were purpose-built and some interesting images are found here and here whilst a snatched recording of cars boarding the Prinsessan Desiree in Gothenburg in the early 1970s can be seen here. Today, Sessan’s Gothenburg terminal is the only remaining local link with the company, it now being home to Stena’s Kiel operation.
  • Mention of Stena and their early, rapid, growth prompts a quick link to one of my all time favourite ferry photographs, from the Dover Ferry Photos website, showing the little Stena Danica of 1965 in Dover alongside the Free Enterprise III and the Roi Baudouin. Stubby and small, she still manages to somehow outshine her equally modern rivals.
  • That Stena Danica image was taken during her brief charter to Townsend over the Winter of 1967/68 and just a couple of months later Pathé news ventured aboard the brand-new Dragon on her promotional visit to London to film this footage of one of the more attractive British-registered car ferries. The recording also resolves a minor query I had as to just what the Dragon featured in her main lobby, where her sister Leopard had a leopard clambering up the liftshaft (below). To the surprise of nobody it was a dragon (below x2), but still it is nice to see just what it looked like. As can also be seen both ships had Bayeux Tapestry extracts around the lobby’s upper circle.
    A leopard on the Leopard...

    A leopard on the Leopard...

    ...and a dragon on the Dragon.

    ...and a dragon on the Dragon.

  • The branch lines serving former railway ports still capture the imaginations of many and video tributes to those at Folkestone and Weymouth have found their way onto youtube. The Weymouth version includes some entertaining footage of cars being moved out of the way of the train as it passes along the quayside. Over at Folkestone, spread over three parts are some excellent clips of trains transiting the harbour line:
    Part One
    Part Two
    Part Three
  • The departure of the SNAV Sicilia (ex-Norland) for scrap is a reminder that this ship was once very famous indeed in her homeport of Kingston-upon-Hull. The Norland pub in Hessle remains a well-known local hostelry, whilst the name of Norland ARLFC continues to bring a wry smile to ferry enthusiast observers of the Hull & District League (this may indeed be a very limited number of people). Meanwhile a house on Norland Avenue doesn’t sound too bad a proposition, although that may depend on one’s view of the merits of living in Hull.

    The East Yorkshire version of the BBC’s Look North carried a decent segment on her demise (no longer available on iplayer but a related news item is here); the Hull Daily Mail predictably missed the story altogether.

  • It comes as a rude shock that some people don’t take ferry enthusiasm as seriously as this blog ceaselessly strives to. An entertaining critique of Brian Haresnape’s book Sealink, a revered tome in the eyes of this writer, can be found on the four pages of this link to an irreverent car forum – page 2 onwards are frankly not for the faint hearted.
  • Staying with Sealink and the ITN website has some interesting coverage of newsworthy events from the 1980s:
    ‘Save Our Senlac’
    On board the strikebound Earl Harold
    Refloating the Hengist
  • Lastly, the arrival of the Istra for scrapping in Aliaga didn’t go undocumented and below are some links to a series of images of and on board the old ship as she was prepared for cutting up (click on the thumbnails to go to the original urls):
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    (h/t Brodovi i pomorstvo)

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    Things Seen – August 2010

    Theofilos at Mytilene

    Theofilos at Mytilene

  • The Theofilos (ex-Nils Holgersson (1975), Abel Tasman) has had a couple of “interesting” incidents during her career, one of which was a quite spectacular collision with the quayside at Chios not long after entering service with NEL, in July 1995 – note the truck crushed beneath her bows in this picture.

    Displaced from NEL’s main Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene route some time ago, in the Summer of 2010 this splendid veteran has again been travelling the more distant routes of the North Aegean.

  • The crowded quayside at Paros has seen more than a few dramas over the years, most notably of course the loss off the port of the Express Samina. Meanwhile, the non-fatal sinking whilst adjacent to the quay of the Poseidon Express (ex-Provence) was the result of evasive action taken to avoid the Naias Express (ex-Ailsa Princess). Slightly less dramatic was an August 1989 incident where the stern ramp of the manoeuvring Georgios Express (ex-Roi Baudouin) pierced the stern quarter of the Golden Vergina (ex-Corse, later Express Samina) – there is an interesting image here of the latter ship undergoing repairs following this incident (h/t nautilia).

    The Golden Vergina also features, along with other Greek favourites, in Ferries at Paros Port – sailing very close to the spot that what would, a few years later, become her final resting place.

  • Mention of the Express Poseidon is a reminder that the Saint Eloi of ALA (now the Moby Love) was not the only ship for French owners whose delivery was disrupted by the bankruptcy of the shipyard in Pietra Ligure, the Provence being similarly affected. This picture shows the two ferries laid up awaiting completion.

    From the Express Poseidon’s final years, here are some brochure images, via nautilia, of the ship in Greek waters:
    Page 1
    Page 2
    Page 3
    Page 4

  • Where will the Blue Horizon’s travels take her next? After being replaced on Adriatic routes by the new Superfast ro-paxes, she has spent this Summer on a new route from Piraeus to Chania – a move into ANEK territory. One wonders just how long this venture will last; Ellinkiatoploia have photographed her in their usual, top to bottom, style.
  • There was discussion a few months ago about the Slavija I and her role in the Croatian war of independence. Her fleetmates were equally active and here is a picture of the Ilirija (ex-Bornholmerpiren) alongside a burning quayside during the conflict.
  • The brief life of Seaspeed’s fast ferry service from Southampton to West Cowes on the Isle of Wight is documented on this link. At the mainland end of the connection the operation’s base was from a slipway just adjacent to the old Floating Bridge (replaced by the Itchin Bridge in 1977) – the Simplon website has an interesting series of photos of the Floating Bridge, including one with a Seaspeed craft sailing past. There is also a great image of the terminal on Ships Nostalgia (registration required).

    From above, the Southampton-end slipways of both operations remain clearly visible today – on this Google Maps link, click on the ‘Satellite’ tab and the green arrow indicates the Seaspeed slipway, with its Floating Bridge equivalent to the south of the Itchin Bridge, the adjacent street still called ‘Floating Bridge Road’.

    Whilst British Rail doubtless could see the hovercraft as ideal replacements for older passenger ferries, there is a certain irony that it was just upriver that the last of the trio of motor ships built for the Southern/BR after the war, the Southsea, spent her final days before going to Denmark to be demolished. Her death throes were spent at a scrapyard just beside the Northam Bridge and those who made the occasional pilgrimage there to see the old lady may be interested to know that another landmark adjacent to that bridge has met the same fate as the Southsea: the Northam TV studios have recently been demolished. Latterly used by Meridian TV but originally built by Southern Television in the 1960s there are some urbex pictures on this link.

  • Sticking with cross-Solent hovercraft operations and there is a fascinating account of the fatal 1972 loss of Hovertravel’s SRN-6 012 on this link (try to ignore the atrocious musical accompaniment).
  • The Cuthred

    The Cuthred

  • The little ex-Sealink Isle of Wight ferry the Cuthred was the prototype for the later ‘C’ class of three ships which served the island for over 35 years. Having been replaced from her second career in Portugal by some all green newbuilds she remains laid up and some pictures of and on board the ship can be found here.
  • The once rather charming Prins Filip of RMT/Oostende Lines has been somewhat obliterated over the years and, especially since the last LD Lines rebuild, I now find her a positively depressing ship to sail on. Step back in time then and board the ship in happier times by viewing this early safety video on youtube.
  • Somewhat different in style, here is an old Buquebus safety film for passengers on their erstwhile Patricia Olivia from the Algeciras-Ceuta before the Spanish operation passed to Balearia.

    Buquebus retain their operations in South America and the Silvia Ana L, once used seasonally by Color Line, now has the company’s new livery.

  • The Valencay and Capitaine Le Goff at Dieppe.

    The Valencay and Capitaine Le Goff at Dieppe.

  • The small ro-ro Capitaine Le Goff, bought off the stocks for use on the Dieppe-Newhaven route in the early 1970s, didn’t have a particularly successful career on La Manche but she carved out a useful second career as the Al Zaher II in the Red Sea. Unremarked upon, she passed for breaking by Rushil Industries in India in 2008 – this 2007 picture of her amongst familiar company at Jeddah was taken not long before the end.
  • Here is a fascinating video from the early days of Baltic car ferries, with specifically interesting coverage of the brand new Nordia of 1962 and – a reminder of times when ex-UK tonnage headed east – a trip on the Turist Expressen (formerly Townsend’s Halladale) with the Viking (ex-Dinard) sailing past (h/t LandgÃ¥ngen).
  • In Denmark an amazing collection of ship photographs from the the Frederiks Vaerk Museum of Industry’s collection has been posted online. Given the nature of the pictures and their source, there are plenty of udluftning but in many ways images of otherwise unseen and forgotten corners makes them more fascinating still, somehow capturing the everyday in a way that the more commonplace pictures of empty first class saloons sometimes cannot.
  • The short crossing between Helsingborg and Helsingör has probably not seen a more interesting car ferry than the first Betula, which operated on the route between 1956 and 1971. Originally a cross-Mersey ferry, the Perch Rock of 1929, she passed to Swedish owners in the 1950s and was heavily rebuilt. On this link the top video documents a sailing aboard the ship in the 1960s. (h/t LandgÃ¥ngen)
  • The last-surviving of a series of four Wärtsilä-built car ferries of the late 1960s, the Freewinds (ex-Boheme) has become something of an international ship of mystery since becoming the Scientologists’ in-house cruise ship. Fakta om Fartyg takes us aboard the ship in something approaching original condition but compare that with the series of images on pages 6 and 7 of this edition of ISP magazine – as has been widely reported, the vessel has been thoroughly gutted inside.
  • The Scotia Prince

    The Scotia Prince

  • The heavy overhaul ISP’s Scotia Prince (ex-Stena Olympica) received after her winter layup is featured in the latest edition of the magazine. She was subsequently chartered by Marmara Lines and looked to be in fine fettle when I passed her storming northbound to Ancona in July – however, even though it was a sailing ‘against the season’, there was still a distinct lack of passengers crowding the decks.
  • The amazing Aquarama was one of the most distinctive of North American ferries but her long life was almost exclusively spent laid up – after being converted into a passenger ship she operated only between 1956 and 1962. She finally passed for scrapping in 2007 and some fine hi-res images of her Aliaga demise can be found here – note the two ex-UK ships alongside her in the demolition process – the Giglio Espresso II (ex-Carisbrooke Castle) and Neptunia (ex-Darnia, Stena Topper).

    Although featuring nothing of the Aquarama, the website of her scrappers features a front of house image which includes the Volcan De Tacande (ex-Versailles, Stena Danica).

  • Things Seen – April 2010

  • During the 1960s DFDS commissioned three remarkable little ro-ro ships specifically to handle the bacon trade from Denmark into the English port of Grimsby. The Somerset, Stafford and Surrey carried bacon and butter in refrigerated containers over to the UK before taking the “empties” back home again – (the crews complained of the strong smell of rancid bacon in the unwashed containers on the runs back to Esbjerg!). Designed to fit through the narrow lock at Grimsby port, the ships served into the 1980s (the last and largest, the Surrey, remained with DFDS until 1992).

    Thereafter, the ships have had interestingly varied careers, all three surviving into the new century before the ex-Surrey was scrapped in 2005. This vessel had in between times been converted to a passenger ferry by A K Ventouris, under whom, as the Anna V, she was mysteriously sunk by a bomb in Patras harbour. Repaired, she saw sparing further service as the Jupiter, being laid up for a prolonged period in Brindisi and then Elefsis before sailing for scrap as the Pit.

    The Jupiter (ex-Surrey) laid up in Brindisi in July 2003 with the Tirana (ex-Linda Scarlett) astern.

    The Jupiter (ex-Surrey) laid up in Brindisi in July 2003 with the Tirana (ex-Linda Scarlett) astern.

    The Surrey’s earlier sister ships have both met slightly happier fates, although the future now looks uncertain in each case. The Somerset of 1966 became a livestock carrier but this picture from July last year shows her in a very poor condition. Her AIS is still on however and she is currently listed as sailing through Greek waters. On Ships Nostalgia (registration required) there is an astonishing picture of the ship, as the Afroditi, aground near Waterford in the 1980s with huge piles of hay on her after decks.

    The Atlantis laid up, July 2005.

    The Atlantis laid up, July 2005.

    The Stafford (1967) was quite horrifically converted first into a Greek passenger/car ferry (named the Voyager and then the Monaco) and then into a cruise ship for operation out of Miami. She is seen here in her Voyager guise in the mid-1980s and, following her return to Greek waters, as the cruise ship Atlantis at Santorini in the early 2000s. Subsequently sold to American owners, the ship has been laid up for some time in Elefsis, latterly Elefsis Bay.

    Despite this, she shares top billing on her owners’ enthusiastic website with the Casino Royale, originally HML’s famed second purpose-built car ferry the Castalia. A press release from January 2010 notes that the company is “currently evaluating port locations in East Asia and the United States for the establishment of its initial operations… Each vessel is anticipated to have a capacity of approximately 1,200 passengers and will offer the Company’s patrons a full entertainment experience. Upon completion of the intended renovations, the shipboard entertainment venues on the m/v Casino Royale will include a 100 seat full service gourmet restaurant, a 300 seat buffet restaurant, a casino, a sports bar, a VIP lounge, and a covered outdoor entertainment deck, while the m/v Island Breeze will offer a 100 seat full service gourmet restaurant, a 300 seat buffet restaurant, a casino, a sports bar, a high energy nightclub, a VIP lounge, and a 400 seat showroom. ”

  • 80 passengers lost their lives when the Express Samina sank in September 2000. The wreck still attracts interest however, as these images show.
  • The Caledonian Steam Packet’s little motor ship the Maid of Argylle (1953) ultimately became the Greek City of Corfu and it was under this name that she caught fire and sank whilst alongside her namesake island in 1997. The wreck lay there for many years and was documented in these pictures from 2002.
  • The Penelope A

    The Penelope A

  • Here is a nice video documenting a crossing on board the Penelope A (ex-Horsa) in the Summer of 2008.

    Sticking with the website’s title ships, here is an unusual image of the Vortigern, near the end of her UK career, at Dieppe.

    Lastly the Hengist and perhaps her most famous moment, the grounding off the Warren in 1987, was captured on video. Meanwhile, the ship’s current operators, Ventouris Sea Lines, at last have a proper website, complete with a good selection of on board images of the most carefully maintained veteran ferry sailing in Greek waters.

  • Piraeus remains the world’s greatest ferry port, but perhaps a little of that greatness has rubbed off in recent years as the Greek fleet has slimmed down and speeded up – whilst the place itself has been slightly sanitised. This month’s selection of Greek youtube links present glimpses of the port in days past:

    First up, Piraeus (and surrounding areas) in 1968.

    Some extracts from a 1970s film which highlights some of the quayside structures, including the long gone passenger walkways.

    In Piraeus port 1995, a cast of dozens of classic ships line up for the camera – this was before the demise of Ventouris Sea Lines later that year and the Apollo Express 2 is seen in operation, whilst the Milos Express (Vortigern) is seen just out of refit.

    And lastly the brief but strangely mesmerising Classic ferries of Greece

    At the end of the latter film comes footage of the Sappho (ex-Spero) and scenes aboard this ship feature heavily in these extracts from a 1970s film. It is readily apparent that her interiors were almost completely unchanged, right down to the large map of the North Sea adjacent to the information desk. Some more on board video can be found here (from about 3:25 in & turn the sound DOWN!).

  • The Ryde, October 2006

    The Ryde, October 2006

  • The demise of the paddle steamer Ryde has been long and agonising. There has however been one entrepreneurial idea for a novel form of preservation of at least part of the ship…
  • The end for the Manxman seems just as certain so, if you have half an hour to spare, sit back and enjoy this superb radio documentary, A Day Excursion to Douglas recorded aboard the ship late in her operational career:
    Part One
    Part Two
    Part Three
  • The Moby Vincent (ex-St Brendan/Stena Normandica) has recently received a big ‘duck tail’ extension aft.
  • The Italian train ferry Cariddi was virtually a metaphor for the story of Italy’s railways in the Twentieth Century: constructed in 1932 she entered service between Messina and Villa San Giovanni as the most advanced ship of her type in the world. Diesel-electrical propulsion was employed and the ship reflected the huge amounts of money being poured into the railways and national communications under Mussolini’s fascist regime.

    The ship sank twice – the first time was during the Second World War when she was scuttled in Paradiso Bay, just north of Messina, the day before Sicily fell to the Allies in August 1943. She remained submerged for six and a half years before being raised, rebuilt and restored to service in 1953. Finally retired after a 59-year career, she was sold to the local authority in Messina and intended to become a maritime museum. Neglected and abandoned, she sank for a second and final time in 2006.

    This link, from the Internet Archive, documents the ship’s career and dates to before her 2006 sinking but prophetically notes that “neglect, incompetence, disinterest and abandonment are pulling the Cariddi down again.”

    A more complete history of this route, one of the outstanding ferry experiences in Europe, can be found here.

  • A similar fate, but with rather more tragic consequences, befell the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand’s Wahine which was lost within Wellington Harbour in April 1968. There is little one could like to know about this powerful-looking green-hulled ship and her demise that isn’t covered on Murray Robinson’s outstanding website.

    The website notes that the Wahine’s foremast has recently been placed in position as a monument on the rocks near to where survivors came ashore on the morning of the disaster.

  • The Kalliste - in classic grey livery.

    The Kalliste - in classic grey livery.

  • Le Kalliste – tout blanc!
    Quelle horreur!
  • Mystery still surrounds the future of the Ugo Foscolo (ex-Mikhail Sholokhov) which has been laid up in Zakynthos for over half a decade. The local port authorities seem determined to remove her and one unlikely venture is this proposed conversion to a cruise ship involving Alexandros Panagopoulos, from the family behind Superfast and Royal Cruise Lines.
  • ANEK’s Elyros has been a very popular addition to the Piraeus-Chania route since her entry into service in late 2008. KEH’s earlier rebuild proposal however called for an even more radical silhouette, including a Royal Caribbean-esque ‘Viking Crown’ lounge forward of the funnel.
  • The Stena hotel in Frederikshavn, before its 'tropical adventure'.

    The Stena hotel in Frederikshavn, before its 'tropical adventure'.

  • The previously fairly run of the mill Stena Line hotel in Frederikshavn is now The Reef Resort! As ever, Figura have been entrusted with the interior design work.
  • A fascinating glimpse of the early days of cross-channel car ferrying can be seen in this remarkable series of slides posted to flickr, including a couple on board Townsend’s Forde just before the outbreak of war as well as others aboard the Maid of Kent and Twickenham Ferry. The link goes direct to those images tagged ‘ferry’, but the entire collection is worth a look.
  • This is only marginally related to shipping but: The Sud Express is gone! OK, the name lives on, but the classic 1950s Wagons-Lits ‘UH’ class sleeping cars have been dispensed with and, with them, goes the final vestige of the last of the most famous trains of the Wagons-Lits, so many of which used to commence their journeys at Boulogne, Calais or Oostende in connection with generations of packet steamers.

    The Sud Express was established in 1887 and ran through to Lisbon from Paris and Calais (later it was just Paris to Lisbon and later still Paris to Hendaye/Irun, change trains, and then Hendaye to Lisbon). Alas, it’s not just a case of “another one bites the dust” – this truly was the last of the great loco-hauled Grand European Expresses. The Sud outlasted the remnants of the (real) Orient Express by a couple of years. The Nord Express, the Train Bleu, the Peninsular Express, the Oberland Express etc all fell by the wayside long ago. The relevance of these long-distance luxury train connections to the ferry industry died out decades ago with the onset of mass air travel, but the train/ship/train link was before then vital for anyone who wanted to travel significant distances in Europe.

    And just how useful would the Paris/Oostende-Oslo cars of the Nord Express (via the Nyborg-Korsør and Helsingør-Helsingborg train ferries) be today for ash-bound Continental shipowners wishing to get to the Shippax conference starting on the Color Magic on Tuesday…?

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    Things Seen – February 2010

    The Nikolaos, still with a red hull, at Perama in September 2009.

    The Nikolaos, still with a red hull, at Perama in September 2009.

  • After many years laid up at Elefsis and Salamis the first of the Sunderland-built Superflexes, the Superflex Alfa, saw service in 2008 as the Nikolaos between Igoumenitsa and Corfu for Ionion Lines, still with her original red hull. There she operated in competition with her former sister, the much rebuilt Pantokrator (Superflex Foxtrot). The operation did not seem to have been a success and for nine months the ship was laid up in Igoumenitsa. In July last year she moved to Perama for attention; however, there she remained, with work seemingly halted. The reports now are that it has been completed and the company’s website offers a glimpse of the new look – the red hull is gone and some new openings on the upper vehicle deck indicate that the changes are more than superficial. With her sister the Gitte 3 (ex-Superflex Delta) having recently departed for the scrappers, time is starting to catch up with this class of ship, most of which have experienced uncertainty and lay up at one stage or another through their fairly troubled history. Hopefully, the lead ship will be able to make a success of her operation this time around.
  • The stylish Swedish train ferries Trelleborg (1958) and SkÃ¥ne (1967) were built for the Trelleborg-Sassnitz service, operated in co-operation with the East German Deutsche Reichsbahn, whose ships were rather more austere.

    Comprehensive pictures of and on board the Swedish pair in both their early years and latterly when they each headed to Southern Europe can be found here:

    Trelleborg and Skåne

  • The sad wreck of the Jassim (ex-Kattegat of 1961) is picked up quite clearly on Google Maps.
  • Rather more haunting is the wreck of the Salem Express, the former Fred Scamaroni and Nuits Saint Georges which sailed direct from layup following her aborted UK service to trade in the Red Sea in 1981. The ship tragically sank in December 1991, taking at least 470 people with her. A deep breath is required before viewing some of these 2005 images of her interior, and of the remains of some of her doomed passengers.
  • The Express Adonis (ex-Ailsa Princess/Earl Harold) rather disappeared off the radar when sold by Hellenic Seaways back in 2006. She has, however, embarked on a new career as a casino ship in Indian waters, firstly under the name New Caribbean Princess and most recently as the New Cambay Prince. Passengers appear to frequently arrive at the ship via tender which provides a few interesting youtube videos. Her operator’s website seems adequate enough but some of the reviews have been less flattering: how’s about “That’s not to suggest that you’re taking a ride in a rat-infested boat (or perhaps the rats have already jumped ship)” for a back handed compliment?

    Meanwhile, the headline ‘Disgusting!’ sums up environmentalists’ concerns about the ship’s alledged dumping of garbage in the Arabian Sea.

  • On the following link, Prince Philip asks some unilluminating questions during the construction of the Finnjet (h/t LandgÃ¥ngen)
  • The cutaway diagram is a staple for ferry operators trying to showcase their newest and best vessels to the discerning public. Most modern versions are fairly sanitised, but let’s look back to the early 1980s and Trasmed’s image of the Ciudad de Badajoz. Zoom in up-close and check out the detail of what the people on board are actually up to. Towelling themselves off after showers, stuck on lifts between floors, but mostly peacock-like showing themselves off to best advantage. And, just to the right of the lift, what is that man doing in the washbasin?
  • Barely a month seems to go by without a current or former Superfast ship changing hands. This picture of the Superfast IX (now Atlantic Vision) in dry dock seems to fit the mood as the Attica fleet seems set into decline – just a sliver of red remains, the vast bulk being extinguished by a sea of blue. The days when Superfast changed overnight and then dominated the Greek international ferry market seem ever more distant.
  • Pilot’s model ships have quite a following with examples passing for not inconsiderable sums on eBay. This website showcasing Bruce Peter’s collection snuck onto the web, unheralded, a couple of years ago.
  • © Bruce Peter

    © Bruce Peter

  • The Nereus was a smart little ship, built as the Scania for Rederi Ab Svea she was later the Scania Express and Polhelm before passing to Agapitos Lines in 1981. In Greece she was deployed on an almost incomprehensible schedule involving 30+ ports, mostly smaller islands with tiny populations. She was lost off the coast of Crete in 1989 and for many years the wreck was visible off Sideros.

    A couple of rather charming videos of the ship during her Greek career can be found here and here.

  • Stena Line’s predilection for tinkering with their ships’ interiors shows no sign of abating. Here are some images of the most recent remodelling of the Kiel ships ‘Germanica’ and ‘Scandinavica’.
  • Maritime historian Peter Knego recently wrote about his visit to the Faithful (originally the first Wappen Von Hamburg (1955) and later the Delos and Xanadu) which, after several years where it seemed she was just another old ship doomed to be scrapped, appears to be having one last chance at survival. His pictures make a fascinating contrast to this snippet of film relating the Delos’s maiden arrival in Greece in 1961. (h/t Nautilia)
  • In the last ‘Things Seen’ we touched on one of the Baroness M (ex-Lion)’s more dramatic moments when she was attacked by Syrian gunboats in 1990. For sixteen years after being delivered in late 1967 until sale to the Greek Cypriot Marlines the ship was a familiar sight around the coast of the United Kingdom, and she was once more when chartered for a much commented-upon spell back on the English Channel for British Channel Island Ferries in 1987. In between times however the ship spent one Summer operating for Marlines on a long, once weekly, Ancona-Igoumenitsa-Patras-Izmir routing, via the Corinth Canal and it is during that 1986 season that she is captured here and here looking quite splendid as she passes through the canal with what appears to be only a modest sprinkling of passengers aboard.
  • The Candia.

    The Candia.

  • For years I paid little attention to the Candia and Rethimnon of ANEK, dismissing them as just another pair of Japanese ferries diverting attention from the real Greek beauties, the ex-North European tonnage. That rather narrow view of Greek ferry history still pertains to a degree, but what mustn’t be overlooked is the impact these ships had when introduced – they were virtually brand new and were an amazing contrast on routes to Crete to Minoan’s famed Minos and the Kydon, ANEK’s own original ship. Here, dignatories are shown around the Candia as she is inaugurated in 1973.
  • Comedy capers with a current ANEK ship as this video of the Prevelis demonstrates that the so-called ‘Mediterranean moor’ isn’t as easily executed as it sometimes appears.
  • The remains of the former Sealink Isle of Wight ferry Freshwater continue to languish at the former scrapyard in Garston, Merseyside to which she was sold back in 1996. This fascinating video tour of the ship just before she left Sealink service is a reminder of rather happier times.
  • Lastly, as the ships head towards their 38th birthdays, here is a nice image of the Hengist and Horsa together off Folkestone very early in their English Channel careers.

    For the record, the Agios Georgios (ex-Hengist) had a hiccup with an engine failure a couple of days ago, returning to Piraeus to discharge her passengers. She has since resumed her regular services.

  • The Agios Georgios at Piraeus.

    The Agios Georgios at Piraeus.

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    Things Seen – November 2009

    The Lincoln Castle

    The Lincoln Castle

  • The paddle steamer Lincoln Castle is up for sale for £20,000. The last of the trio of ships built for the New Holland-Hull ferry service of the LNER, this ship, along with her two earlier routemates, the Tattershall and Wingfield Castles, eventually passed to Sealink in whose unlikely hands the service closed in 1981 upon completion of the Humber Bridge. The Lincoln Castle had been withdrawn in 1978 however and has served as a bar and restaurant ever since, for the past twenty years in Grimsby.
  • The call of the Oasis of the Seas at Southampton in early November, en route to Fort Lauderdale on her delivery voyage, brought the chance to compare sizes with the local Isle of Wight ferry fleet, such as the St Clare, seen here in the Daily Mail. An even more astounding comparison however was this picture of the ship with Brittany Ferries’ Mont St Michel – one of the largest cross-channel car ferries, but completely dwarfed by the ‘OOTS’.
  • Several months ago we looked at B&I Line’s first purpose-built car ferry, the Munster of 1968. has an interesting series of photographs from on board, both general views and crew scenes.
  • The Maersk ‘D’ class have a series of artworks on board by different modernist Danish artists – Jan van Lokhorst on the Maersk Dunkerque, Anne Vilsbøll (Maersk Delft) and Per Arnoldi (most recently famous in the UK for his work on Michael Winner’s National Police Memorial in London) on the Maersk Dover.
    Van Lokhurst’s website has a series of images of his work on the first ship including pictures of the creative and manufacturing process whilst Vilsbøll can be seen here working on some of her paintings for the ‘Delft’.
  • Sessan & Stena at Frederikshavn

    Sessan & Stena at Frederikshavn

  • Over on LandgÃ¥ngen they have been discussing in minute detail the changes to the berthing arrangements at Frederikshaven between the Stena and Sessan terminals. Meanwhile on the Nautilia messageboard there are 143 pages discussing the Agios Georgios (ex-Hengist) and 57 pages on ‘Historic Photos of Piraeus port’.

    In many ways it is a shame that there is no equivalent all-encompassing British forum for the analysis of not only the endlessly trivial minutiae but also the broader fascinating history of the British short-sea passenger shipping scene. It would perhaps be impossible to rival nautilia’s seemingly comprehensive catalogue of Greek ferries, where every ship, historic or modern, has its own thread, but it would be nice to try.

  • The Prince of Wales was the last-built of the SRN-4 hovercraft, being delivered as late as 1977, five years after the previous example, the Sir Christopher. Withdrawn after just 14 years service, she was destroyed in 1993, whilst laid up in reserve, by an electrical fire. Together with other period images, here are some photographs of the craft being broken up after this event on the hoverpad at Dover. The SeaCat berth at the Hoverport was under construction at the same time.
  • Not quite as successful as the SRN-4s were the French SEDAM Naviplanes. The tortuous delivery voyage of the Ingénieur Jean Bertin, the only example of the type to actually enter service, is chronicled here.
  • The Diana II

    The Diana II

  • The much heralded conversion of former overnight ferries into ‘Accommodation/Repair Vessels’ (ARVs) has hit trouble. Work on the ARV 2 (formerly the Normandy, St Nicholas, Prinsessan Birgitta) has been halted before even starting. Shippax reports that the ARV1, which was delayed during rebuilding, was the other contender for the 18 month accommodation contract near Perth won by Hurtigruten’s Finnmarken. The former Meloodia/Diana II therefore remains laid up in Singapore. Some coverage of the ship during her extensive refurbishment can be seen here and more details of what has been done can be gleaned from the ship’s new General Arrangement plan.
  • Now travelling between Bari and Albania, the ice breaking capacity of the Rigel sees little use. That was not the case during her previous life as the Baltic Kristina of Riga Sea Lines, as this photostory demonstrates.
  • Having mentioned the early Trasmed. car ferries last month, it would be remiss not to point readers in the direction of which has a host of interesting photographs from various ship through the history of the Spanish company. With the volume of ships covered it is a little hard to pick out favourites, but the Ciudad de Tarifa, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Ciudad de Valencia (now Mary the Queen), and the Ciudad de Sevilla are particularly interesting, the latter page including startling images of the ship’s determined attempt to sink herself off Palma in October 1982.
  • The Ciudad de Valencia at Ibiza in August 2003.

    The Ciudad de Valencia at Ibiza in August 2003.

  • The abandoned wreck of the poor old Assalama (formerly Trasmed’s Ciudad de la Laguna and originally the Bore Line (Silja) Botnia of 1967) remains at Tarfaya, over one and a half years since she sank just after leaving port.

    Some interesting footage from that day in April 2008 can be seen here and here.

  • The very first ship of freight operator Truckline Ferries was the Poole Antelope which, 11 years before the company was purchased by Brittany Ferries, entered service in 1973 between Poole and Cherbourg, followed shortly after by her sister the Dauphin de Cherbourg. This pair are slightly glossed over in histories of Truckline, being too small, too slow and sold within a couple of years. Whilst the second ship has rather passed into obscurity (she became an oilfield research vessel in China named Bin Hai 504 (sometimes seen as Rin Hai 504)), the Poole Antelope was ultimately converted into a passenger ship and at present is offering regular ferry services for Ukrferry between Odessa in the Ukraine and Istanbul in Turkey under the name Caledonia. Ukrferry also offer cruises on the ship and the website for this side of the operation has plenty of photographs together with a deckplan.
  • Ukrferry also operate the former Scandlines vessel Greifswald and, since her return from charter to ISCOMAR for Ibiza sailings as the Begoña del Mar, the Yuzhnaya Palmyra (ex-Silesia). The latter has her own website here and maintains the Odessa-Istanbul service in Summer.
  • The Express Santorini (ex-Chartres) is back in Greece, presently operating for ANEK on a subsidy-munching Piraeus-Patmos-Leipsoi-Leros-Kalymnos-Kos-Symi-Rhodes routing. This after another Summer on Charter to Atlanticoline in the Azores. According to this report, she continued to make a favourable impression and is in excellent condition “due to good maintenance, since it is owned by Hellenic Seaways”. That last point is, to be fair, not as unlikely as it sounds; HSW are not GA Ferries.

    Nonetheless, it seems the ship did have a little trouble with that side ramp installed for use on the charter. Back home, and with the demise of GA Ferries and SAOS, there must be some demand for smaller, cheap-to-run ships for use on the subsidised routes beyond just refit cover so the ‘Santorini’ may yet have a future in Greece. If so, it would be nice to see that side door removed altogether.

  • The Porfyrousa (ex-Canbulat Pasa) at Drapetsona in July 2008. On the left of the photograph is NEL's Panagia Tinou and in the background the same company's former Aeolos Kenteris, by then the Red Sea I.

    The Porfyrousa (ex-Canbulat Pasa) at Drapetsona in July 2008. On the left of the photograph is NEL's Panagia Tinou and in the background the same company's former Aeolos Kenteris, by then the Red Sea I.

  • In September’s Things Seen I mentioned the fleet of Fergün Shipping of Turkey. The company’s website is not the most up to date, but I, sort of, implied that the Canbulat Pasa as the newest member of the conventional fleet was probably still in service. Richard Seville rushes to correct, reminding me that we in fact encountered the ship whilst visiting the Aegean Heaven mid-refit at Drapetsona in July 2008. She was in the process of being renamed Porfyrousa and has since taken up service on the local routes out of Kythera.

    There are some interesting thoughts, upon which it would be wisest not to comment, on the happenings which preceded the introduction of the ship in Greece here.

  • Mention of Drapetsona prompts me to draw attention to the redevelopment plan for the area. You’d have to think this has a fair chance of never happening, but what a revolution it would be. I can see the Beach Club, the Family Entertainment Zone and the Retail Zone/Marina. But where is the long quayside where ferries of all kinds go to lay up – many forever? Is that what Sunset Park is maybe?
  • What would Drapetsona be without the laid-up Alkyon?

    What would Drapetsona be without the laid-up Alkyon?

  • The wreck of the Express Samina is the rather haunting location for this video on youtube.
  • Little knowing the unfortunate fate of their new ship, this video from Greece shows happy dignitaries on board the Arion (ex-Nili, Jamaica Queen etc) as she was entering service for NEL in 1975. The ship was subsequently bombed in Haifa in 1982. (h/t
  • The act of boarding the modern ferry has perhaps through familiarity lost some of the excitement of days gone by but this video from 1995 of Minoan Lines’ Fedra at Venice shows that even lorry drivers can make something interesting from an otherwise mundane day to day experience.
  • Ghosts from the past can live forever on the internet, and that is the case with Hellenic Mediterranean Lines whose website is still offering sailings from Brindisi to Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Paxi, Zakynthos, Cefallonia and Patras on the Egnatia III and the Poseidonia, just as if it was still 2003.
  • Another operator living in the past is Skenderbeg Lines, where it is forever 2004. Their Europa I remains laid up in Brindisi, as she has been since 2007. Her heroic past was remembered on 30 October however, 18 years to the day since the ship, then Jadrolinija’s Slavija I, led the ‘Libertas Convoy’ to Dubrovnik in an attempt to help stop the destruction of the latter city during the Croatian War of Independence. With numerous tourist and fishing boats following and with on board, amongst others, Stipe Mesić, today the President of Croatia, the ship sailed down the coast to besieged Dubrovnik.

    The Slavija I made several, increasingly harrowing, return trips, and the Diary of Dr Slobodan Lang gives a detailed account of the period, including a final sailing:

    The ship was intended for 600 passengers, but there was a crowd of 3,500 people on board. We approached the ship coming through the Gruž harbour which was littered with sunken, capsized or burnt down ships. Smoke was rising out of the burning installations for days. We were being watched by those on the top of the hill, not being able to do anything but think they would start to shoot at any moment.

    On board that ship, I was contemplating about the ships crowded with Jews on their way out of Germany in the late thirties, as well as the abandonment of Saigon. We were at the very bottom of the ship’s garage. It was simply not possible for the cars and trucks to embark because the ship was crammed with men, children, women, elderly and sick people. The sick were lying on the metal floor, with their I.V. drips hanging up in the air. Tears and silence were hand in hand. Faces were totally changed with crying, haggard because of the silence. People were lying on the stairs in positions I had never seen before, fifteen persons per cabin. One could step between human bodies only too carefully. As we sailed out, huge waves were tossing the ship up and down, so many people vomitted, were nauseous, felt psychical discomfort. Doctors were sought on all sides, painful crying expressed a thousand year old Croatian suffering, agony of yet unborn children to 90 year old people.

  • The Europa I (ex-Slavija I) laid up in Brindisi, August 2009.

    The Europa I (ex-Slavija I) laid up in Brindisi, August 2009.

  • The Dieppe-Newhaven steamer Lisieux was one of the more beautiful post-war passenger ships. Her career with the SNCF was relatively brief however and she followed her former Dieppe partner the Arromanches into the fleet of Nomikos Lines in 1966 as the Apollon (the Arromanches became the Leto). Both ships can be seen in excerpts from the Greek film ‘La Parisienne’ of 1969; the Apollon is seen at Mykonos. (h/t
  • Following on from the British Pathé website mentioned in October, this month it is time to investigate a French equivalent, Having just mentioned the Arromanches, it does not seem inappropriate to begin with coverage of her launching in March 1946.

    Other videos of note are:

    The ruins of Boulogne, Calais and Marseille, January 1945

    The maiden voyage of the Côte d’Azur, 1951

    Departure of the Ville de Tunis from Algiers, 1956

    Coverage of the introduction of SNCM’s Napoléon in 1978

    Coverage of the building of the Scandinavia in 1982

    The evacuation of PLO troops from Tripoli using the Vergina (ex-Dan, Bilu), December 1983

    Further footage of the Tripoli evacuation, this time with footage of the Ionian Glory (ex-Compiegne) and, briefly at the end, the Odysseas Elytis (ex-Svea Regina)

    A mini cruise on the Corse, 1984

    Coverage of the introduction of SNCM’s Danielle Casanova in 1989

    The return of the damaged Baroness M (ex-Lion) to port after her encounter with Syrian gunboats, February 1990

    A few historic adverts:
    Sealink Ferries SNCF, 1983
    Sealink Ferries SNCF, 1984
    Townsend Thoresen, 1984
    Sealink SNAT, 1992
    P&O European Ferries, 1993
    Sealink SNAT, 1993
    Corsica Ferries, 1997

    And, lastly, some epic coverage of the maiden voyage of the France.

  • The Skagen of 1958, built for KDS’ Kristiansand-Hirtshals route, was a fine early example of what now seem quite small passenger and vehicle ferries designed by Knud E Hansen. The ship passed later to Fred. Olsen before she was sold in the 1970s for use as a ‘mother ship’ for mini submersibles used in oil exploration. Latterly renamed the Pan Trader, she survives in Norway to this day, and these pictures on Flickr demonstrate that much of her original interior is still intact (compare with these ‘as built’ images on Fakta om Fartyg).
  • Please send any contributions for ‘Things Seen’ to

    Things Seen – October 2009

    The Gare Maritime at Calais which would be destroyed early in the Second World War. During the Siege of Calais (May 1940), the harbour area became a key defensive position for the embattled British forces and Brigadier Claude Nicholson established his headquarters in this building.

    The Gare Maritime at Calais which would be destroyed early in the Second World War. During the Siege of Calais (May 1940), the harbour area became a key defensive position for the embattled British forces and Brigadier Claude Nicholson established his headquarters in this building.

  • It is nearly 15 years since the final train left Calais Gare Maritime. The adjacent quayside was once one of the most important in Europe – a late departure of the Golden Arrow from here might be reported in the London evening newspapers whilst, as railway author George Behrend noted, the railway station used to be “crammed with International Expresses to meet every packet” – nightly departures to Istanbul, Berlin, Rome, Trieste, San Remo, Monte Carlo, Nice and Bucharest; the ‘Train Bleu’, the ‘Rome Express’, part of the ‘Orient Express’ and, in earlier years the ‘Peninsular Express’ to India via Brindisi, or the ‘Bombay Express’ via Marseille. The restaurant at the station before the Second World War was known as one of Europe’s finest eateries, the perfect place to while away the time between arriving off the steamer from Dover and the departure of your Wagon-Lits.

    Ron Fisher has some splendid images of trains at the station, as well as at Boulogne, in the 1960s to the ’80s. Meanwhile Mike Irlam’s site has an almost Behrend-style narrative of a typical journey on the Golden Arrow in its heyday.
    Over on youtube, there is a superb two part-British Transport Films production celebrating the post war Golden Arrow:

    Part One
    Part Two

    Great times, and the sight today of the post-war Gare Maritime building still standing, but used as little more than a rest point with lavatories and vending machines for truckers and motorists waiting to board the modern cross-channel ferries is really quite heartbreaking, even for those of us for whom hours at the station represented SNCF strikes, delayed trains and missed connections.

  • Down the coast slightly, at Dieppe, the station closed in 1994 when Stena Sealink transferred ferry traffic to the new port on the other side of the harbour. Readers of Continental Modeller should look out for an upcoming piece by David Thomas regarding the railway station, whilst the websites of Roland Arzul and Paul Smith have plenty of information and images.
  • Dieppe's 1954-built Gare Maritime.

    Dieppe's 1954-built Gare Maritime.

  • The recent grounding of the Marko Polo brought to mind the not dissimilar case of the Swan Hunter-built Proleterka near Murter in 1969. The Proleterka was scrapped after this experience – let’s hope the story of the former Peter Wessel has a happier ending. The Simplon website has some images of the 1969 accident.
  • The British Pathé website is a real treasure trove with an archive covering the best part of a century. Included in the archive are a number of memorable shipping-related films including:

    “Something new in ferryboats”, with a “queer method of mounting the propellers” (the new Lymington, 1938) The pay off line of “so chalk another one up to Britain for one more development in transport” was more than dubious given the Voith Schneider technology being employed was most definitely German.

    The launch of the Koningin Wilhelmina (1960)

    Dover-Boulogne by car ferry (on the Maid of Kent, 1960)

    By Car to Boulogne (with the newly-converted Normannia, 1964)

    The launch of the Princesse Astrid (1968)

  • A couple of aged former British domestic ferries serving Italy have been scrapped in recent years, and Navi e Armatori has faithfully recorded their final moments.

    Firstly, the Heidi, formerly the Caledonia of Cal Mac and before that the first car ferry that Sten Allan Olsson ordered for Stena Line, the Stena Baltica. Operating for Traghetti Pozzuoli until 2004 she ultimately sank at her lay up berth in Naples. Pumped dry, she was towed to Aliaga in Turkey for breaking in 2006. Fakta om Fartyg has some images of her in her sunken state, whilst Navi e Armatori’s pictures were taken by Selim San at the beach in Turkey:

    Picture 1
    Picture 2

    The Carisbrooke Castle of 1959 was scrapped in 2007 having spent the last 33 years in a 48 year career in Italian coastal waters, latterly as the Giglio Espresso II running from La Maddalena to Palau on Sardinia. This image shows her on the beach in Aliaga, with fellow former British veteran the Neptunia (ex-Darnia) alongside.

  • The Canguro Cabo San Sebastian.

    The Canguro Cabo San Sebastian.

  • Another ship which has ended on the beach is the former Donatella D’Abundo, the first of the six-strong ‘Canguro’ class and originally built for Ybarra as the Canguro Cabo San Sebastian before later passing to Trasmed and then Medmar. An image of her can be seen here.

    I have often wondered about this series of ships, built at Union Navale de Levante in Valencia between 1972 and 1984, none of which seem to have had really successful post-Spanish careers. Of the sextuplets, two have now been scrapped, one is in Southeast Asia, and the other three in limbo. The one vessel actually believed to be in service is the Oriental Princess (ex-Canguro Cabo San Jorge and Ciudad de Palma) but she seems to be in rather poor condition in Vietnamese waters (pictures here and here). The Ciudad de Sevilla has reportedly sailed to Port Said under the name Sevilla whilst the Mary the Queen (ex-Ciudad de Valencia and the final of the series) had apparently been sold to Filipino interests to replace the former Steam Packet ship of the same name, but remains in Tarragona with the sale possibly having fallen through.

  • The Donatella D'Abundo at Naples in September 2004.

    The Donatella D'Abundo at Naples in September 2004.

  • Spanish car ferries of a slightly earlier generation were the four-strong ‘Albatros’ class, (including the Juan March and the Santa Cruz de Tenerife) as well as the slightly smaller Antonio Larazo and Vincente Puchol. Some interior images of these and other Trasmed. ships of the era can be found on
  • The Dana Corona (ex-Trekroner) at Malaga. Also alongside is Trasmed's Antonio Larazo or Vincente Puchol.

    The Dana Corona (ex-Trekroner) at Malaga. Also alongside is Trasmed's Antonio Larazo or Vincente Puchol.

  • None of the six beautiful DFDS car ferries delivered between 1964 and 1970 have survived, but the first and the last, (the England and the Trekroner) dodged the scrappers by sinking, the former actually being en-route for scrapping at the time. The Trekroner however was in service, sailing to Suez as the Al Qamar Al Saudi Al Misri in 1994 when she was overtaken by a boiler room explosion and subsequent fire. 21 people lost their lives. The wreck today has been found and documented by scuba divers.
  • Fancy water-skiing behind the Stena Saga? It is possible, it seems…
  • On youtube, there is a “tribute to the Agios Georgios” (ex-Hengist).
  • For a brief period in 1981/82, Thoresen’s Viking Victory (ex-Viking I) and her sister Viking III were laid up together in Gothenburg awaiting sale. Lennart Ramsvik captured them there, together with several other ferries of the period. This was a time when it was possible to see three Stena ships together in the company’s home port, none of which had been purpose built.
  • Delivered as the Stena Trailer, the ship which ended her days as the Lampung was better known in her early years as Sealink’s Dalriada on the Stranraer-Larne crossing. Her end came in 2006 when an engine room fire spread through the ship as shown in this unhappy footage.
  • Lastly, readers of the main website to which this blog is attached may have noticed that parts of it have “gone missing” in the last couple of days. There shouldn’t be too many pages affected and all will be resolved when I get chance to re-upload them to the main domain within a couple of weeks.

    All this however relates to the demise of Geocities, “the Facebook of yesterday“. Geocities gave free access to web publishing for millions in its time, and many of the websites so created were crude, forgettable and aesthetically criminal. But it was also a step on the ladder, and, despite everything, from the hours trying futilely to load the Page Builder software to the horrors of page after page being lost when that same program decided not to save properly, I’ll miss it.

  • Things Seen – September 2009

    The Istra (ex-Mette Mols) at Split, August 2009.

    The Istra (ex-Mette Mols) at Split.

  • Firstly, apologies to regular readers for the month or so of no updates – hopefully the break will have been worth it, with plenty of new material gathered during a 3 week trip to Southern Europe where plenty of ferries were seen, sailed on, photographed, and, in the case of at least three, farewells made as they are understood to be in the final weeks of service.
  • The Istra (ex-Mette Mols, 1966) has since been put up for public sale by Jadrolinija, although the expectation is that she will follow former fleetmate the Ivan Zajc to Turkish owners. As Slobodna Dalmacija ruefully notes, there will be some criticism of the sale, as the ship “had its admirers, especially among Lastovo and Korčula [residents], who praised its comfort” compared to the more modern vessels. The ship has also been widely used to cover longer lines, such as for example the during the recent mechanical failure of the Petar Hektorović. She was however proving too small at times, and when I sailed on her in late August she was forced to leave cars behind in Stari Grad. Doubtless this is frustrating when the next sailing back to Split isn’t for another four hours!

    Also for sale are the Vanga (ex-Basto III) and the little Borik, latterly second ship to the Kijevo at Biograd. There remain several other Jadrolinija ships laid up in various ports around the country and Hans de Graaf continues to do a public service with his photographs of several of the many and varied ships of the White Fleet, a few more having been uploaded in recent weeks here.

    Meanwhile Fleet File Rotterdam has a fairly thorough section on Jadrolinija, correct up to a couple of years ago.

  • The Borik (1978) in Biograd.

    The Borik (1978) in Biograd.

  • Fergün Shipping of Turkey operate a fleet of mostly-forgotten ex-North European ships on routes between Northern Cyprus and the Turkish mainland. Quite what current operations are like is open to question, the company’s website being more than a little out of date: at least two of the ships featured have been sold, one most definitely for scrapping having been seen on the beach in Aliaga in 2007.

    The fleet as listed however was a fascinating collection and pictures of and on board all are shown on the site. With links to the images, the four fast ferries were:
    Fergün Express (ex-Storesund of Norwegian Haugesund A/S, 1974)
    Fergün Express III (built as the Venture 84 in 1982, from 1983 to 1998 she was Emeraude’s Trident/Trident III)
    Emeraude Express (built for Emeraude in 1986 she survives without change of name).
    Prince of Girne (ex-Gimle Bay, 1981, primarily used in Yugoslavia/Croatia as the Poreč I until sale to Fergün in 1994.)

    The Girne

    The Girne

    The conventional ferries are more interesting still:
    Canbulat Pasha. Purpose built, 1997.
    Girne. The ex-Saltholm (1967) of Svenska Rederi Ab Öresund’s Limhamn – Dragör route until 1979, then the Gozo Channel company’s Mgarr until sale to Fergün in 1996. Scrapped 2007.
    Fatih. An astonishing survivor, originally being the Mersey pilot vessel Arnet Robinson (1958), passing to Fergün in 1988 where she was converted to a small car ferry. Compare this picture of her in her original guise with this image after conversion. Another picture of her as Fatih reveals the tall funnel remains unobstructed.
    Güniz. Built as the Kraakerø in Norway in 1964 she had an itinerant early career before settling down as Rederi AB Gotland’s Polhelm between 1964 and 1972. Later one of Tourship’s first vessels, the Corsica Ferry until sale in 1976 to Jadrolinija as the Lastovo I. She remained, with a couple of name changes, with Jadrolinija until 1996 and has sailed in Turkish waters ever since, latterly for Fergün although she was sold in early 2009 to operate between Turkey and Russia.
  • Some interesting images of Turkish/Russian ferries can be seen on the four pages of this link to a Russian shipping forum including the aforementioned Güniz and Ivan Zajc (now the Besyildiz), but also the Lider Avrasya (once Sealink’s Ulidia), Lider Clipper (ex-Agios Spiridon), still bearing her HML name the Apollonia II (ex-Travemünde, 1964), the Trabzon (ex-Panagia Tinou, sold by NEL Lines earlier this year) and the Erke (formerly Agapitos Express/Saronikos Ferries’ Express Danae), amongst others.
  • The Zeus Palace has been an interesting stopgap on Minoan Lines’ Patras-Igoumenitsa-Venice route this Summer, following the sale of the Pasiphae Palace. The return of the former Prometheus has been rather underwhelming for many passengers – although she looks nice enough in these pictures by Dominik Wagner, in reality she has been just a little too small for the route.
    Dominik also has recent images on board Agoudimos’ Ionian Sky. She is essentially unchanged since her Strintzis rebuild as the Ionian Victory in 1998.
    The Ionian Sky at Corfu

    The Ionian Sky at Corfu

  • We have lingered over the demise of the Kapetan Alexandros several times on this blog, and the guys over at Nautilia clearly felt the same way about the end of this veteran, getting on board the ship in Keratsini just before she sailed for scrap to take some final photographs, including a series in her quite antiquated bridge.
  • Apropos of nothing, I was taken with this dramatic image of the Princess Kathleen of Canadian Pacific sinking in 1952. The ship, built in Glasgow in 1924, originally made Vancouver-Victoria-Seattle coastal sailings but was latterly employed on cruises up to Alaska, meeting her fate after running aground near Juneau. Many more pictures of this dramatic event, in which no lives were lost, can be found at Alaska’s Digital Archive.
  • The Queen Elizabeth 2 may not technically have been a ferry, but she was certainly, as built, a beautiful example of the very best of 1960s British design. This was sadly diluted in later years to a slightly naff kind kitsch look. However, as Bruce Peter notes in the authoritative Britain’s Greatest Liner the ship had direct design influences over many cruise ships and ferries in the subsequent decade or more. Bruce also references the famous 1969 article in Shipping World and Shipbuilder which compared and contrasted the QE2 with the equally new and forward-looking Vortigern, produced by Swan Hunters in the same year.

    For anyone wondering just what influence it was the epoch-making Vortigern had on the QE2, some superb images of the latter ship, as built, can be found here.

  • The Caesarea and Duke of Argyll were two of the last surviving ex-Sealink steam ships, and both had final days in Hong Kong, the ‘Argyll’ burning out there under the name Zenith in 1995. There are some fascinating images on flickr of both ships in those days, including the burnt and broken Zenith.
  • Mention was made of the Älvsborg Bridge last month and, with perfect timing, over on LandgÃ¥ngen there materialised a thread with pictures of various ferries sailing beneath, including the Prinsessan Birgitta in her one season operating for Stena in 1982 before starting her career as the St Nicholas for Sealink.
  • Although special Lego kits have been sold by many ferry companies for years, how many of us regretted their incompatibility due to inconsistency of scale with the minifigs of Legoland? Just me huh? Oh well, this model of the 1974 Prinsessan Birgitta would certainly have been an improvement:
    Picture 1
    Picture 2

    (link from Landgången)

  • Tallink certainly aren’t my, or many other people’s, favourite ferry company at times, some superb ships such as the Star notwithstanding. The crassness of the company’s management is a primary reason for distaste, the famous incident on the Silja Symphony being the confirmation of previous suspicions about the company.

    The quote from one of the Tallink directors, “our level of drunkenness was normal for a cruise of this kind” was memorable, but the signature indiscretion of that fateful cruise was the attempt to “grill” some fish from the SmörgÃ¥sbord in the toasters, conventionally used for bread. On my most recent trip on the ‘Symphony’ I made sure to have my picture taken next to one of the toasters; however, I wish I had known that there were even better permanent reminders of the event. Now: how does one get onto Tallink’s Christmas card list?

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