Posts tagged: dover

Brochure Browsing – P&O Normandy Ferries, 1977

In 1976 Normandy Ferries expanded from their original operations in the western Channel based at Southampton and opened a new service between Dover and Boulogne – the latter approximately 90km from Normandy itself. The operator, established in 1967, had been a joint venture between the British P&O and French SAGA, SAGA having been a storied cross-channel operator in their own right in the inter-war period.

The Boulogne service used the Lion, late of P&O’s Ardrossan-Larne service (formerly Burns & Laird) and was something of a gamble. P&O’s presence at Dover was not welcomed by the establishment operators, and memoranda from meetings of the cartel that fixed rates and operations around this time express the view that Normandy Ferries were a “black leg” (sic) who would not be invited to “join the club” (P&O subsequently attended various meetings but were always resented by Sealink and Townsend Thoresen for adding further capacity to a market which already had too much and for driving down fares so that everyone struggled to make money).

This brochure shows the Normandy Ferries operation just after the commencement of the Boulogne service and before the second vessel, the nf Tiger, was brought into operation in 1978.

Whilst the Dragon and Leopard were superior, elegant overnight car ferries with comfortable interiors and harmonious lines, the Lion was a robust little ship with only a few concessions to real luxury.

Whilst the Dragon and Leopard were superior, elegant overnight car ferries with comfortable interiors and harmonious lines, the Lion was a robust little ship with only a few concessions to real luxury.

"We don't put our car ferries on any old route." In reality Normandy Ferries had spotted a gap in the market as BR/Sealink had focussed on the shorter Dover-Calais operation rather than Dover-Boulogne which, just a decade earlier, had been the centre of their short-sea car ferry services.

“We don’t put our car ferries on any old route.” In reality Normandy Ferries had spotted a gap in the market as BR/Sealink had focussed on the shorter Dover-Calais operation rather than Dover-Boulogne which, just a decade earlier, had been the centre of their short-sea car ferry services.

"Lion obligingly provides a comfortable sun deck!" Complete with deckchairs, perhaps the last to be seen on a short-sea ferry.

“Lion obligingly provides a comfortable sun deck!” Complete with deckchairs, perhaps the last to be seen on a short-sea ferry.

Our passengers have espied something interesting from the Lion's upper forward lounge.

Our passengers have espied something interesting from the Lion’s upper forward lounge.

"Lion gives you individual shops plus a shipboard supermarket - to give you one of the best shopping centres afloat". These facilities had certainly been beefed up compared to her Irish Sea days when a dual information desk/shop was supplemented in the summer by the conversion of a cabin into an additional retail outlet.

“Lion gives you individual shops plus a shipboard supermarket – to give you one of the best shopping centres afloat”. These facilities had certainly been beefed up compared to her Irish Sea days when a dual information desk/shop was supplemented in the summer by the conversion of a cabin into an additional retail outlet.

Enjoying a full English in the Lion's cafeteria.

Enjoying a full English in the Lion’s cafeteria.

Things look slightly more formal in this view of the restaurant on either Leopard or Dragon.

Things look slightly more formal in this view of the restaurant on either Leopard or Dragon.

The neatly-detailed main lobby on the Southampton pair, with its central lift shaft, oval mezzanine and sweeping open-tread staircase remains one of the most attractive spaces on any cross-channel ferry.

The neatly-detailed main lobby on the Southampton pair, with its central lift shaft, oval mezzanine and sweeping open-tread staircase remains one of the most attractive spaces on any cross-channel ferry.

The Dover-Boulogne service expanded to three ships in 1980 and, after SAGA’s exit, operated under the P&O Ferries name. Both routes were acquired by Townsend Thoresen in late 1984 and the five ships fairly quickly withdrawn from Channel service.

Blast from the past: SNCF’s Compiègne

Launching day: 7 March 1958.

The day of the launch: 7 March 1958.


Most of the ships coming under the category on this blog of ‘the pioneer car ferries’ date back to the 1960s. Although this is 30+ years after the appearance of the first proper international car ferries, in the form of ships like the Kronprinsessan Ingrid (1936) or the first Peter Wessel (1937), it is perhaps fair to say that it was in this decade that the car ferry truly flowered. It became not only visually recognisable to its modern form, albeit much smaller, but its usage also broadened massively; the sheer volume of car ferries constructed around the world in this decade are testament to changing times – to the car ownership boom and to the ability to take and desire to have international motoring holidays.

From a British perspective, we have seen this in previous entries relating to the Norwind/Norwave, Viking I & II, Munster and Free Enterprise. The latter ship was an interesting example of an independent operator getting the formula right and it has often been noted that the ‘railway’ ships against which she competed were old fashioned. This is true only to a degree – the British railway ships, until the later years of the decade, certainly fit this description. The ships of SNCF, the French railways, were slightly different. Certainly, a vessel like the beautiful Côte d’Azur of 1951 was very much a classic passenger steamer, but the fleet also included the distinctively modern, Danish-built, train ferry Saint-Germain and, dating back to three years before the Free Enterprise, the car ferry Compiègne.

The Compiègne was a radically different ship to anything else sailing around the British Isles upon her introduction. It is almost difficult to believe she entered service the year before British Railway’s much more traditional-looking Maid of Kent of 1959, although actually the ships bear some comparison – broadly similar in dimensions, capacities, service speed and intended operations they were remarkably different solutions to a similar design brief. The Maid of Kent was in many ways an enlarged, beautified version of the Lord Warden of 1952, whilst the Compiègne instead owed more in appearance to the Saint Germain of the same year. The French ship looked – and in many respects was – a much more advanced vessel than the Maid of Kent, whose steam turbine propulsion in particular dated her and whose more classic lines were perhaps a concession to criticism of the slightly ungainly aspects of the Lord Warden.

The Rouen-built Compiègne introduced a number of firsts to Cross Channel traffic, many of them technical advances which would be replicated in ships throughout the following decade. Controllable pitch propellers circumvented the traditional means of ship control via the engine room telegraph and meant the vessel could be manoeuvred directly from the bridge whilst she also had a pair of bow thrusters which bringing the ship alongside and moving off the berth. The vessel was also all welded in construction, rather than riveted.

One area where the ship was not significantly different to the Maid of Kent was in the arrangement of the vehicle deck, being a stern-only loader with a central casing, fixed mezzanines forward and space in the after part of the garage for the carriage of a limited number of high sided vehicles.

The new Compiègne alongside at Calais Gare Maritime with the Invicta astern.

The new Compiègne alongside at Calais Gare Maritime with the Invicta astern.

When the ship entered service in June 1958, she was deployed on the Calais-Dover route. In those days, British Railways operated their car ferries on the Dover-Boulogne crossing and the French ship was therefore placed into direct competition on the Calais run with Townsend Car Ferries whose converted frigate Halladale was nearing the end of her operational life and would be replaced with the Free Enterprise in 1962.

After 1970, the Compiègne was seen more frequently at Boulogne and she remained in service on the Channel for well over twenty years overall. Sold to Strintzis in 1981, she operated on a number of Adriatic and then Aegean services before becoming a pilgrim ship in the Red Sea. Abandoned for many years in Alexandria, she amazingly survives to this day in poor condition as the Al Ameerah.

Inaugural brochure

Inaugural brochure

The initial timetable was not particularly intensive, being one round trip a day, rising to two at weekends and on Fridays in the Summer. Most of the year however she would sit in Calais for 19 hours each day.

The initial timetable was not particularly intensive, being one round trip a day, rising to two at weekends and on Fridays in the Summer. Most of the year however she would sit in Calais for 19 hours each day.

A British Railways brochure featuring the Compiègne's modern passenger saloons which seem to present a severe contrast to the illustrated motor vehicles . The ship's vehicle deck can also be seen with its fixed ramps and space for cars only on two levels at the forward end.

A British Railways brochure featuring the Compiègne's modern passenger saloons which seem to present a severe contrast to the illustrated motor vehicles . The ship's vehicle deck can also be seen with its fixed ramps and space for cars only on two levels at the forward end.


More interior views, including the restaurant, aft, are shown alongside this cutaway view. The vehicle deck and unloading scenes are from the British ships Maid of Kent and Lord Warden respectively.

More interior views, including the restaurant, aft, are shown alongside this cutaway view. The vehicle deck and unloading scenes are from the British ships Maid of Kent and Lord Warden respectively.


Building the ‘D’ Class – Part Four

Maersk Dunkerque

Maersk Dunkerque


In this final part of the review of the construction of Norfolkline’s ‘D’ Class, we move upstairs inside the Maersk Dunkerque in mid-2005 as the interiors of the ship were assembled at the Samsung shipyard at Geoje in South Korea, prior to handover to her owners that September. This post covers the upper of the two main passenger decks – Deck 7 – and some of the crew areas.

To give a feel for how the ship looked as completed, the under construction images are paired with equivalent pictures from on board the ship and her two sisters in service on the English Channel.

Click here for an on board guide to the ships showing the arrangement of facilities.

Previous posts in this series can be found here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Right forward, in the prime position on Deck 7, are the 'Road Kings' areas, exclusively for the use of freight drivers. 'Road Kings' consists of a cafeteria to port, a separate lounge forward to starboard, with a 'Relaxation Lounge' just astern of the latter. This view on the Maersk Dunkerque, from March 2005, shows what will become the mezzanine area overlooking the main self service restaurant on the deck below.

Right forward, in the prime position on Deck 7, are the 'Road Kings' areas, exclusively for the use of freight drivers. 'Road Kings' consists of a cafeteria to port, a separate lounge forward to starboard, with a 'Relaxation Lounge' just astern of the latter. This view on the Maersk Dunkerque, from March 2005, shows what will become the mezzanine area overlooking the main self service restaurant on the deck below.


The same area on the completed Maersk Dover.

The same area on the completed Maersk Dover.


Part of the 'Road Kings' restaurant seating area, March 2005.

Part of the 'Road Kings' restaurant seating area, March 2005.


A Norfolkline image of the same area on the Maersk Dunkerque just before she entered service.

A Norfolkline image of the same area on the Maersk Dunkerque just before she entered service.


Looking aft at the 'Road Kings' restaurant on the port side, July 2005.

Looking aft at the 'Road Kings' restaurant on the port side, July 2005.


(Maersk Delft)

(Maersk Delft)


The ceiling of the restaurant is dominated by this deckhead-mounted Maersk star.

The ceiling of the restaurant is dominated by this deckhead-mounted Maersk star.


The completed star illuminated on board the Maersk Delft.

The completed star illuminated on board the Maersk Delft.


Looking across the mezzanine down to Deck 6 below (July 2005).

Looking across the mezzanine down to Deck 6 below (July 2005).


(Maersk Delft)

(Maersk Delft)


Spreading across the rest of the forward part of the ship is the adjacent freight drivers' lounge, seen here under construction in March 2005.

Spreading across the rest of the forward part of the ship is the adjacent freight drivers' lounge, seen here under construction in March 2005.


Significant progress has been made by the time this image was taken four months later.

Significant progress has been made by the time this image was taken four months later.


The completed lounge on the Maersk Delft.

The completed lounge on the Maersk Delft.


Looking across from starboard, March 2005.

Looking across from starboard, March 2005.


The space in late June 2005.

The space in late June 2005.


(Maersk Delft, April 2006)

(Maersk Delft, April 2006)


Just aft on the starboard side, with its distinctive windows (later complete with sliding panels), is the truckers' Relax Lounge. Ultimately fitted with massage chairs the space is seen here in January 2005.

Just aft on the starboard side, with its distinctive windows (later complete with sliding panels), is the truckers' Relax Lounge. Ultimately fitted with massage chairs the space is seen here in January 2005.


The completed space on the Maersk Dover, December 2007.

The completed space on the Maersk Dover, December 2007.


The forward section, March 2005.

The forward section, March 2005.


(Maersk Dover)

(Maersk Dover)


The aft section, June 2005.

The aft section, June 2005.


(Maersk Dover)

(Maersk Dover)


Moving aft slightly, outside the entrance to the 'Road Kings' section, is the upper part of the main lobby and forward staircase. As completed, this is the most aggressively modernist space on board but looks fairly nondescript in this March 2005 shot on board the Maersk Dunkerque.

Moving aft slightly, outside the entrance to the 'Road Kings' section, is the upper part of the main lobby and forward staircase. As completed, this is the most aggressively modernist space on board but looks fairly nondescript in this March 2005 shot on board the Maersk Dunkerque.


The scene in July 2005.

The scene in July 2005.


The same area on board the Maersk Dover, October 2009.

The same area on board the Maersk Dover, October 2009.


The passenger accommodation continues aft to starboard where, fronting the upper level of the twin-deck windows is La Véranda, a bistro/café/bar; in more recent times the forward section of this space has been appropriated as a more formal table-service restaurant. This is the scene in July 2005.

The passenger accommodation continues aft to starboard where, fronting the upper level of the twin-deck windows is La Véranda, a bistro/café/bar; in more recent times the forward section of this space has been appropriated as a more formal table-service restaurant. This is the scene in July 2005.


The same area on the Maersk Delft in 2006. In the background can be seen two of the artworks created for the ship by the Danish artist Anne Vilsbøll. Each ship was entrusted to different artists, the Maersk Dunkerque receiving work from Jan van Lokhorst and the Maersk Dover Per Arnoldi, some 40 years after he had been similarly commissioned by DFDS to provide art on their Copenhagen-Oslo mini car liners Kong Olav V and Prinsesse Margrethe. In between times, Arnoldi has become internationally renowned and is most well known in the UK for his work with Lord Rogers on the National Police Memorial in London.

The same area on the Maersk Delft in 2006. In the background can be seen two of the artworks created for the ship by the Danish artist Anne Vilsbøll. Each ship was entrusted to different artists, the Maersk Dunkerque receiving work from Jan van Lokhorst and the Maersk Dover Per Arnoldi, some 40 years after he had been similarly commissioned by DFDS to provide art on their Copenhagen-Oslo mini car liners Kong Olav V and Prinsesse Margrethe. In between times, Arnoldi has become internationally renowned and is most well known in the UK for his work with Lord Rogers on the National Police Memorial in London.


Looking aft with what will become La Véranda's servery area to the right.

Looking aft with what will become La Véranda's servery area to the right.


(Maersk Delft)

(Maersk Delft)


The same area looking forward, June 2005.

The same area looking forward, June 2005.


(Maersk Delft)

(Maersk Delft)


Aft on the port side is the First Class area - two lounges (a VIP and a Business Lounge) accessible by swipe card upon paying a supplement. The entrance to this area is seen in July 2005.

Aft on the port side is the First Class area - two lounges (a VIP and a Business Lounge) accessible by swipe card upon paying a supplement. The entrance to this area is seen in July 2005.


(Maersk Delft)

(Maersk Delft)


The aftermost of the two rooms, the VIP lounge, is seen here under construction in March 2005.

The aftermost of the two rooms, the VIP lounge, is seen here under construction in March 2005.


The completed space on the Maersk Delft, complete with excruciatingly expensive Arne Jacobson 'Egg' chairs.

The completed space on the Maersk Delft, complete with excruciatingly expensive Arne Jacobson 'Egg' chairs.


The adjacent Business Lounge, seen in March 2005.

The adjacent Business Lounge, seen in March 2005.


The completed space on the Maersk Delft.

The completed space on the Maersk Delft.


Another angle, taken in June 2005.

Another angle, taken in June 2005.


(Maersk Delft)

(Maersk Delft)


Aft on Deck 7 is further outside deck, albeit accessed from Deck 6 below.

Aft on Deck 7 is further outside deck, albeit accessed from Deck 6 below.


(Maersk Dover)

(Maersk Dover)


Moving behind the scenes, this enclosed space will become the Officers' Mess, forward on Deck 8.

Moving behind the scenes, this enclosed space will become the Officers' Mess, forward on Deck 8.


The buffet area in the crew mess, just aft.

The buffet area in the crew mess, just aft.


The bridge, March 2005.

The bridge, March 2005.


Another view.

Another view.



Although we have focussed on the passenger spaces in the final two posts of this series, the real success of the ‘D’ class is in their continuing inroads into the core freight market. Whereas pretenders such as LD Lines have, after much effort, achieved less than a 5% share of the England-France ferry freight market (excluding the Tunnel), Norfolkline are now second only to P&O, with approximately 20-25%. Using only three ships the freight load factors achieved are the envy of everyone else, so the next big problem facing the class just might be a lack of capacity come the economic recovery.

Having previously been owned by Maersk, and now DFDS, it seems counter-intuitive to describe Norfolkline as an insurgent operator. However, competing against long-established rivals and having commenced operations less than a decade ago, it is certainly not an unfair categorisation. Where Norfolkline as a whole, under its new owners, goes next is difficult to predict, but the ‘D’ class, at least, are likely to be around for several years yet.

With grateful thanks to Stephen Mackenzie at Norfolkline for the under construction images.

Building the ‘D’ Class – Part Two


In the first part of our look at the construction of the Maersk ‘D’ class, we reviewed the three vessels at various stages as they grew from the bottom up in the Samsung shipyard at Geoje in South Korea. This second series of images shows the Maersk Dunkerque over the period March to September 2005, through sea trials and up to the ship being handed over on 27 September.
March 2005, and the 'Dunkerque' has been painted for the first time.

March 2005, and the 'Dunkerque' has been painted for the first time.

The stern door. Above, the 'lip' for the linkspan to rest upon when in port at Dover is visible.

The stern door. Above, the 'lip' for the linkspan to rest upon when in port at Dover is visible.

At the stern of the ship, at the upper vehicle deck level. On the far (starboard) side, the internal ramp leading to the third vehicle level, for cars only, can be seen. In this area the ships have an arrangement similar to Irish Ferries' Ulysees of 2001.

At the stern of the ship, at the upper vehicle deck level. On the far (starboard) side, the internal ramp leading to the third vehicle level, for cars only, can be seen. In this area the ships have an arrangement similar to Irish Ferries' Ulysees of 2001.

Looking down from above the bridge to the forecastle.

Looking down from above the bridge to the forecastle.

Looking back from the top of the bridge to the funnel.

Looking back from the top of the bridge to the funnel.


Just aft of the bridge on the starboard side, these skylights allow natural light to flow down onto the buffet area of the crew mess below.

Just aft of the bridge on the starboard side, these skylights allow natural light to flow down onto the buffet area of the crew mess below.


The classic Maersk funnel before the addition of the star. The choice of funnel design has been criticised for being at odds with the otherwise overt modernity of the ships.

The classic Maersk funnel before the addition of the star. The choice of funnel design has been criticised for being at odds with the otherwise overt modernity of the ships.

Looking down at the stern with another view of the ramp to the upper car deck.

Looking down at the stern with another view of the ramp to the upper car deck.

A unique view, looking forward from the top of the funnel.

A unique view, looking forward from the top of the funnel.

Amongst the 'forest' of exhausts atop the funnel. These are still pristine but will later be black in appearance.

Amongst the 'forest' of exhausts atop the funnel. These are still pristine but will later be black in appearance.

Looking aft from the funnel.

Looking aft from the funnel.

Close up of the large 'cow catcher' for use with the Dunkerque linkspan.

Close up of the large 'cow catcher' for use with the Dunkerque linkspan.

The Maersk Dunkerque and Maersk Delft, May 2005.

The Maersk Dunkerque and Maersk Delft, May 2005.

The funnel, with the Maersk star now in place.

The funnel, with the Maersk star now in place.

The 'Dunkerque' heading out for sea trials, 1 June 2005.

The 'Dunkerque' heading out for sea trials, 1 June 2005.

27 September 2005: the Maersk Dunkerque is handed over to Norfolkline.

27 September 2005: the Maersk Dunkerque is handed over to Norfolkline.

With grateful thanks to Stephen Mackenzie at Norfolkline.
The next part of this series will look inside the embryo interiors as the Maersk Dunkerque approached completion.

Building the ‘D’ Class – Part One


There have been some significant new ships for Cross-Channel operators in the past decade, most notably the Seafrance Rodin and Berlioz on the short sea and the Mont St Michel and Pont-Aven in the Western Channel. Taking their place alongside these vessels, for established operators, came the three ships of the Maersk ‘D’ class. Entering service in 2005/2006, the Maersks Dunkerque, Delft and Dover are remarkable partly because they were delivered to what was still in many people’s minds an ‘upstart’ operator and partly because they were such a momentous upgrade from the existing ships.

Built by Samsung at Geoje in Korea with interiors by Steen Friis Hansen, the ships have generated significant extra traffic for Norfolkline, building on the success of the earlier Racehorse class. Certainly Norfolkline came into the market at the right time – the Dover-Dunkerque operation was inaugurated with just one ship in March 2000 and with low expectations – externally at least. A second ship was added in October of that year and the deployment of ‘D’ class has enabled the expansion to continue apace. The fast growth of freight traffic through Dover in the late 1990s and past the turn of the century enabled a start-up with the right backing to gain a share of the market which, if small enough initially perhaps not to overly concern the established competition at a time of plenty, soon became a major rival. Aided by the new ships, Norfolkline’s passenger traffic has quadrupled since 2003, and freight has increased by over 75% from a base that was already fairly strong. Indeed, the growth of the market and of ship size generally in recent years is demonstrated by Norfolkline, with a tenth of the sailings, in 2008 carrying over 75% of the total freight traffic that P&O and Sealink between them carried to Calais in 1995.

The Samsung yard offered a very competitive quote to Maersk as part of their continuing efforts to gain entry into the ferry market following a tentative and somewhat uncertain start with Minoan Line’s three ‘Prometheus’ class fast ro-paxes, which never entirely proved satisfactory for their owners and were all fairly speedily disposed of. The Norfolkline ships were more carefully thought out at a concept level however (Minoan almost seemed to feel obliged to order just to keep up with their rivals) and have proven rather more successful, although question marks remain over the shipyard’s ferry division which has not delivered a further ship since the Maersk Dover. A pair of large ro-ro vessels for Stena are on order however and the results of dealing with this particularly demanding buyer remain to be seen; as with Maersk however Stena has previous experience having worked with Samsung on non-ferry projects.

It is now nearly four years since the introduction of the Maersk Dunkerque and in the first of a series of fascinating pictures from behind the scenes at the shipyard in South Korea, reproduced here with grateful thanks to Stephen Mackenzie at Norfolkline, show the three ships under construction, from pre-fabricated blocks to recognisable ferries.

Cutting steel for yard number 1523 - the Maersk Dunkerque.

Cutting steel for yard number 1523 - the Maersk Dunkerque.


Timetable for completion of the Maersk Dunkerque.

Timetable for completion of the Maersk Dunkerque.

An overall view of the yard.

An overall view of the yard.

'Bits' of the Maersk Dunkerque being assembled, starting with bow thrust units

'Bits' of the Maersk Dunkerque being assembled, starting with bow thrust units

Upturned stern section.

Upturned stern section.

The same section on the move...

The same section on the move...

Assembling the 'bits'.

Assembling the 'bits'.

The 'Dunkerque's forward superstructure.

The 'Dunkerque's forward superstructure.

Inside the partially-assembled bridge.

Inside the partially-assembled bridge.

A close up of the bridge section.

A close up of the bridge section.

With the 'Dunkerque' half complete, work on the 'Delft' gets underway (right).

With the 'Dunkerque' half complete, work on the 'Delft' gets underway (right).

The bow thrust units now safely in place.

The bow thrust units now safely in place.

Propellor shaft installation in progress.

Propellor shaft installation in progress.

The Maersk Dunkerque.

The Maersk Dunkerque.

The stern of the Maersk Dunkerque, before the addition of the aft superstructure.

The stern of the Maersk Dunkerque, before the addition of the aft superstructure.

The towering forward superstructure for one of the second pair, with its distinctive window shapes.

The towering forward superstructure for one of the second pair, with its distinctive window shapes.

The twin-level window structure on the starboard side will later enclose The Lounge cafe bar and La Veranda bistro.

The twin-level window structure on the starboard side will later enclose The Lounge cafe bar and La Veranda bistro.

Four engines await...

Four engines await...

Stern section complete with rudder.

Stern section complete with rudder.

A complete bow section, including 'cow catcher' for use at Dunkerque's new linkspan.

A complete bow section, including 'cow catcher' for use at Dunkerque's new linkspan.

Inside the bow.

Inside the bow.

More prefabricated pieces on the move.

More prefabricated pieces on the move.


Maersk Delft's starboard stabiliser slot.

Maersk Delft's starboard stabiliser slot.


At the stern of the Maersk Delft.

At the stern of the Maersk Delft.

The view forward, with the Maersk Dover being assembled in the background.

The view forward, with the Maersk Dover being assembled in the background.

The second in the series of photographs, coming shortly, will cover the completion and handover of the Maersk Dunkerque.
With grateful thanks to Stephen Mackenzie at Norfolkline.

Funnels: Seafrance Berlioz

Seafrance Berlioz. Click for larger image.

Seafrance Berlioz. Click for larger image.

Farewell Roi Baudouin, Georgios Express

The legendary Georgios Express, the former Belgian/RMT Roi Baudouin of 1965, set sail on Monday, 23 March, under tow to Aliaga in Turkey for scrap.

The ship had been laid up pretty much since 1995 when Ventouris Sea Lines went bankrupt. She was brought back into service for two glorious Indian Summers in 1999 and 2000 but was laid up again, latterly in Elefsis, in 2001. The last of her generation, the final survivor of all the beautiful pre-ro-ro Oostenders, she deserved a better fate than this but her condition and the economic climate conspired against all efforts at preservation, either in Greece or back in Belgium.

Here we recall the ship in her earlier days, as one of the fine fleet of Dover-Oostende passenger and early vehicle ferries.

Loading in Dover

Loading in Dover


Out on deck

Out on deck

De Luxe cabin

De Luxe cabin

Couchettes

Couchettes

Cafeteria

Cafeteria

Restaurant

Restaurant

Bar

Bar


Side lounge

Side lounge

In her final years of lay up, the ship was an increasingly decrepit sight and it was sadly clear that there would be only one final journey, no matter the personal feelings of the Ventouris family for the ship or the efforts of enthusiasts to preserve her.

Laid up, 20 July 2005

Laid up, 20 July 2005

22 July 2007

22 July 2007

Images of the Georgios Express being towed away from Elefsis in her funeral cortege can be seen here on Dimitris and Manos Photosite.

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