Posts tagged: elyros

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):

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    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 – 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…?

  • Please send any contributions for ‘Things Seen’ to admin@hhvferry.com.

    That Was The Year That Was – 2009

    The Sorolla at Ibiza, May 2009.

    The Sorolla at Ibiza, May 2009.


    For the devotee of classic ferries, particularly classic British ferries, it has to be said 2009 has been a sad time with the scrappers claiming amongst others the Georgios Express (Roi Baudouin) and Sara 3 (St Edmund). The former was perhaps the most beautiful car ferry ever to sail from the UK whilst the latter hid her delights inside, representing the apex of the interior designs devised by Ward & Austin for Sealink in the 1960s and 1970s. Her interlocking QE2-style lobby spaces in particular were an inspired design solution. Also lost was the Kapetan Alexandros A (ex-Doric Ferry), a 47-year old veteran with which I had become very familiar in the past few years and which was the last survivor of a class of, originally, freight ships of advanced design introduced by ASN.
    Farewell to the St Edmund.

    Farewell to the St Edmund.


    It has not all been sad however and in newly-introduced ships such as the Elyros, Martin I Soler and Cruise Roma/Barcelona, stylish new passenger ferries are carrying on the traditions of generations past. Whilst, inevitably, they struggle to achieve the sleek external looks of the Roi Baudouin, internally they achieve great things within the framework their basic design specification allows.

    On a personal level in 2009, 59 ships were sailed on, 26 nights were spent at sea, and one camera died (later resuscitated). I was told to stop taking pictures on board just once, a record low for recent years. That ship was Baleària’s Martin I Soler. Pointing out the company’s “Un Mar de Foto” competition, which stipulates that “Photographs should be taken on board Baleària ships” was the ideal response.

    Based purely on subjective feelings on those 59 ships, here are some bests and worsts of the year.

    Best new ferry
    Despite that one arsey crew member, the Martin I Soler, just about, was my favourite new ferry. All the 2008 or 2009 built ships which were new to me this year seemed to have some weaknesses. The Cruise Barcelona is perhaps a little too stark in places, the Baltic Princess rather over the top (although operating as primarily a minicruiser, this is perhaps considered appropriate). The interior and exterior of the ‘MIS’ are attractive within a modern framework and the ship has become a big success running from Majorca and Ibiza to Valencia. The forward saloon’s twin deck picture windows however make that lounge a sun trap and virtually uninhabitable when the ship is running directly into the sun – which she does on her daytime crossings to the mainland. Still, she was a ship I grew to like a lot during the five or six hours spent aboard.

    Martin I Soler - lobby

    Martin I Soler - lobby

    Best classic ferry
    Last year I placed the Ancona in this spot, and this year I was most enamoured with another ship sailing from Split, the Istra of Jadrolinija (ex-Mette Mols, 1966). Mostly unchanged from new, she has been sailing for Jadrolinija for 28 years now and, like the locals who have protested about her imminent withdrawal, I find this little ferry beautiful and adorable. A round trip on her from Split to Stari Grad was the perfect farewell; for now however she remains in service and I cling to the hope that she may survive for one more year.

    The Istra, bound for Stari Grad. What's not to like?

    The Istra, bound for Stari Grad. What's not to like?

    Biggest disappointment
    There has been plenty said about how she is perfectly suited to the demands of her route and how she will make Brittany Ferries money but the Armorique was still not quite what I had hoped for or expected. Does everything have to be wipe-downable? Was it really necessary to drive home that “this is a ship built to a budget” message by even dispensing with individually-tailored facility names? ‘Le Restaurant’, ‘Le Bar’? Please.
    Whilst I respect their right to get an appropriate return on their investments, they also need to protect their brand. You’re Brittany Ferries, not P&O or Seafrance (at least not yet). Passengers expect certain things and whilst the Armorique delivers to a degree, as a whole she falls beneath the standards of ro-pax luxury set by earlier fleetmates. Not good.

    It's Okay, but It's Not Right.

    It's Okay, but It's Not Right.

    Biggest surprise
    Years spent tinkering to little acclaim on the interiors of Stena ferries had primed one to expect the worst from interior designers Figura. Their most recent work, on the Stenas Voyager, Adventurer, Nordica, Caledonia and Navigator therefore came as something of a bolt from the blue. It’s almost like they are over-compensating for a decade or more of Spike’s Sports Bar – parts of the Navigator are so Scando-trendy you half suspect she has been lined up for a later transfer to the Kattegat. Wall prints of the archipelago near Gothenburg; that stairwell-dominating tribute to famous Scandinavian chairs; and little vitrines full of expensively-acquired keynote Scandinavian designer trinketry sourced from the ‘Stena Plus Scandinavian Design collection’ – at least that’s what the museum-like explanatory labels said. And who wouldn’t be wowed by a Pinzke/Bergström designer cheese grater in a glass display case?

    'Rocking Horse' by Playsam on the Stena Navigator. In case the kiddies get the wrong idea, it is placed out of reach and firmly glued down. This is art for goodness sake!

    'Rocking Horse' by Playsam on the Stena Navigator. In case the kiddies get the wrong idea, it is placed out of reach and firmly glued down. This is art for goodness sake!

    Best conversion
    Last year it was the Ariadne, this year it is her rival-cum fleetmate-cum replacement, the Elyros of ANEK’s Piraeus-Chania route. One of my pet ferry enthusiast hates is people taking a random foreign ship and saying how good she would be for service on some local route with which the writer is familiar (usually something like the Silja Europa for the Isle of Man) but the Elyros instead of the Armorique out of Plymouth would really motivate one to make a series of day trips to Roscoff, regardless of what BF might say. She is, quite simply, a beauty.

    Thalassa Lounge, aft on the Elyros.

    Thalassa Lounge, aft on the Elyros.

    Worst conversion
    It took the best part of three years to rebuild her and finally the Mega Express Five entered service this April. She has all the relevant bits and pieces squeezed in, yet in design this is a cut ‘n’ paste job from previous Corsica Ferries ships and as a whole she just didn’t seem to have ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ might be. She has a series of vast box shaped rooms with the same old furniture stuffed in any old how. Where the original Mega Express and her sister had some sort of creative hand holding things steady, and the ‘Three’, ‘Four’ and ‘Smega’ retained to a greater or lesser extent attractive facets of their original designs, the ‘Five’ is a disappointing mess. Tourship should take a trip to Chania and see how it can be done.

    She's big but not beautiful: the Mega Express Five at Bastia.

    She's big, but not beautiful: the Mega Express Five at Bastia.

    Best food
    Now onto the important stuff; after much pondering I narrowed it down to three ships – Pont Aven, Maersk Dover and Girolata. The ‘Dover’s Sunday lunch in the restaurant was superb indeed, but the French ships seemed to have something else. If only because Brittany Ferries’ Lamb Gargantua is almost passé now, I’ll plump for the Girolata. Was it a terrible social faux pas, when served fish soup in a tall glass, but with a spoon, to ‘drink’ rather than ‘eat’? Possibly so, but it was worth it. A triumph.

    Worst food
    The pasta on the Excellent might have been OK had it been hot. The pasta might have been hot had there been more than one person serving a queue of about 500 passengers. All might still have been saved had the reheating microwaves not all been broken. Alas, it was not to be. For want of a nail, the kingdom was lost.

    An Excellent ship. Shame about the food.

    An Excellent ship. Shame about the food.

    Favourite crossing
    Finnmaid – 27 hours from Helsinki to Travemünde in April. The crew might be able to give you a long list about why the ‘Star’ class are impractical in one minor way or another but there was something indefinably magical about this long crossing on a deluxe ro-pax.

    Worst maintained ship
    I was not in a particularly positive frame of mind when I boarded the Sharden in July – SNAV’s codeshare with Tirrenia meant I had been bumped off one of SNAV’s ex-Olau sisters and onto the state operator whose new ships I would normally choose to avoid. Inside she was OK but outside there was little evidence of any deck maintenance since she had been delivered in 2005. A poor performance, even by Tirrenia standards.

    Sharden-freude? A little, perhaps.

    Sharden-freude? A little, perhaps.

    Worst crossing
    Perhaps not the faults of the ships themselves as such, but making a round trip to Tinos, out on the Superferry II (ex-Prince Laurent) and back on the Penelope A (ex-Horsa) on a day when thousands of pilgrims were sailing to and from the island was a bad move. Although I ultimately found a peaceful haven on the Penelope’s always-open bridge wing, given it was raining things weren’t ideal. Just watching her load hundreds of foot passengers was a revelation – crowds gathered first at the two main staircases aft on the car deck, then hundreds decided to bypass this by moving forward to the stairwells in the centre casings usually used by motorists; the really experienced grannies then scrambled up the ramps to the car deck mezzanines to try and beat the crush at a higher level. Good to see the ships still earning their keep, but sometimes it can be just too busy.

    Passenger pandemonium on the Penelope A.

    Passenger pandemonium on the Penelope A.

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