Posts tagged: express samina

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 – 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).
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