The laid up GA Ferries fleet in Piraeus has been put up for auction by the port authority. The following starting bids have been specified:
The Anthi Marina, Milena and Dimitroula laid up in Piraeus outer harbour.
ANTHI MARINA â‚¬2,128,000
One wonders which shipboard delights make the Daliana â‚¬500 more valuable than her sister the Milena. Truthfully, I doubt many will miss most of these ships all of which were fairly grim clunkers at the very bottom of the market by the time GA Ferries finally gave up the ghost. The Dimitroula, whilst not an exception to that comment, was perhaps the most interesting, retaining many of her pocket Italian liner stylings through her Greek career. The fast craft Jetferry I, tucked up in the inner harbour adjacent to the berths of the smaller Blue Star ships, has already been repossessed by her secured creditors so is excluded from the list.
There are some slightly haunting videos of the ships in the outer harbour, creaking and groaning at their berths here and here.
The same set of videos also features a close up consideration of the Mediterranean Sky, once of Karageorgis Lines and before that Ellerman’s City of York but now a sunken, rusting hulk in a corner of Elefsis Bay.
Meanwhile, near to the end of her operational days, life on board a Christmassy Romilda was captured by a nautilia user with the highly commendable name of ‘vortigern’.
The final departure of the Athens from Igoumenitsa en route for scrapping was captured for posterity – the vessel had served Ventouris Ferries for approaching a quarter of a century and had survived through all of the troubles of the family’s shipping operations – being right on the spot of disaster on occasion as pictures of her, freshly painted, alongside the sunken Grecia Express (ex-Norwind) prove.
Another former British ferry whose operational career in Greece was cut short at an early stage was the Theseus (ex-Dundalk, St Cybi). She did see service for a while however, as evidenced by this highly entertaining video of her berthing in rough weather at Kythira in 1993. Comedy highlights include the lost tyre bouncing around behind a disembarking vehicle and, somewhat cruelly, the lady who manages to drench herself as she attempts to embark by running up to and over the vehicle ramp.
‘Mr Snail’ has a fine collection on flickr of images of and on board many of the lesser lights of the currently operational Greek domestic fleet, large and small.
The recent collision of the Superferry II (ex-Prince Laurent) with the pier in Tinos rang a bell and a quick search revealed a similar incident in Andros a couple of years ago – with rather more dramatic consequences for those on board.
The many and varied incidents which have affected BC Ferries’ fleet are documented in this remarkable youtube video which formed part of local TV coverage of the sinking of the Queen of the North.
Meanwhile, this series of videos shows Tsawwassen terminal and the Queen of New Westminster being pounded by wet & wild weather in 2007.
Whilst Corsica Ferries seem somehow less accident-prone than rivals Moby, this image of the stern of the Mega Express shows that they still have their share of mishaps.
Continuing the theme of accidents and incidents, the former Ursula of Scandinavian Ferry Lines, latterly the Cozumel II, was washed ashore at Chinchorro Bank in Mexico during Hurricane Wilma in 2005. In May of this year she was finally released from her predicament as evidenced by this local television report.
Staying in Mexico, it is nearly three years since the Victory of Grandi Navi Veloci was sold to Baja Ferries where she operates as the Chihuahua Star alongside the California Star (ex-Stena Forwarder). She appears to have settled down quite well in operation, but, as can be seen from this voyage report, remains very much a GNV ship onboard.
Sessan Linjen was one of the more prestigious and upscale early car ferry operators and the company’s absorption by local rivals Stena Line in 1982 remains in many ways regrettable The vast majority of Sessan’s fleet were purpose-built and some interesting images are found here and here whilst a snatched recording of cars boarding the Prinsessan Desiree in Gothenburg in the early 1970s can be seen here. Today, Sessan’s Gothenburg terminal is the only remaining local link with the company, it now being home to Stena’s Kiel operation.
Mention of Stena and their early, rapid, growth prompts a quick link to one of my all time favourite ferry photographs, from the Dover Ferry Photos website, showing the little Stena Danica of 1965 in Dover alongside the Free Enterprise III and the Roi Baudouin. Stubby and small, she still manages to somehow outshine her equally modern rivals.
That Stena Danica image was taken during her brief charter to Townsend over the Winter of 1967/68 and just a couple of months later PathÃ© news ventured aboard the brand-new Dragon on her promotional visit to London to film this footage of one of the more attractive British-registered car ferries. The recording also resolves a minor query I had as to just what the Dragon featured in her main lobby, where her sister Leopard had a leopard clambering up the liftshaft (below). To the surprise of nobody it was a dragon (below x2), but still it is nice to see just what it looked like. As can also be seen both ships had Bayeux Tapestry extracts around the lobby’s upper circle.
A leopard on the Leopard...
The branch lines serving former railway ports still capture the imaginations of many and video tributes to those at Folkestone and Weymouth have found their way onto youtube. The Weymouth version includes some entertaining footage of cars being moved out of the way of the train as it passes along the quayside. Over at Folkestone, spread over three parts are some excellent clips of trains transiting the harbour line:
...and a dragon on the Dragon.
The departure of the SNAV Sicilia (ex-Norland) for scrap is a reminder that this ship was once very famous indeed in her homeport of Kingston-upon-Hull. The Norland pub in Hessle remains a well-known local hostelry, whilst the name of Norland ARLFC continues to bring a wry smile to ferry enthusiast observers of the Hull & District League (this may indeed be a very limited number of people). Meanwhile a house on Norland Avenue doesn’t sound too bad a proposition, although that may depend on one’s view of the merits of living in Hull.
The East Yorkshire version of the BBC’s Look North carried a decent segment on her demise (no longer available on iplayer but a related news item is here); the Hull Daily Mail predictably missed the story altogether.
It comes as a rude shock that some people don’t take ferry enthusiasm as seriously as this blog ceaselessly strives to. An entertaining critique of Brian Haresnape’s book Sealink, a revered tome in the eyes of this writer, can be found on the four pages of this link to an irreverent car forum – page 2 onwards are frankly not for the faint hearted.
Staying with Sealink and the ITN website has some interesting coverage of newsworthy events from the 1980s:
‘Save Our Senlac’
On board the strikebound Earl Harold
Refloating the Hengist
Lastly, the arrival of the Istra for scrapping in Aliaga didn’t go undocumented and below are some links to a series of images of and on board the old ship as she was prepared for cutting up (click on the thumbnails to go to the original urls):
(h/t Brodovi i pomorstvo)
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Hull-based North Sea Ferries are my “local” ferry operator, yet childhood holidays never involved a crossing with them. This is slightly curious – I wonder why we would have ignored Kenneth Williams’ sage advice
to motor along the “clear roads” (of the ’62!
) to Yorkshire’s East Coast, preferring instead to drive down to the traditional ports of England’s Southern coast.
It can certainly be grim up north, nowhere more so than Kingston Upon Hull but I’m not sure this would have been enough to deter us from using the port there – although most Yorkshire folk west of Goole would probably rank it as a genuine consideration. NSF in the early ’80s though just seemed to be stuck somewhat in the 1970s and very slightly out of step with the times as Thatcher’s Britain evolved.
NSF themselves seem to have come to the same conclusion and here is some evidence from their contemporary publicity material. As late as 1985, NSF brochures were distinctly 1970s in tone; the on board images are a delight for anyone interested in ferry design of 30 and 40 years ago – a cornucopia of orange, brown and wood-effect panelling, the Norland and Norstar of 1974 were, as built, probably the grooviest things sailing from Britain. For about six months maybe. The changing cycles of fashion seems to have dated them quite horribly, and the fanfare which accompanied the launch of the new Norsea and Norsun in 1987 spoke not just of new tonnage, but of a completely new image for their operators.
The company took the opportunity to lengthen and completely refurbish the ’70s ships just after the new vessels entered service – leaving in the interregnum the tantalising prospect of sailing one way to Hull on the 1980s superferries and back to the Continent on the vintage but tiny 1960s Norwind or Norwave. The contrast the 1988 brochure presents to that of just three years earlier is startling – a distinct 1980s aesthetic has taken over, and the word “new” is everywhere.
At around the same time, northern department store chain Lewis’s had rebranded as “THE NEW Lewis’s” in a similar attempt to reinvent themselves, and the designer-label clothes the store began stocking are exactly what the NSF photographers have captured being casually but consciously worn by the “passengers” lazing around the new ships.
North Sea Ferries - 1985
North Sea Ferries - 1985
North Sea Ferries - 1988
Of course, the 1980s pastel tones of THE NEW North Sea Ferries were themselves to date rather quickly – and in 1996 the whole operation would retreat into the safe conservatism of the P&O brand. But that’s a whole ‘nother story…
First of a new series: ferry brochures & adverts from years gone by. This week it’s a NSF advert from 24 years ago – old livery & the pre-stretched Norland.
Click for larger image