Remember the Split Prvi? She was the eleventh Superflex ship, the Supeflex Kilo, and after a typically intermittant North European career was finally brought to Southern Europe by SEM in a brave but troubled and ultimately futile attempt to provide a rival cut-price service between Split and Supetar to that of the state operator Jadrolinija. She was sold to Kazakhstani owners for conversion into a floating workshop in 2008 and renamed the Ersai 4, joining the Ersai 3 (ex-Vikingland).
The Split Prvi at Supetar in July 2005.
An image of the ship undergoing rebuild earlier this year in Italy can be seen here. Any further details of either of the Ersai ships’ current whereabouts or progress on the work are welcome!
An interesting series of pictures of the Jadrolinija fleet from the past couple of years by Hans de Graaf can be seen here, 2009 pictures confirming that the former Red Funnel pair Nehaj (ex-Cowes Castle) and Lovrjenac (ex-Norris Casle) remain laid up at Cres and Mali Losinj respectively. There are also recent images of the Marko Polo at the new Rijeka ferry terminal. On the subject of the latter, with admirable optimism (if that is the right word), an artist’s impression shows both the new terminal and berths together with an HSS alongside at the old ferry berth. What a story that would be.
The two unstretched ‘Super Vikings’ are having contrasting Summers in Greece. Caught up in the troubles of her owners SAOS, the Samothraki (ex-Viking Voyager/Pride of Cherbourg) is laid up in Alexandroupolis – image here.
Meanwhile the Vitsentzos Kornaros (ex-Viking Viscount/Pride of Winchester) has returned Rethymno on Crete to mainstream ferry service. On a weekly schedule which takes passengers to some delightful smaller towns and islands, the ship calls at the Cretan port on Saturdays and Sundays, restoring a direct link to Piraeus. One of the islands she calls at is Antikythira (year round population 45) and a striking image of the ship there can be found here. The restoration of conventional Piraeus-Rethymno operation by LANE Lines was the cause of much debate – a local press report stated that, if the link continues, “the company is considering seriously the possibility of perhaps changing to another modern ship, aged about 10 years, speed over 20 knots, modern hotel amenities and sailing between Rethymno and Piraeus three times a week.”
Lastly Christopher over at the rather wonderful SjÃ¶fartsbloggen has posted a voyage report on the Stena Nautica (ex-Niels Klim), A fantastic trip with the “LegobÃ¥ten” to GrenÃ¥ which includes some shots on board the ship alongside similar ones on her (slightly) less mutilated sister, the Color Viking (ex-Stena Invicta/Peder Paars). (Google translate version here).
Reference is made to the ship’s mast being ‘snipped’ to ensure clearance beneath the Ã„lvsborg Bridge when she visited Gothenburg for urgent repairs following her near-sinking in 2004, which calls to mind the legend that Stena bought the sister ships only to discover they could not fit under the bridge which is upriver of the terminals at their home port. This is one company which is not averse to ship surgery however, so it seems unlikely that this is the real reason neither have ever seen operation out of Gothenburg, but it remains a great story of Stena’s fallibility and certainly precluded the ships from operating there as cover for the permanent vessels.