Posts tagged: scotia prince

Things seen – October 2012

  • We start once again in Newhaven and a pair of remarkable films from the SNCF archive showcasing the Villandry and Valencay:

    Chateaux sur mer
    and
    Car Ferry des années 70

  • Newhaven port has fallen some way in importance and in maintenance since those halcyon days of the 1960s and, as these urban explorers discovered, the grade 2 listed former marine workshops are in a sorry state.
  • Fifty years later, and just before the end of the final incarnation of SNCF’s ferry fleet as Seafrance, the crew of the Seafrance Rodin were captured at work.
  • Few Dover-Calais car ferries of the 1990s remain in that service but reminders of what was, at times, a slightly tawdry era were recorded by a Frenchman with a camcorder:
    Stena Invicta

    Stena Empereur

    Stena Challenger

    Seafrance Renoir

    Pride of Kent

    Pride of Dover

  • Pride of Burgundy

  • Not being in a position to mock others for their obscure interests, one can only salute Beno and his Youtube Elevator Tours.

    Whilst it is noted that the Pride of Burgundy has nice Lutz lifts, the reviewer is more impressed with the “really retro 80s Lutz lifts on the Pride of Dover”.

  • Beno’s website also has some images of abandoned and decaying Folkestone harbour.
  • Thoresen’s overlooked freighter, the Viking IV, was a product of the Trosvik shipyard in Norway and she had a sister ship, the Mandeville, which was owned by A F Klaveness & Co, who would later become one of the three founder companies of Royal Viking Line. The Mandeville had an interesting career, tramping across the North Sea and seeing initial service on charter to Grimaldi and operating to Libya.

    Both ships ended their days as livestock carriers, the Mandeville as the Murray Express prior to being scrapped in the late 1990s. The Viking IV met her doom in more unfortunate circumstances: as the Guernsey Express she was caught by Super Typhoon Dale as it swept through the Pacific in November 1996. The ship sank, taking nearly 1,600 helpless cattle down with her in what became one of the most controversial reference points in the debate about Australia’s live export trade.

  • Staying briefly with livestock carriers and it is interesting to see images of the Linda Clausen, which must be the only Cunard passenger ship ever so converted. Originally the Cunard Ambassador, the ship sufferred an on board fire when just two years old in 1974. Declared a total loss, the wreck was rebuilt and served for a further decade before a further fire in the engine room saw her head for scrap in 1984.
  • The fates of the three Wappens Von Hamburg continues to be played out. The trio were built as successive passenger ship generations in 1955, 1962 and 1965 for HADAG service to the small German archipelago of Helgoland. The youngest was the first and, so far, only one of the three to go for scrap. Here is a somewhat distressing video of the ship being demolished by a digger in Esbjerg.

    The first and second HADAG ships of this name survive but the future in each case remains uncertain. The 1955 version remains laid up in the United States, now under the name Aurora. Her owner’s website contains some more information, together with a plea for donations.

    The Wappen Von Hamburg of 1962, which briefly saw 1960s service with Stena as the second Stockholm-based “Jatten Finn”, soon returned to HADAG and remained with the company until the 1980s. She continued to serve Helgoland until 2000 but now finds herself named the Supper Clubcruise 2, laid up in Istanbul.

  • The third “Jatten Finn” was Stena’s own Poseidon and this picture of the little ship is worthy of reference, if only for the oustanding backdrop. To complete the story of Stena’s early escapades in Stockholm, the very first ship to be bestowed with Jatten Finn titling was another HADAG ship, the Helgoland which was chartered in 1964. She returned to Stena in 1972 as the Stena Finlandica having been chartered in between times to the Red Cross for use in Vietnam as a hospital ship – in which guise she was covered in the harrowing 1970 documentary Nur leichte Kämpfe im Raum Da Nang. The Helgoland/Stena Finlandica survives as the Galapagos Legend.
  • The same Esbjerg scrapyard which dealt with the 1965 Wappen Von Hamburg also scrapped five Wightlink ships in recent years, including the Our Lady Pamela.
  • The Vitsentzos Kornaros at Piraeus

    The Vitsentzos Kornaros at Piraeus

  • Time for a quick look inside the engine room of the Vitsentzos Kornaros (ex-Viking Viscount).
  • The ‘Viscount’ also features in this collection of recollections from the Townsend Thoresen era.
  • Michele Lulurgas has written a fine appreciation of his personal favourite, the Ionian Island (ex-Albireo, later Blue Island, Merdif 1) on the Adriatic & Aegean Ferries website. An intriguing image of the ship in her final guise can be found here.
  • Car deck difficulties for the Penelope A.
  • It is difficult to imagine any company which had a more interesting passenger ferry fleet than Sol Lines, the Cyprus Liners, who operated for less than a decade from the late 1970s. The company acquired second hand ships with all sorts of backgrounds, starting with the remarkable Sol Phryne, originally the 1948-built Taisetsu Maru and followed up with the Sol Express (Sealink’s Dover), Sol Olympia (the first Stena Britannica), Sol Christina (Trasmed’s Juan March) and Sol Olympia II (Trasmed’s Santa Cruz de Tenerife).

    The website of Solomonides Shipping has an excellent section which details the Sol Lines era. All ships are covered through the ‘History’ menu but particularly recommended are the pages covering the company’s general history, the Sol Phryne and the ill-fated Sol Olympia II which burned in dry dock in Elefsis in 1985 and brought the entire operation to an end.

  • The Sol Olympia’s time as the Wickersham is remembered in this blog post.
  • One ship which has survived a near-death experience is the 1962-built Ambriabella. For many years she could be found rotting in Elefsis as the Panic but a couple of years ago she was discovered by a group of Italians who sought to restore her as a luxury yacht. The ship was originally built for Italian north Adriatic coastal service before heading to Greece in the 1970s. Her new owners have launched a website and restoration of the ship is planned to take place in Trieste.
  • The sister to the Ambriabella is the Dionea and several years ago this ship was similarly converted to a yacht.
  • The despatch of the Scotia Prince for scrap has provoked a fair amount of remorse in North America. The ship’s final period of operation in Europe saw her working for Marmara Lines in their final season between Italy and Turkey; she is seen here passing through the Corinth Canal.
  • The first of seven interesting pages of archive of material relating to one of the Scotia Prince’s Portland-Yarmouth predecessors, the Prince of Fundy, can be found here (click ‘Next’ to proceed).
  • The Nindawayma laid up in Montreal, June 2006

    The Nindawayma laid up in Montreal, June 2006

  • The Nindawayma (ex-Manx Viking) was reported to be finally scrapped a couple of years ago. The ship lay unwanted in Montreal for seven years before being towed to Sault Ste. Marie where she lay for some time, although a certain amount of work was done to enable both stern and bow doors to be properly opened.

    Fotunately, one astute photographer managed to completely document the ship as she was just before leaving Montreal.

  • Some radio controlled ferry models:
    Polaris
    Towada Maru
    Norsea
  • Jumbo Ferry's Ritsurin II

    Jumbo Ferry's Ritsurin II

  • Japanese operators love nothing more than to promote their services through catchy jingles and accompanying videos. Here are a couple of the very best from over the years:
    Jumbo Ferry (as played on board at all port arrivals)
    Higashi Nihon Ferry Rurururu Rurururu Car Ferry…
    The original Sunflower
    More Sunflower – a classic
  • The ship depicted in the last video is the Sunflower 11 which went on to operate for the ill-starred Sulpico Lines as the Princess of the Orient for whom she sank in The Philippines in 1998 with the loss of 150 lives. Film of a dive on her wreck can be found here.
  • Lastly, rough weather affects ships all over the world and a few videos have caught the eye in recent months:
    The Hamnavoe is seen caught in heavy seas leaving Stromness.

    A difficult arrival at Mikura-jima for the Camellia-Maru.

    Rough weather for the Theofilos at Lemnos.

    The Corsica Express Three leaves a trail of destruction in Samothraki during her brief Greek sojourn.

    The Cruise Olympia in difficulties at Ancona.

    The Olympic Champion rolling into Heraklion harbour.

  • A few hints on using the conditions to your advantage can be taken from the skipper of this small passenger ferry on the Mekong River in Thailand.
  • Mediterranean Massacre – Part Two

    After the recent cull of Southern Europe’s elderly ferry fleet, which ships will be next? There remain plenty of veterans out there, and the list below is a bit of idle speculation. Quite a few vessels are now laid up mainly because they have recently finished seasonal service rather than anything more sinister. A couple, like the little Don Peppino in the Bay of Naples (ex-Malmø, 1964) and Jadrolinija’s Porozina (ex-Esefjord, 1971) have seen service this year after previous bouts of inactivity left them looking doomed, so nothing is certain. Particularly for the Croatian ships, domestic service under local, less strict, safety rules might be a solution once a vessel can no longer be used on international services – this may prove a valuable factor for Jadrolinija’s little Liburnija. Sadly however, it is likely that several of the ships listed below may be gone within the next twelve months.

    The Ancona and Split 1700 at Split.

    The Ancona and Split 1700 at Split.

    Two ships which have been sold for scrap since the original instalment are the Ancona and the Split 1700. Between them they helped to make Blue Line the dominant operator from Split to Ancona, in the process seeing off the Italian state operator Adriatica whilst the Croatian equivalent, Jadrolinija, operating their Dubrovnik, are outclassed. However it was always clear that 2010 would be the end for the 1966-built pair – indeed, the Split 1700 had been laid up throughout the Summer since the company acquired better and larger tonnage. The only question was whether anyone would be able to preserve the Ancona but, perhaps not surprisingly, the answer was no and the pair have been sold to Indian breakers.

    The Ancona.

    The Ancona.

    Boughaz and Banasa at Algeciras.

    Boughaz and Banasa at Algeciras.

    Starting in the West, on the routes to Morocco the situation is fairly critical in terms purely of age with a whole host of ships nearing or over 30 years in age – the Al Mansour (ex-Stena Nordica, Reine Astrid), Atlas (ex-Gelting Syd), Banasa (ex-Mette Mols), Berkane (ex-Napoleon), Biladi (ex-Liberté), Bni Nsar (ex-Ferry Akashi, Dame M), Boughaz (ex-Viking 5), Ibn Batouta (ex-St Christopher), Le Rif (ex-Galloway Princess), Mistral Express (ex-Esterel) and Wisteria (ex-Prinses Beatrix, Duc de Normandie). TransEuropa Ferries’ Eurovoyager is also presently in the area.

    Quite what to expect here is difficult to say – other than the Eurovoyager most of the above named are in regular service. There have been a couple of casualties from the area in 2010 already in the Sara 1 and Euroferrys Atlantica but with a reportedly disappointing Summer perhaps there is scope for some further cutbacks. The most likely vessel perhaps, other than the Eurovoyager, might be the oldest – COMANAV’s Bni Nsar has created a notably negative public reputation but has, however, remained in service beyond 30 September.

    The Habib.

    The Habib.

    Tunisia’s 1970s ship of state, the Habib, is a lovely 1970s veteran – sort of an Africanised, originally two-class-version of TT Lines’ Peter Pan and Nils Holgersson of 1974/75. With the new Hanibal due for delivery in 2012, if the Habib is compliant with the safety requirements of the so-called ‘Stockholm Agreement’ one would expect her to return for one final fling in 2011 – but crew members were adamant 2010 was her final season when we sailed on the ship in June.

    Sardinia Regina and Moby Vincent at Bastia.

    Sardinia Regina and Moby Vincent at Bastia.

    Both Sardinia Ferries and Moby on their longer passenger routes have a collection of 1970s-built ships matched with vessels from the past decade – and not too much in between. Moby’s Drea, Otta, Vincent, Fantasy and Corse are all vital parts of the network and one cannot imagine them being replaced in the near future – the Fantasy continually punches above her weight on the Olbia-Civitavecchia route and is perhaps the weakest of the classic ferries. The Moby Vincent (ex-Stena Normandica, St Brendan) is the oldest but both Moby and their yellow-hulled rivals seem content to each employ one of these Rickmers-built ferries as their regular ships on the Livorno-Bastia route. If one or other was replaced with something new I can imagine the rival operator would respond pretty quickly – but who will blink first?

    Both Moby and Corsica Ferries have been able to add capacity seemingly at will in recent years, and the latter’s elderly ladies seem equally secure – for now. The Sardinia Vera and sister Corsica Marina Seconda, the Sardinia Regina and sister Corsica Victoria plus the Corsica Serena Seconda all appear in the Summer 2011 timetables.

    The Moby Baby at Portoferraio.

    The Moby Baby at Portoferraio.

    Moby’s five Babies on the Elban routes have an average age of 37 years and recently the company made statements about ordering six new ships to replace them, together with the Bastia on the Santa Teresa-Bonifacio run. Nothing firm has happened on that front yet – so these classics look set to continue for some time to come. The 1966-built Moby Baby (ex-Svea Drott, Earl Godwin) is the now surely the oldest ship operating for anything like a mainstream multi-route operator in the EU (save maybe for Balearia’s Arlequin Rojo) but the even smaller Moby Ale (ex-Mikkel Mols, 1969) would seem likely to be the first to go if Moby were to have a cull. For now that doesn’t seem likely as all five ships are hard-pressed on the busy Summer Saturdays.

    The Primrose at Piombino.

    The Primrose at Piombino.

    Upstarts Blunavy made an entry onto the Piombino-Portoferraio route in 2010 and, after an apparently relatively successful season, claim they are looking for a different ship to the Primrose (ex-Princesse Marie Christine). Something with a better air conditioning system might be a good idea. The sweaty, beaten-up old Primrose has to be high on the list of likely ships to head straight for scrap from here.

    The Don Peppino at Pozzuoli.

    The Don Peppino at Pozzuoli.

    One elderly ex-Moby ship which has thus far evaded the scrappers is the Don Peppino of Gestur. Originally the Malmø of 1964, she spent 24 years with Moby as the Citta di Piombino but was subsequently laid up for a period in Naples. Reactivated in 2008 she is a sweet little thing but can’t have too many years left now. There remain several other interesting ships laid up in Naples but the largest two – the Medmar overnight pair Donatella D’Abundo and Giulia D’Abundo – have now both gone for scrap.

    The SNAV Sicilia at Palermo.

    The SNAV Sicilia at Palermo.

    The most disappointing departures from Italian domestic service after 30 September were SNAV’s ex-North Sea Ferries pair SNAV Campania and Sicilia (ex-Norland and Norstar). Originally rumoured to have been sold for scrap, they are now both at anchor off Jeddah awaiting use, presumably as pilgrim ships for the Hajj in November, after which their futures remain unclear.

    The Iginia and Rosalia at Messina.

    The Iginia and Rosalia at Messina.

    After the Sibari (1970) went for scrap last year, question marks hung over the remaining two classic train ferries on BluVia’s Messina-Villa San Giovanni route, the Iginia (1969) and Rosalia (1973). I travelled with the Rosalia in early September and she has clearly had a little bit of cash spent on her recently (although still retaining the faded glory look of all the ships on this route). Meanwhile the Iginia was to be found having some attention in dry dock in Messina so on this basis they seem secure for now. However the Logudoro, half-sister to the route’s more modern pair, the Villa and Scilla, remains laid up in Naples – if BluVia ever get around to instating her in Sicilian traffic, the lovely Iginia could be doomed.

    The Domiziana off Naples.

    The Domiziana off Naples.

    Just as the future of Tirrenia is unclear, so it is for their oldest ship, the Domiziana. A (relatively) unrebuilt member of the Strade Romana class she has been moved to the Southern Italian port of Crotone for disposal – scrap must be a real option although I would still bet on her being acquired by another operator looking for replacement tonnage.

    To the East of Italy the number of elderly ships under threat grows exponentially, first but not least with Jadrolinija. The Croatian national operator has, since the disposal of the Ivan Zajc in 2009, been reduced to four ships capable of realistic use on the coastal and international services. This has meant the Zadar operating Zadar-Ancona, the Dubrovnik on Split-Ancona, the Marko Polo the coastal service, Rijaka-Split-Stari Grad-Korcula-Dubrovnik and on to Bari in Italy, with the little Liburnija operating Korcula-Dubrovnik-Bari.

    The Marko Polo will be upgraded over the Winter to meet the new safety requirements but it seems inevitable that the Liburnija will henceforth be restricted to domestic use – if anything. She was Jadrolinija’s first car ferry of any real size and ever since her introduction in 1965 has been lovingly looked after. Now quite antiquated one can only wonder if she will return in 2011 and, if so, what route a ship with cabin accommodation would be suitable for if not the coastal/international lines.

    The Liburnija at Korcula.

    The Liburnija at Korcula.

    The Vis leaving Vela Luca.

    The Vis leaving Vela Luca.

    Of the other Jadrolinija ships in service in 2010 the most interesting threatened vessel is the 1965-built Vis, originally the Sydfyn. She has been with Jadrolinija for 34 years now but the feeling amongst her crew was that this was her final year. Aliaga awaits.

    Jadrolinija's reserve fleet - Cres 2008.

    Jadrolinija's reserve fleet - Cres 2008.

    Whereas a couple of Jadrolinija ships have headed for scrap the majority of the coastal fleet, once no longer wanted, appear to be sent to lay up in various parts of the country. For example the onetime Red Funnel pair Lovrjenac (ex-Norris Castle) and Nehaj (ex-Cowes Castle) have been mouldering in Cres and Mali Losinj respectively for several years now. The picture above shows Cres in August 2008 with the Nehaj, Porozina (ex-Esefjord) and Bozava visible and, beyond, the Ero, Ozalj and Zigljen. The Porozina has since seen further service but the future of the remainder looks bleak, with the Bozava reportedly already gone.

    The Postira arriving at Dubrovnik, with the Thomson Spirit beyond.

    The Postira arriving at Dubrovnik, with the Thomson Spirit beyond.

    If the fate of many of Jadrolinija’s old car ferries is uncertain, what then of the four remaining classic passenger ships? The Postira, Premuda, Ozalj and Tijat all still had niche roles in various parts of the country in 2010 but there are grumblings in some areas about the service offered. Many of these ship’s sisters and contemporaries have found their way into static use so one would expect the same might apply when the service careers of these veterans finally come to an end.

    The Sveti Stefan and Sveti Stefan II at Bar.

    The Sveti Stefan and Sveti Stefan II at Bar.

    The Montenegro Lines fleet is in varying states of disrepair. To all intents and purposes they are the only passenger sea line into the country so doubtless will carry on – but it would be nice if they could do something about the state of their ships, the Sveti Stefan II in particular. After seemingly disappearing for all of October, the latter ship returns to service at the start of November and is timetabled through to the end of the year. But what about her little red-hulled counterpart?

    The Azzurra at Bari.

    The Azzurra at Bari.

    One doesn’t know what the Azzurra of Azzurra Line is up to at the best of times so perhaps the most recent AIS signal from the 1964-built ex-Grenaa shouldn’t be a surprise – she is not laid up near her normal Bari-based Adriatic home but is instead at Tasucu in Turkey, having previously paid a call into in Northern Cyprus. Has she entered service on the Tasucu-Gazimagusa route?!

    The Arberia at Bari.

    The Arberia at Bari.

    With her fleetmates all gone for scrap, the Arberia (ex-Bore Star, Orient Express, Wasa Queen) of Halkydon Shipping, for now, ploughs on alone between Bari and Durres in Albania. If Halkydon do complete their withdrawal from the passenger shipping business, this ferry will have to find new owners – going for scrap seems unlikely but in the current climate anything is possible. Perhaps Mr Munk of Sunlink Ferries will finally get his ship?

    The Santa Maria I and Rigel at Bari.

    The Santa Maria I and Rigel at Bari.

    G Lines’ Santa Maria I (ex-Sansovino) seems to have found little success since first being tried on the competitive Bari-Durres service in 2008. Beset by machinery problems in her inital seasons, she has now retired once again to Drapetsona – will she ever see proper service again?

    Alongside her in the picture above is Ventouris Ferries’ Rigel (ex-Bore I). This ship and her three quite elderly Adriatic fleetmates (average age – 35) seem set to continue to operate – the Polaris is presently having a not insignificant refit with her place, for now, being taken by Agoudimos’ Ionian King.

    The Veronica Line and Red Star I together at Brindisi.

    The Veronica Line and Red Star I together at Brindisi.

    Brindisi and the Southern Albanian port of Vlore have been the last operational ports of call for a number of notable ferries, from Thoresen’s Viking I, through SNCF’s Transcontainer I to Sessan’s 1965-built Prinsessan Desirée. The route has in recent years been home to three further veterans, the Viking I’s sister, the Viking III of 1965 (now Red Star I), her ex-Townsend Thoresen fleetmate Free Enterprise V (1970, now Veronica Line) and Agoudimos’s sprightly youngster the Ionian Spirit (ex-Viking 3, Roslagen (1972)).

    The Veronica Line has again gone into hibernation for the Winter but the Red Star I and Ionian Spirit continue to sail. Whilst this route has a history of sudden disappearances the latter two seem quite secure for now. The Veronica Line may be a casualty of the Stockholm Agreement but there is every chance we won’t know about it until she fails to reappear for 2011.

    The Penelope at Igoumenitsa.

    The Penelope at Igoumenitsa.

    Now laid up in Igoumenitsa the Penelope (ex-European Gateway) appears simply to be bedding down for the Winter rather than anything else and there seems every likelihood this unusual ship will return for 2011.

    The Theofilos in white NEL livery at Piraeus, 2007.

    The Theofilos in white NEL livery at Piraeus, 2007.

    One of the most popular Greek ferries is the evergreen Theofilos of NEL Lines, which has sailed through the September SOLAS deadline and continues on an interesting Northern Aegean itinerary. The future is, however, cloudy for the former Nils Holgersson (1975) and one can only hope she will live to see another Greek Summer.

    The Ierapetra L approaching Piraeus.

    The Ierapetra L approaching Piraeus.

    ANEK Lines have a series of ex-Japanese overnight ferries which are more than 30 years old deployed in domestic service: the Ierapetra L, Kriti I, Kriti II, Lissos, Lato and Prevelis. Although the Lissos is engaged in heavy competition with NEL on the route up to Chios and Mytilene, far from ANEK’s usual base, the remainder are in use on core or subsidised services and there is no imminent prospect of replacement. For now the elderly ANEKs seem safe.

    The Rodanthi and Romilda laid up in Piraeus (with the Lissos visible beyond)

    The Rodanthi and Romilda laid up in Piraeus (with the Lissos visible beyond)

    Not such a happy future awaits the laid-up fleets of GA Ferries and SAOS. GA’s abandoned ships still dominate the Great Harbour in Piraeus whilst SAOS’s, including ex-British pair the Samothraki (Viking Voyager) and Panagia Soumela (Lady of Mann), are concentrated in Alexandropoulis in an increasingly decrepit state. It seems likely that the majority of these will head straight for scrap once the financial wrangling is finally concluded.

    The Samothraki leaving Chios in 2007.

    The Samothraki leaving Chios in 2007.

    The Duchess M at Bari in August 2008.

    The Duchess M at Bari in August 2008.

    There are also dozens of ships laid up in the shipyards around Piraeus – many of which will never see service again. One such is the Duchess M of Marlines, originally the Wanaka and later Brittany Ferries’ Breizh-Izel. The final season of the final ship of the once glorious Marlines was 2008 and she has been laid up in Elefsis ever since. A one-way journey to the scrapyard is the only realistic result for this ship and so many of the others, including the Okeanis (ex-Free Enterprise) and the Alkyon (ex-Gotlandia).

    The Express Santorini (ex-Chartres) and the Scotia Prince (ex-Stena Olympica, top picture) have also arrived in the area recently – they are both now at Drapetsona. The former ship is scheduled to carry out relief sailings through the Winter and a further Summer on charter in the Azores apparently awaits in 2011. For the Scotia Prince the future has to be less certain – she had a heavy refit before the 2010 season which she spent on charter to Marmara Lines for service between Italy and Turkey. It would be great news if this was repeated, but will Marmara Lines be back for 2011?

    The Superferry II off Andros.

    The Superferry II off Andros.

    Although Blue Star Ferries have spent the money to repair her following her coming together with a pier in Tinos, the Superferry II is under threat from the new ships, Blue Star Delos and Blue Star Patmos, currently being built in Korea. The subsequent reshuffle of ships upon their delivery in will almost certainly see the end of the former Prince Laurent.

    The Agios Georgios at Sifnos.

    The Agios Georgios at Sifnos.

    Lastly, are Ventouris Sea Lines’ Agios Georgios (ex-Hengist) and Agoudimos Lines’ Penelope A (ex-Horsa) under threat? Not just yet it seems and both have a Winter of Greek domestic sailing ahead of them.

    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).

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