Sealink was a ferry company based in the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1984, operating services to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Channel Islands, Isle of Wight and Ireland.

Sealink was originally the brand name for the ferry services of British Rail which ran shipping services in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Services to France, Belgium and the Netherlands were also run by Sealink UK as part of the Sealink consortium which also used ferries owned by French national railways (SNCF), the Belgian Maritime Transport Authority, Regie voor Maritiem Transport/Regie des transports maritimes (RMT/RTM) and the Dutch Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland (SMZ).

Historically, the shipping services were exclusively an extension of the railways across the English Channel and the Irish Sea in order to provide through, integrated services to Europe and Ireland. As international travel became more popular in the late 1960s and before air travel became generally affordable, the responsibility for shipping services was taken away from the British Rail Regions and in 1969 centralised in a new division – British Rail Shipping and International Services Division.

With the advent of car ferry services the old passenger-only ferries were gradually replaced by roll-on-roll-off ships catering both for motorists and rail passengers as well as road freight. However, given that there was now competition in the form of other ferry companies offering crossings to motorists, it became necessary to market the services in a normal business fashion (as opposed to the previous almost monopolistic situation). Thus, with the other partners mentioned above, the brand name Sealink was introduced for the consortium.

As demand for international rail travel declined and the shipping business became almost exclusively dependent on passenger and freight vehicle traffic, the ferry business was incorporated as Sealink UK Limited in 1978, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Railways Board (BRB).

On 27 July 1984 the UK Government sold Sealink UK Limited to Sea Containers. The company was renamed Sealink British Ferries.

In 1991, Sea Containers sold Sealink British Ferries to Stena Line. The Isle of Wight Services were excluded from the deal and were retained by Sea Containers operating as Wightlink.

The new owners rebranded the company name to Sealink Stena Line, then again a few years later to Stena Sealink Line.

In 1996, the Sealink name disappeared when the UK services were re-branded as Stena Line.

The pool agreement with the SNCF on the Dover to Calais route also ended at this time and the French run Sealink services were rebranded as SeaFrance.

Sealink Archive

MV Cotentin (1974) – Past and Present

MV Princess Carol, ex Angel Pearl, El Capitan, Romana I, Caribe Merchant, Miranda I, Cotentin, Saaletal, Thule – Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1969 at Rickmers Rhederei GmbH, Rickmers Werft, Bremerhaven (Yard Number 359) for Transanglia Schiffahrts. GmbH (J.A. Reinecke), Hamburg.

© Malcolm Cranfield

MV Viking III – Past and Present

MV Red Star I, ex Gabriel Scott, Sagafjord, Sandefjord, Fenno Star, Scandinavia, Terje Vigen, Viking III – Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1965 by Orenstein-Koppel and Lubecker Mach A/G, Lubeck, Germany, (Yard No 618) for Otto Thoresen Shipping Co. A/S, Oslo, Norway, as a passenger and vehicle ferry.

© Ian Collard

MV St Brendan – Past and Present

MV Moby Vincent, ex St Brendan, Stena Normandica – Steel twin screw motor vessel built by Rickmers Werft. GmbH, Bremerhaven in 1974 (Yard No. 380) for Stena Ab, Goteborg as a roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry.

MV Dundalk – Past and Present

MV Theseus, ex St Cybi, Stena Sailer, Dundalk – Steel twin screw motor vessel, built in 1974 by Verolme Cork Dockyards Ltd, Cork, Ireland (Yard No. 874), for Allied Irish Bank Ltd, (British & Irish Steam Packet Co.) Dublin, Ireland as a passenger and commercial vehicle ferry

© Simonwp

Mv Landmark – Past and Present

MV Sarajevo, ex Hind, Engy, Eurosun, Trucker Express, RoRo Cimbria, Landmark – Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1971 by Ankerløkken Verft, Glommen A/S, Fredrikstad, Norway (Yard No 178) as RoRo Cargo/Vehicles Carrier vessel

John Hendy Collection

MV Koningin Emma – Past and Present

MV Koningin Emma, ex HMS Queen Emma, Queen Emma, Koningin Emma – Steel twin screw motor vessel, built in 1939 by Koninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde, Vlissingen, Holland (Yard No. 209), for Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland N.V. Hook Van Holland, Holland as a passenger and cargo vessel

Courtesy of John Hendy

MV Koningin Wilhelmina – Past and Present

MV Temis, ex Koningin Wilhelmina – Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1960 at N.V. Scheepswerf & Machinefabriek ” De Merwede”, Hardinxveld, Holland (Yard No. 548) for Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland N.V. Hoek Van Holland. Holland as a passenger and vehicle ferry

© Ken Larwood

MV Koningin Juliana – Past and Present

MV Moby Prince, ex Koningin Juliana, Holland Trade Ship, Koningin Juliana – Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1968 by Cammell Laird & Co Ltd, Birkenhead, England (Yard No 1331) for Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland, (SMZ), Hoek Van Holland as a passenger and vehicle ferry

TS Isle of Guernsey – Past and Present

Ts Isle of Guernsey, ex HMS Isle of Guernsey, Hospital Carrier No 26, Isle of Guernsey – Steel twin screw turbine vessel, built in 1930 by Wm Denny & Bros, Dumbarton, (Yard No 1233), for Southern Railways as a passenger and cargo vessel

© Ken Larwood

MV Koningin Beatrix – Past and Present

MV SNAV Adriatico, ex Stena Baltica, Koningin Beatrix – Steel twin screw motor vessel built in by Van der Giessen De Noord, Krimpen an de Ijssel, Holland (Yard No 935) in 1985 for Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland N.V (SMZ), Hoek van Holland, Holland, as a passenger and vehicle ferry