Nigel Thornton CollectionMV Galloway Princess, Past and Present

31/08/2016: Page updated - NT

MV Le Rif

ex Stena Galloway, Galloway Princess

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built by  Harland & Wolff, Belfast (Yard No. 1713), for Sealink U.K. in 1980 as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry. Engined by Crossley-Pielstick.

Technical Data

  • Length on deck: 129.44 m (overall), 120.70 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 21.62 m (moulded)
  • Depth to ‘B’ deck: 13.20 m
  • Draught: 4.74 m (scanting), 4.65 m (service)
  • Tonnage: 6,630 gross (1980) 6,506 (1984), 2,675 net (1980) 3,096 (1984), 1,895 deadweight (1980) 1,850 (1984)
  • Engines: Two Crossley-Pielstick medium speed 16PC2-5V diesels, 10400 bhp at 520 revs/min
  • Power: 11,770 kW
  • Speed: 18.5 knots (service)
  • Capacity: 974 passengers, 309 cars, 62 x 12 m freight vehicles.
  • Call Sign: GBJF(1980), CNA2177 (2004)
  • IMO Number: 7719430 Official Number: 341514
  • Registry: Stranraer, Casablanca, Tanger
  • Sister-ships: St David, St Christopher, St Anselm

History

May 24th 1979: Launched.

March 9th 1980: Sea trials.

Nigel Thornton Collection  Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection (all)

April 22nd 1980: Delivered to IBOS Finance Ltd, England. Chartered to Sealink UK Ltd, Stranraer, England.

Nigel Thornton Collection  Justin Merrigan Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection (left) Justin Merrigan Collection (right)

May 1st 1980: Commenced service between Stranraer – Larne.

Nigel Thornton Collection  Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection  Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

June (end), 1980: Suffered mechanical problems and taken out of service for a week.

September 1980: Dry-docked at her builders in Belfast received shift and propeller attention.

July 27th 1984: Registered to Sea Containers Ltd.

© Aubrey Dale  © Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale (both)

© Brian Fisher  Nigel Thornton Collection

© Brian Fisher (left) Nigel Thornton Collection (right)

1984: In readiness for privatisation, on their re-appearance from overhaul, units of the Sealink UK Ltd fleet all appeared without the B.R. double arrow logo on their funnels. The vessels gradually appeared with white hulls. From that time the company would trade as Sealink British Ferries and a subsidiary company British Ferries was set up for Channel Island operations.

Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

July 18th 1984: Sale of Sealink U.K. to Sea Containers Ltd, Bermuda. Company changed name to Sealink British Ferries U.K.

1988 – 89: Complete overhaul and refurbishment in Bremerhaven, Germany.

January 1990: Sold to Stena Line, Ab, Göteborg. (Registered to Stena Equipment Ltd. London) Commenced service for Sealink Stena Line.

May 31st 1990: Registered to Sealink Stena Line Ltd., London.

© Brian Fisher  Nigel Thornton Collection

© Brian Fisher (left) Nigel Thornton Collection (right)

© Aubrey Dale  © Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale (both)

1991: Stena full takeover of Sealink U.K. Ltd for a sum believed to be in the region of £259 million. The fleets livery was changed to reflect the fact.

February 1991: Renamed STENA GALLOWAY.

© Aubrey Dale  © Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale (both)

February 27th – March 16th 1992: Refit at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

August 1992 – August 21st 1992: Operated between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

December 31st, 1995 (midnight): Stena Sealink Line ceased as a company name and all ships in the fleet adopted the trading name of Stena Line. The fleet was painted in the Scandinavian livery.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

© Alan Geddes

© Alan Geddes

1995: Registered to Stena Line Ltd, Stranraer.

November 12th 1995: Commenced service between Stranraer – Belfast.

February 22nd 2002: Final day operating between Stranraer – Belfast.

February 22nd 2002: Sold to IMTC (International Maritime Transport Corporation), Casablanca, Morocco. Renamed LE RIF.

© Steven Brown

© Steven Brown

February 24th 2002: Left Belfast for Morocco.

© Daniel Ferro  © Daniel Ferro

© Daniel Ferro (both)

March 2002: Commenced service between Tangier – Algeciras.

© Daniel Ferro  © Daniel Ferro

© Daniel Ferro (both)

April 2nd 2008: A fire during the early hours of this morning on board – moored in Algeciras port forced the evacuation of the crew and 14 passengers – mostly long-distance lorry drivers none of whom were injured. It seems that the fire started in one of the ferry’s cargo holds though the cause is not known at this stage.

2014: Laid up in Ksar es Seghir near Tangier.

© Google Earth  © Google Earth

© Google Earth

© Google Earth (images dated 26/01/2015)

June 30th 2015: The Administrative Court of Appeal in Rabat announced the decision to auction the ship.  The auction is expected to repay some of the debts of the company, including those due to Total Morocco, mooring Society Strait or the PNA.

July 21st 2016: “After its auction for $ 9 million dirhams and its registration in the name of its new owner, DWLM (Detroit World Logistics Maritime), towed to a shipyard in Malaga in southern Spain .”.

August 31st 2016: “Reports from Spain indicate that former North Channel favourite Le Rif (ex Stena Galloway, Galloway Princess) has yet to enter Andalucia dry dock at Cernava’s Mario Lopez shipyard in Malaga , despite it being a month since her arrival in the Spanish port. It appears that the delay is due to the ship requiring more work than previously thought to prepare her for entering the dry-dock for a €2.5m refurbishment concentrating mostly on her hull and mechanicals. It is understood that onboard power is currently being provided by a generator on the dockside………………………………..” ( Steven Tarbox (niferrysite)


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Steven Brown, Aubrey Dale, Daniel Ferro, Brian Fisher, Alan Geddes, Ken Larwood, Justin Merrigan, Steven Tarbox (niferrysite) and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)


4 Comments

  1. Every summer as a child in the 80’s I would begin my summer holidays on this ship. She would take us to Scotland and weeks later return us home. I will forever associate Galloway Princess with these happy carefree times. Wonderful ship for a child, there was something majestic about her, can’t quite put my finger on it. If I could I’d buy her today and put her back into her original colours, I fear that I cannot be put back to mine.

  2. Very interesting piece, thank you. However, given such a detailed account of the vessel’s history I’m amazed that the most interesting fact of all didn’t even warrant a mention! This is the ferry that Inga-Maria Hauser made her fateful final journey on – she was abducted onboard the Galloway Princess immediately upon docking in Larne on April 6th 1988 and was tragically raped and murdered later that night. It remains the only case of it’s kind to have occurred in Northern Ireland, and is still unsolved all these years later.

  3. This ship is part of my childhood holidays, used to hear it rumbling up loch ryan when i was lying in bed in our caravan. Loved watching it coming in to port too. Hope its back to work soon.

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