Roy Thornton CollectionMv Ijzer – Past and Present

Mv Ijzer


Roy Thornton Collection

Steel motor vessel built by Beliard, Creighton & Co. at Ostend in 1954,(Yard No 139) as a freight/cargo vessel for Ministerie van Verkeerswezen .

Technical Data

  • Length: 48.91m (overall)(1954), 66.91m (1973)/61.9m (1973) (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 12.07 m (extreme)(1954), 12.07m(1973)
  • Depth: 3.89m
  • Draught: 3.96m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 1,171 gross , 1,179 (1974)/736 net, 622 (1967), 615 (1974)/457 deadweight, 400 (1967), 521 (1974)
  • Engines: One 8-cylinder, Soc, D’Electricite & De Mec diesel
  • Power: 1306kW (1750 bhp)
  • Speed: 15 knots
  • Call Sign: ORAO (1954 – 1973), ONIJ (1974)
  • IMO Number: 515849
  • Registry: Ostend (1954 – 1973), Antwerp (1974), Cyprus (1978), United Kingdom (1986 – 1988)


July 20th 1951: Ordered.

March 19th 1953: Launched.

Courtesy of M Meyer Courtesy of M Meyer

Courtesy of M Meyer

“A unique vessel for the line (Dover – Ostend) was brought into service during 1954.…. should the need ever arise, her huge bunker space allowed her to sail directly to the Belgian Congo – supposedly with Belgium’s gold reserves and national treasures. Her interior furnishings were completed to a very high order, the ship herself carrying a variety of cargo ranging from import and export cars and latterly containers. At Dover she normally occupied berth 4 on the Admiralty Pier (later the site of the vehicle ferry link span) during her twice weekly service between June and September……..”

Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection (both)

© Ted Ingham © Ted Ingham

© Ted Ingham (both)

© A G Jones

© A G Jones

1966 – 1967: Served briefly as a training ship for the Captains of the Belgian State ferries.

1972: With the increase in roll-on roll-off traffic, her services became superfluous. Sold to N.V. Fadimal, Ostend, Belgium.

1973: Converted to transport livestock and was introduced between Yugoslavia and Beirut.

1978: Lengthened by 18m at Terneuzensche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij (TSM), Terneuzen, Holland together with NV Scheepswerven van Langerbrugge, Langerbrugge, Belgium, then sold to an unknown company in Lebanon and registered in Cyprus.

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite, Nicolas Levy Collection


  © Urbain Ureel (Ostend 20/05/1978)

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite, Nicolas Levy Collection

August 1985: Sold to Indian Summer Shipping, Ltd (Management Proba Shipping, Ltd) Georgetown, Caymen Island.

1988: Sold to G. Kerkhof, Faandam Holland for breaking.

September 22nd 1988: She arrived in Gent, Belgium and then went on to Zaandam in Holland

September 23rd 1988: Arrived at Zaandam.

November 1988: Broken up.

We would like to thank: Ted Ingham, A G Jones, Nicolas Levy, Urbain Ureel and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature. All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for errors and omissions.

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

1 Comment

  1. De “IJZER” was built for the “Ministerie van verkeerswezen” Belgian gouvernement
    The “RMT” Regie voor Maritiem Transport was erected on the 01-jujy 1971.
    The RMT was also part of the Belgian gouvernement but got a different financial structure

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