ex Sherbatskiy, Oleander, P&OSL Picardy, Pride of Bruges, Pride of Free Enterprise
© Nigel Thornton Collection
Steel triple screw motor vessel built by Schichau-Unterweser AG at Bremerhaven, (Yard No. 2281) West Germany in 1980 as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry. Engined by Sulzer Bros. Ltd., Winterthur.
- Length: 131.91m (overall)
- Breadth of Hull: 23.19m (extreme)
- Depth: 12.6m
- Draught: 5.72m (Maximum)
- Tonnage: 7,951 gross 13,728/3,439 net 4,621/2059 t
- Engines: Three 8,000 bhp Sulzer 12ZV40/48 diesels
- Power: 17,640kW/23967 hp
- Speed: 23 knots
- Capacity: 1,326 passengers, 350 cars (maximum)
- Number of crew: 74
- Call Sign: GBSL (1980 – 2004 ), P3ZJ8 (2004 -)
- IMO Number: 7820497
- Official Number: 379269
- Registry: Dover/UK, Limassol/Cyprus
- Sister Ships: Herald of Free Enterprise, Spirit of Free Enterprise
May 31st 1980: Launched as the Pride of Free Enterprise at Bremerhaven.
After all three identical sisters went into service each had their own distinguishing paintwork: Initially the “Spirit of Free Enterprise” had green bridge roof with white vents together with a green top to the lift housing on the starboard side, to the rear of the funnel. The “Pride of Free Enterprise” had an orange then green bridge roof with “Townsend” orange vents and orange lift housing, the “Herald of Free Enterprise” white bridge roof, vents, lift housing together with black surrounds to the bridge windows.
Bremerhaven 25/09/1980 Courtesy of Andreas Wörteler (© Arnold Kludas)
October 31st 1980: Delivered to Townsend Car Ferries Ltd., Dover, England.
© Fotoflite (left) and © Ken Larwood (right)
November 17th 1980: Visited Pool of London.
Nigel Thornton Collection
November 20th 1980: Left Pool of London.
© Fotoflite, Nigel Thornton Collection (left) and © John Jones (right)
November 23rd 1980: Introduced between Dover – Calais and Dover – Zeebrugge.
February 9th 1982: “Cracked the Herald’s” (HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE) record Dover – Calais. With a force 7 blowing at the time, 52 minutes 49 seconds was clocked
© Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic) (left) and © Ken Larwood (right)
1984: A new TT logo, in white, was introduced on the funnels.
November 8th 1986: “ill” with one engine not working at all and another one far from fit.
1987: Following the “HERALD” disaster, from spring onwards, pale blue funnels with P & O flag logo became the norm.
© Brian Fisher
© Ken Larwood
October 1987: Changed to P&O European Ferries navy blue hull and funnel. Initially the Pride of Bruges upper bridge colours remained the same (green top with red vents) although, after short time, they were painted all white. The Pride of Kent upper bridge colours also remained unchanged (green top with white vents) until her lengthening when she too received a white bridge top with white vents.
© Fotoflite, Nigel Thornton Collection (left) and © Ken Larwood (right)
December 11th 1987: Renamed PRIDE OF BRUGES and installed between Dover – Zeebrugge December 31st 1987: Registered to P&O European Ferries Ltd., Dover, England.
© Brian Fisher (Left) 🆕© Bernd Crause (Right)
February 1988: Laid up at Wilton Feijenoord, Schiedam Harbour near Rotterdam, owing to seamen’s strike
May 1st 1988: Resumed service Dover – Zeebrugge.
© Brian Pawley
March 18th 1991: Sold to Howill Shipping Ltd, London, England, and bareboat chartered for a further period to P&O European Ferries Ltd.
1992: Alongside refit at Chatham.
© Ken Larwood
1992: Operated between Dover – Calais.
© Nigel Thornton (left) and © Andreas Wörteler (right)
October 16th – October 28th 1996: Transferred back to Dover – Zeebrugge.
March 3rd 1998: P&O European Ferries and Stena Line merge their operations on the short sea. The new company was called P&O Stena Line. Registered as a British private sector company, 60% owned by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) and 40% owned by Stena Line AB of Sweden. The new company took over the Dover and Newhaven services of P&O European Ferries and Stena Line.
© Andreas Wörteler (Left) © Simonwp (Right)
March 10th 1998: Introduced between Dover – Calais.
May 1998: Refit in Dunkirk
December 1998: Renamed P&OSL PICARDY.
© Andreas Wörteler
© Pieter Inpyn
January 17th 2000: Last crossing between Dover and Calais
January 2000: Introduced between Dover – Zeebrugge.
February 3rd 2000: Went to Dunkerque to lay-up
April 3rd 2001: Sold to Transeuropa Shipping, Limassol, Cyprus, renamed OLEANDER and continued her lay-up in Dunkerque.
© Andreas Wörteler
© Jean – Guy Hagelstein (both)
© Mark Leiper
2001: Underwent refurbishment at Dunkerque, including the extension of her accommodation aft (cabins).
July 8th 2002: Introduced between Ostend – Ramsgate.
© Carsten Dettmer (left) © Cedric Hacke (right)
July 20th 2004: Transeuropa Ferries started a new passenger service between Ostend and Ramsgate with LARKSPUR and OLEANDER, but initially no coaches or foot passengers.
June 10th 2005: Underwater a survey in the port of Zeebrugge.
© Nigel Thornton
June 12th 2005: Resumed service.
May 18th 2006: Dry-docking at Dunkerque. Expected return to service 21st.
© Robert Fournier
May 20th 2006: Left Dunkerque bound for Ostend and resumed service.
April 23rd 2007: Due at Dunkerque for dry-docking.
© Robert Fournier
May 7th 2007: Resumed service.
© Nigel Thornton
October 3rd 2009: To ARNO, Dunkerque.
October 9th 2009: Sailed from Dunkerque direct to Ramsgate.
October 10th (eve) 2009: Resumed service.
June 21st 2010: To ARNO, Dunkerque.
June 26th 2010: Returned to Ostend to have her internal ramp fitted prior to charter to Commarit. She will be sailing for three months on the Almería-Nador. Anticipated return mid September 2010.
© Cedric Hacke (left) and © Nigel Thornton (right)
July 6th 2010: According to the Port of Ostend, due to sail for Almería.
July 8th 2010: Departed Ostend at 03:30. Her AIS gave an ETA at Nador of 16:00 on 12th July.
July 12th 2010: Due at Almeria.
Almería 18/07/2010 © Juanfra Monzón
14th July 2010: Entered service for Commarit on the 14:00 sailing between Almería and Nador.
September 2010: Charter to Commarit extended.
November 2010: Remains on charter to Commarit operating the Almería to Nador route.
June 2011: Remains on charter to Commarit operating the Almería to Nador route.
September 2011: Laid up in Almería.
May 8th 2012: Left Almeria destination Gibraltar.
May 9th 2012: Arrived in Gibraltar.
“Oleander has entered dry-dock in Gibraltar prior to taking up a charter with FRS to cover the Tanger Med Algeciras route whilst Tanger Express is at a Cadiz shipyard to undergo maintenance and the fitting of an internal ramp to allow access to the upper garage up till now unused due to the lack of shore side ramps at either port. It is rumoured that FRS will retain Oleander on charter for the rest of the summer in the hope that they will be permitted to use her as an additional vessel on the route given that Comarit/Comanav four vessels on this route are laid up due to the precarious financial situation of the Moroccan company.”
May 27th 2012: Arrived in Almería.
Almería 20/09/2012 © Juanfra Monzón
April 9th 2013: Ship manager Kajster Doo Precna pot 20, Portoroz, Slovenia. Registered owner; Novgorod Shipping Company Ltd. Connecting District: RIJEKA (RJK) care of Kajster Doo , Precna pot 20, Portoroz, Slovenia.
Almería 15/03/2013 © Mike Barker
May 2013: Noted as having been renamed SHERBATSKIY.
Almería 20/05/2013 © Mike Barker
Almería 30/07/2014 © Carsten Dettmer (both)
November 3rd 2015: Equasis information indicates she has been sold for scrap.
November 15th 2015: Due in Port Said.
December 11th 2015: Beached at Alang under the name SHER.
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: Mike Barker, Bernd Crause, Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic), Carsten Dettmer, George Holland (Ferry Fantastic), Brian Fisher, Robert Fournier, Cedric Hacke, Jean – Guy Hagelstein, John Jones, Ken Larwood, Mark Leiper, Juanfra Monzón, Brian Pawley, Simonwp and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.