Blue Star FerriesFerriesGolden Star FerriesPast and PresentRegie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT)SealinkStrintzis Lines

MV Prince Laurent – Past and Present

MV Superferry II

ex Ionian Express, Prince Laurent

Nigel Thornton Collection

Prince Laurent – Nigel Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel built by N.V. Boelwerf S. A., Temse, (Yard No. 1477) in 1974 for the Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT) Ostend service as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car ferry. Engined by Chantiers de l’Atlantique, St. Nazaire

Technical Data

  • Length on deck: 118.01m (387.2 ft)(overall)/111.61m (366.2 ft) (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 19.21m (65 ft)(extreme)
  • Depth: 11.56m (37.9 ft) (moulded)
  • Draught: 4.3m
  • Tonnage: 5,052 gross, 8,789/2,407 net, 2,406/1,029 deadweight, 1,495
  • Engines: Two 18-cylinder Atlantique/Pielstick four-stroke 18PC2V-400 SA diesels
  • Power: 13,240kW
  • Speed: 22 knots
  • Capacity: 1,302 passengers, 189 cars (1974)/2,440 passengers, 271 cars (1992)
  • Call Sign: ORAH (1974 – 1992), SWKV
  • Registry: Oostende (1974 – 1992), Piraeus
  • IMO Number: 7346221
  • MMSI Number: 237001000
  • Sister Ships: Prins Philippe

Current Location

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February 6th 1974: Launched.

© Jean François Berden  © Jean François Berden

© Jean François Berden  © Jean François Berden

© Jean François Berden  © Jean François Berden

© Jean François Berden  © Jean François Berden

© Jean François Berden  © Jean François Berden

© Jean François Berden, Courtesy of Boelwerf Blog

© Ronald Steenacker © Ronald Steenacker

© Ronald Steenacker

July 1974: Delivered to Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT), Ostend, Belgium.


© Urbain Ureel

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

June 28th 1974: Entered service at the official opening of the new Admiralty Pier linkspan at the Western Docks, Dover. With the added headroom to her vehicle deck that the folding mezzanine deck afforded, she could carry as many as 24 ro-ro units as opposed to her earlier sister’s 13, but only 189 cars, 54 less than the PRINS PHILIPPE.

© A G Jones  © Ken Larwood

© A G Jones (left) and © Ken Larwood  (right)

July 15th 1974: Commenced service between Ostend – Dover.

© Ken Larwood  © Brian Fisher

© Ken Larwood (left) and © Brian Fisher (right)

© Kevin Hoggett

© Kevin Hoggett

February 2nd 1978: Collided with the quayside in Dover and repaired in Ostend.

© John Jones  © Simonwp

© John Jones (left)  © Simonwp (Dover Western Docks 12/09/1978)(right)

October 25th 1985: An agreement with Townsend Thoresen (The European Ferries Group) was successfully concluded and completely excluded Sealink UK Ltd.

© John F Hendy  © John F Hendy

© John F Hendy  © John F Hendy

© John F Hendy

© Robert Bertel  © Robert Bertel

© Robert Bertel

October 1985: The agreement with Townsend Thoresen (The European Ferries Group) was duly passed on to P&O European Ferries (due to end in December 1990). The Ostend ships all received the Townsend Thoresen orange hulls and carried their trading name.

© John F Hendy

© John F Hendy (November 1985 @ Ostend prior to entering service with new livery)

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

© Brian Fisher  © Ted Ingham

© Brian Fisher (left) and © Ted Ingham (right)

© Pieter Inpyn  © Fotoflite

© Pieter Inpyn (Left) and © Fotoflite (Right)

1987/1988: A completely new livery, reflecting that carried by the P&O European Ferries fleet, was adopted during the 1987/88 refits. For the first time in the history of the Dover-Ostend service, the buff (later changed to a lighter shade of yellow) funnels were painted-out in favour of a shade of blue.

© Urbain Ureel

Nigel Thornton Collection  © Brian Fisher

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

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

February 4th 1990 – May 1990: Chartered to Sealink Dieppe Ferries. Operated between Dieppe – Newhaven.

Bernt Anderson Collection  Bernt Anderson Collection

Bernt Anderson Collection

1991: Fourth new livery in seven years under the official trading name, The Dover – Ostend Line.

© Andreas Wörteler  © David Ingham

© Andreas Wörteler (left) and © David Ingham (right)

Courtesy of Michael Woodland

Courtesy of Michael Woodland

1991: In the autumn she was laid up.

July 6th 1992 -July 10th 1992: Dry-docked at Vlissingen.

July 29th 1992: Sold to Strintzis Line, Piraeus, Greece and renamed IONIAN EXPRESS leaving Ostend for Perama for rebuilding.

May 1993: Renamed SUPERFERRY II, and introduced between Rafina – Andros – Tinos – Mykonos – Syros.

© Ton Grootenboer  © Carsten Dettmer

© Ton Grootenboer (left) and © Carsten Dettmer (right)


© Bernd Crause

1999: During the rush of mergers a large shareholding was sold in Strintzis Ferries and the owners then traded under the name Blue Star Ferries. Although initially the older vessels were styled as Blue Ferries, they are now all marketed under the single strong brand of the main fleet.

© Ton Grootenboer  © Andreas Wörteler

© Ton Grootenboer (left) and © Andreas Wörteler (right)

© Andreas Wörteler  © Ken Larwood

© Andreas Wörteler (left) and June 2004 © Ken Larwood (right)

September 25th 2010: Collided with the pier as she approached the island of Tinos. The Ferry had departed from the island of Andros carrying 124 passengers. No injuries were reported and according to official information, the ferry will not be able to sail until the controlled water inflow is totally stopped. The Coast Guard is further investigating the conditions and causes of the accident, which could have been fatal under different circumstances.

February 27th 2011: Having been sold to new owners made her final sailing under the Blue Star banner.

© John F Hendy  © John F Hendy

© John F  Hendy (both)

March 4th 2011: Due to start running for her new owners, Golden Star Ferries, Rafina to Andros, Tinos and Mykonos. Not being renamed.

© Tasos Papanastasiou

© Tasos Papanastasiou

August 25th 2016: Noted as still being in service.

© Dimitris Mentakis

© Carsten Dettmer  © Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer (Rafina 24/08/2017)

October 14th 2019: Completed her summer season in Rafina.

October 14th 2019: Sailed to Piraeus for “Winter lay-up”.

August 2020: Still in service Rafina to Andros, Tinos and Mykonos

© Carsten Dettmer

🆕 © Carsten Dettmer (Rafina 07/08/2020)

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Jean François Berden, Robert Bertel, Bernd Crause, Carsten Dettmer, Brian Fisher, Ton Grootenboer, John F  Hendy, Kevin Hoggett, Ted Ingham, Pieter Inpyn, A G Jones, John Jones, Ken Larwood, Dimitris Mentakis, Tasos Papanastasiou, Simonwp, Ronald Steenacker, Urbain Ureel, Michael Woodland and Andreas Wörteler.

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

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  1. Nice to see another early seventies ferry still earning its keep

    Like others that have gone to the Med, a lot of passenger space has been created aft, but what a stylish bow she has now.

  2. Still sailing serenely in the Aegean. Saw her off the East coast of AntiParos, bound for Paros today, 3rd May 2018

  3. Sailling today from Tinos to Rafina in Superferry II, good old school boat in a very decent condition! The ship is doing the 2020 (Covid-19…) summer season, unlike some of the highspeed boat that are not used this year.

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