© A G JonesMV Prins Albert (II) – Past and Present

MV Prins Albert (II)

ex HMS Prins Albert, Prins Albert (II)

© A G Jones

© A G Jones

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built and engined by Cockerill’s of Hoboken in 1937 (Yard No. 651) for the Belgian Marine Administration’s Ostend service. 

Technical Data

  • Length on deck: 113.60m (370.7 ft)(overall)/108.81m (357.0 ft) (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 14.95m (49.9 ft)(extreme)
  • Depth: 6.52m (21.4 ft) (to shelter deck), 7.59m (24.9 ft)(moulded)
  • Draught: 3.81 (12.75 ft)(maximum)
  • Tonnage: 2,938 gross/1,884 net
  • Engines: Two 12-cylinder Cockerill/Sulzer single acting two-stroke diesels
  • Power: 8,500 hp
  • Speed: 24 knots
  • Capacity:1,829 passengers
  • Call Sign: ORAI
  • Official Number: 72004
  • Registry: Ostend
  • Sister ships:Prince Baudouin II, Prince Philippe I


February 17th 1936: Ordered.

April 23rd 1937: Launched by the King of the Belgians in a joint ceremony with the cargo liner MOANDA.

Arne Pyson Collection

Courtesy of Arne Pyson

September 1937: During trials off  West Hinder light ship attained speed of 25.5 knots


© Urbain Ureel

Arne Pyson Collection

Arne Pyson Collection

September 1937: Delivered to till Belgian Maritime Transport Authority, Oostende, Belgium.

Arne Pyson Collection

Arne Pyson Collection

October 4th 1937: Commenced service between Ostend – Dover.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection (both)

May 18th 1940: When Germany invaded Belgium she left Ostend for Southampton via Le Havre carrying refugees.

May 28th 1940: Taken over by the British Ministry of War Transport.

June 1940: Operated as a troop-transport between England – Cherbourg – Brest – St. Malo.

July 1940: Requisitioned for air target use.

1940: Rebuilt at Harland & Wolff, Southampton.

January 1941 – September 30th 1941: Rebuilt as a armed auxiliary transport at Penarth Pontoon Slipway & Ship repairing Co and renamed HMS PRINS ALBERT.

December 26th 1941: Took part in combined operations such as on the Lofoten Islands in Norway.

1942: Took part in the Canadian attack on Dieppe.

May 1943: Left for the Mediterranean Sea.

June 1943: Took part in the invasions of Italy and Sicily.

October 1943: Returned to England.

June 6th 1944: Took part in the Normandy landings (Omaha Beach).

August 15th 1944: Took part in the landings in Southern France.

October 1944 – December 1944: Commenced service, once more, as a troop-transport.

December 1944: Refitted in Greenock.

January 1945: Left England for India.

May 2nd 1945: Took part in the capture of Rangoon.

February 9th 1946: Left Bombay for England.

Imperial War Museum  Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum, Roy Thornton Collection (Gibraltar 23/02/1946)

Roy Thornton Collection

April 26th 1946: Left England for Belgium.

May 1946 – June 27th 1947: Refitted and refurbished at Cockerill, Hoboken, Belgium.

May 28th 1947: Whilst being refitted suffered a fire.

June 28th 1947: Recommenced service between Ostend – Dover.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

“New” Roy Thornton Collection

August 1966: Laid up in reserve. However, continued to sail on most weekends in the summer season between Ostend – Folkestone and Dover.

© A G Jones  © A G Jones

© A G Jones  © A G Jones

© A G Jones

© A G Jones (all)

© Ted Ingham  © Fotoflite

© Ted Ingham (left) © Fotoflite (right)

September 7th 1968: Made her last sailing and withdrawn.

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

1969: Laid up in Ostend as a “dead ship”.

May 25th 1970: Sold to Van Heyghen Freres, Belgium for scrapping.

June 21st 1970: Scrapping commenced.

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: A G Jones, Ted Ingham, Arne Pyson and Urbain Ureel for their assistance in producing this feature

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

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