MV Saint Germain – Past and Present

MV Saint Germain

Bernt Anderson Collection

Courtesy of Bernt Anderson Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built and engined by Helsingør Skibsværft og Maskinbyggeri A/S Helsingor, Denmark, (Yard No 303), for the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF) in 1951

Technical Data

  • Length on Deck: 115.73m (379.7 ft) (overall)
  • Breadth of Hull: 18.47m (60.6 ft) (extreme)
  • Depth: 20.3 ft
  • Draught: 4.12m (13.5 ft)
  • Tonnage: 3,094 gross (1951), 3,492 (from 1976), 846 net (1951), 1,276 (from 1976), 1,299 deadweight (1951), 1,331 (from 1976)
  • Engines: Two 9-cylinder Helsingor Skibs. & Msk. Two-stroke single-acting diesels
  • Power: 4,490 kW
  • Speed: 16.5 knots (service), 18 knots (max)
  • Capacity: 850 passengers (1951), 1,000 (1976 – 1985), 36 sleeping cars and 2 luggage wagons, or 36 goods wagons, or 135 cars on train deck, 25 in garage.
  • Call Sign: FNXF
  • Registry: Dunkerque.
  • IMO Number: 5305895

History

April 5th 1951: Launched

  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

July 1951: Delivered to Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF).

July 24th 1951: Arrived Dunkerque from Helsingör.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

July 26th 1951: Maiden Voyage to Dover from Dunkerque.

July 28th 1951: Commenced service as a train-ferry between Dunkerque – Dover.

Stéphane Poulain Collection  Stéphane Poulain Collection

Stéphane Poulain Collection  Stéphane Poulain Collection

Arriving at Dunkerque from her builders 24/07/1951, Stéphane Poulain Collection

December 11th 1951: Damaged at the stern when she collided with the Prince of Wales Pier in dense fog and as a consequence she was unable to load her “Night Ferry” sleeping cars.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection  Courtesy of Michael Woodland

Roy Thornton Collection (as noted) and Courtesy of Michael Woodland (as noted)

September 6th 1953: Outbound from Dunkerque collided with ST JEAN. Continued to Dover with two of her lifeboats smashed.

May 30th 1958 – July 8th 1958: Operated between Calais – Dover

1959: Whilst operating between Dunkerque – Dover, also made the occasional trip, as cover, between Dover (Eastern Docks) – Calais

  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection  Nigel Thornton Collection

Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

August 1962 – September 1962: Chartered to Townsend Car Ferries, Dover, England for service between Dover – Calais.

© A G Jones

© A G Jones (July 1966)

February 6th 1967: Struck the lock gates at Dunkerque, causing considerable amount of damage.

October 2nd 1967 – October 31st 1967: Operated between Dunkerque – Harwich.

November 1969: It was announced that British Rail’s Shipping and International Services Division (SISD) had adopted the new brand name Sealink and as a consequence all vessels were painted in the new house colours. Her funnel was painted red and her hull blue.

© David Ingham

© David Ingham

Roy Thornton Collection  © Ted Ingham

Roy Thornton Collection (left) and © Ted Ingham (right)

1975 – 1976 (Winter): Overhauled , re-entering service at the end of January 1976. Her passenger accommodation was increased to 1,000 (achieved by the fitting of a new 150 seater lounge on top of her after garage) and she had the word “Sealink“ painted on her hull, something which the rest of the British and French boats had done two to three years before.

© Ted Ingham

© Ted Ingham

July 5th 1976: First vessel to depart from the new Dunkirk West ferry berth.

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection

Courtesy of Bent Anderson Collection

Courtesy of Bernt Anderson Collection

February 21st 1979: Involved in a fatal collision with the Liberian bulk carrier ARTARDI off Calais. Two people were killed, four injured and the Channel ferry extensively damaged. Following her serious collision she returned to service though at a reduced speed to allow some machinery to “bed in”.

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection  © Brian Fisher

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection (left) and © Brian Fisher (right)

February 20th 1985: Continued in service as a freight only ferry.

March 10th 1985: Lost part of a screw and went off service.

March 22nd 1985: Returned to service after repairs.

© Ken Larwood   © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood


Onboard Saint Germain

Courtesy of Jim Ashby   Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Roy Thornton Collection

Courtesy of Jim Ashby (as noted) and the Roy Thornton Collection (as noted)


© Ted Ingham

© Ted Ingham

1985: Acted as relief vessel Harwich – Dunkerque

© Simonwp

🆕 © Simonwp (01/04/1985 @ Felixstowe)

July 8th 1987: “Swinging” at Dover, hit Admiralty Pier: Suffered heavy damage to her bow.

© Mike Sartin  © Mike Sartin

© Mike Sartin

May 16th 1988: Final day in service.

© Mike Sartin  © Mike Sartin

© Mike Sartin  © Mike Sartin

© Mike Sartin

July 21st 1988: Sold to Triton Ship Delivery, London. Renamed GERMAIN. Left Dover for Port Alang India.

August 11th 1988: Arrived in India to be broken up by NCK Sun Exports, Port Alang.

 

“New” Ship model @ Dunkirk Port Museum (© Julien Carpentier)


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: Bernt Anderson, Julien Carpentier, Brian Fisher, Ted Ingham, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Simonwp, Stéphane Poulain, Mike Sartin, Michael Woodland and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

A special thanks go to Jim Ashby, Terry Conybeare and the World Ship Society (East Kent Branch).

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