MV Côte Des Flandres
ex Berlioz, Seafrance Berlioz
© Carsten Dettmer
Steel twin screw motor vessel, built by Chantiers Atlantique, France in 2004 (Yard No.032) for Seafrance SA as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry. Engined by Wartsila Corporation, Helsinki, Finland
- Length: 185.82m (overall), 170.1m (between perpendiculars)
- Breadth of Hull: 27.7m (moulded)
- Draught: 6.5m (Maximum)
- Tonnage: 33,796 GRT, 11,502 net, 6,260 deadweight
- Engines: 2 x Wartsila 8L46B, 2 x Wartsila 12V46B diesels
- Power: 39,000kW
- Speed: 25 knots
- Capacity: 1,900 passengers, 2000 lane metres (120 lorries or 700 cars)
- Call sign: FMAB
- MMSI Number: 228085000
- IMO Number: 9305843
- Registry: France
- Sister Vessels: Côte des Dunes
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October 22nd 2003: Keel laid.
August 3rd 2004: Her wheelhouse was lifted into position.
October 14th 2004: Launched. “She will finally be delivered the 17th March and be arriving on the 20th in Calais.”
March 29th 2005: Arrived in Calais.
March 30th 2005: Maiden voyage to Dover, conducting berthing trials (6/7).
© Nigel Thornton
March 31st 2005: More berthing trials (2/6). Second day of thick fog in the Channel.
Monday April 11th 2005: Seafrance sailings between Calais and Dover were heavily disrupted as an engine problem, believed to have been caused by a software fault, was aggravated by the effect of a strike by its officers over proposed new crewing arrangements.
January 16th 2006: To Dunkerque for refit. Anticipated return 30th January 2006.
© Ray Goodfellow
February 23rd 2006: SeaFrance services were subject to delay due to a problem (?) onboard the SEAFRANCE BERLIOZ earlier on today. It is believed she collided with a berth in Calais causing a schedule delay of 1 ½ hours.
© Ray Goodfellow
October 2nd 2006: The SeaFrance overhaul schedule up to the end of February 2006: SEAFRANCE BERLIOZ – 8 Jan – 28 Jan.
17th January 2007: Entered the ARNO dry dock facility in Dunkerque for her annual overhaul.
© Stéphane Poulain
6th February 2007: Returned to the port of Calais to take up service.
2007: Remains in service between Calais and Dover.
January 11th 2008: Returned to Calais after refit at ARNO Dunkerque and resumed service.
March 18th 2009: Left Calais for refit at Newcastle upon Tyne
March 19th 2009: Arrived at A & P Hebburn, Tyne. Anticipated return April 9th 2009.
River Tyne 19th March 2009 © Richard Athey (www.tyneships.co.uk)
Entering A&P Hebburn © Neil C McBride
April 9th 2009: Left A & P Hebburn, Tyne. Returned to Dover early to assist the ailing SEAFRANCE MOLIERE (gearbox problems). She also”lost” her orange safety stripe above the bridge.
April 10th 2009: Resumed service between Calais and Dover.
© M Fournet
November 3rd 2009: To ARNO, Dunkerque (allegedly for EU Emissions tests)
November 8th 2009: Resumed Calais – Dover
January 7th 2010: Left Calais bound for refit at Sobrena, Brest (anticipated 15 days)
January 20th 2010: Returned to Calais
January 21st 2010: Returned to service between Calais and Dover.
Calais 14/12/10 © Ray Goodfellow
January 30th 2011: Departed Calais for refit at A&P Falmouth.
Falmouth 10/02/11 © Schichau
January 31st 2011: Arrived in Falmouth.
February 17th 2011: Departed A&P Falmouth for Calais.
February 19th 2011: Re-entered service between Calais and Dover.
Calais 08/05/11 © Paul Smith
October 13th 2011: Vessel strike bound in Calais.
October 17th 2011: Returns to Service.
October 21st 2011: Seafrance announced “Following a call for industrial action by one of our trade unions, we regret to inform you of the possibility that our services may be disrupted on Tuesday 25th October”
October 24th 2011: The European Union announced that they had blocked the recapitalization of Seafrance by the parent company SNCF as it contravened their rules in relation to state subsidies.
October 25th 2011: All services suspended due to industrial action.
October 26th 2011: Services Resumed.
November 14th 2011: Seafrance suspend channel operations pending a court hearing in Paris.
“We are approaching November 16th, the date when the decision of the Court of commerce will dictate the future of the Company, the Board of SeaFrance has decided, in liaison with the French National Authorities, to suspend the ship operations on the 15th of November at 04 00 hours. The suspension of service will last for 48 hours pending the decision of the court.We have taken this decision, with full knowledge of the consequences, to safeguard the security of the passengers, crews, vehicles and ships. We are conscious of the inconvenience this situation is causing and we apologise for this. We will keep you informed of any changes in the present situation”
November 16th 2011: It is reported that Seafrance is to be liquidated. All vessels remain laid up in the Port of Calais to “Safeguard the security of the vessels”.
January 5th 2012: “The Seafrance Berlioz broke her lines this morning at 10am during strong winds. She drifted into the cable vessel Ile de Batz. Winds were 50kts from West…gusting 60kts at the time. They could start thrusters before a heavier collision. Damages to the starboard bridge wing on The Berlioz… Two tug assisted her to join back her berth…”
© M Fournet
January 9th 2012: Seafrance declared bankrupt. All assets are ceased pending sale to recoup money owed to creditors.
Laid up in the Port of Calais 03/04/12 © Ray Goodfellow
June 11th 2012: It was announced that the assets of Seafrance (including the Berlioz) had been purchased by Groupe Eurotunnel (Eurotransmanche) for €65 million ($84 million). It is intended to charter her to a cooperative of former Seafrance workers (SCOP Seafrance), trading as My Ferry Link.
July 12th 2012: Departed Calais for Dunkerque. Upon arrival in Dunkerque the vessel entered the dry dock at ARNO for a technical refit.
ARNO Dunkerque © Jean-Guy Hagelstein
18th July 2012: Renamed BERLIOZ.
ARNO Dunkerque 18/07/2012 © Jean-Guy Hagelstein
July 21st 2012: Left dry dock and started to receive her new `My Ferry Link’ livery.
August 2nd 2012: Vessel moved to berth “F08/2 Milieu” in Dunkerque for completion of overhaul work and completion of her new livery.
Dunkerque, August 3rd 2012 © Jean-Guy Hagelstein
August 10th 2012: Left Dunkerque and arrived in Calais (15.11 hrs) together with the RODIN.
© Jean-Guy Hagelstein
10th August 2012 (15:30): Arrived in the Port of Calais.
© Julien Carpentier
20th August 2012: Entered service between Calais and Dover for My Ferry Link.
All images © Paul Cloke and Nigel Thornton
© Mike Jackson
27th October 2012: Sustained damage to her port side after the ‘Pride of Burgundy’ made contact with her in the Port of Calais. Withdrawn from service due to damage sustained to her life saving equipment.
28th October 2012: Departed Calais for the ARNO shipyard in Dunkerque for repairs.
6th June 2013: Following an enquiry the UK Competition Commission ruled that Groupe Eurotunnel (GET), which chartered the three MyFerryLink vessels to the SCOP Seafrance, could no longer operate ferry services from Dover as they were deemed anti competitive. This ruling was appealed by GET via the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT). This allowed sailings operated by the company to continue.
© Carsten Dettmer
© Andreas Wörteler
February 19th 2014: Left service and sailed to Dunkerque for refit.
© Ray Goodfellow
March 5th 2014: Resumed service.
May 20th 2014: The Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) upheld the decision of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) banning Eurotunnel from operating ferries from the Port of Dover. Eurotunnel appealed the decision.
January 9th 2015: The Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) once again upholds the decision of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) banning Eurotunnel from operating ferries from the Port of Dover. Eurotunnel appealed the decision via the Court of Appeal in London.
February 9th 2015: To Dunkerque for refit.
Refit at Dunkerque February 2015 © Julien Carpentier
February 22nd 2015: Returned to Calais following refit.
May 15th 2015: The Court of Appeal in London overturned the ruling of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which would see My Ferry Link vessels banned from using the Port of Dover. The Court of Appeal had ruled that the CMA did not have jurisdiction over the purchase of the three ferries. The CMA said they would appeal the decision through the Supreme court.
Arriving Calais 15/04/15 © Ray Goodfellow
May 28th 2015: Groupe Eurotunnel announced that it would end its partnership with MyFerryLink. The lease of the three vessels (Rodin, Berlioz and Nord Pas de Calais) would not be renewed after it expired on 2 July 2015.
June 7th 2015: Groupe Eurotunnel (GET) announced the sale of its maritime assets to DFDS A/S. The sale would include the Rodin and the Berlioz but not the Nord Pas de Calais which would be retained by Groupe Eurotunnel for service between Calais and Dover conveying freight.
“The Eurotunnel Group has decided to sell its maritime activity, MyFerryLink, as the conditions necessary to develop freely did not exist. The Group, which regrets that the SCOP SeaFrance has not had the support it needed to be able to present a takeover proposal, confirms that it holds a binding offer from DFDS for a let to buy sale of the ferries, Rodin and Berlioz.” – Groupe Eurotunnel Press Release
June 8th 2015: DFDS Seaways announced that they had purchased the vessel for a undisclosed sum
June 11th 2015: The Commercial Court of Boulogne placed the SCOP SeaFrance into Judicial Administration.
June 22nd 2015: DFDS A/S confirmed that there offer for the Rodin and Berlioz had been accepted by Groupe Eurotunnel.
“We have now received confirmation that Eurotunnel has accepted DFDS’ offer for the ferries Rodin and Berlioz. From 2 July 2015, DFDS has entered into long term bareboat charter agreements for the two ships. In addition, a put option agreement has been entered into that provides Eurotunnel with the right to require DFDS to purchase the ships. The put option agreement expires at the latest in mid-2017. Eurotunnel can exercise the put option on terms agreed between the parties, including a price reduction equal to any charter payments made before an exercise of the put option.” – DFDS Group Press Release
June 23rd 2015: All sailings cancelled due to industrial action and a blockade of the Port of Calais by My Ferry Link workers in protest against expected job losses. Sailings resumed in the evening. The SCOP Seafrance stated they would appeal the decision of Eurotunnel to not renew the charter of the three vessels.
Departing Calais on what would be her last day in service 28/06/15 © Ray Goodfellow
June 29th 2015: The Boulogne commercial court ruled against the SCOP Seafrance and stated that Eurotunnels decision to end the charter was lawful. All My Ferry Link sailings cancelled due to industrial action.
June 30th 2015: All My Ferry Link sailings between Calais and Dover cancelled due to industrial action.
Port of Calais 02/07/15 © Julien Carpentier
July 1st/2nd 2015: My Ferry Link services ceased operations at midnight and the vessel, occupied by crew, remained in Calais.
September 14th 2015 (05.52 hrs): Towed to Dunkerque East by tugs TRITON and THORAX.
© Erwin Willemse (left) © Wil Weijsters (right)
© Ed Connell
September 14th 2015 (12.10 hrs): Arrived Dunkerque East.
© Julien Carpentier
© Julien Carpentier
November 12th 2015: The vessel was relocated to the Damen shipyard in Dunkerque.
Damen Dunkerque 23/11/15 © Jean-Guy Hagelstein
November 2015: According to AIS transponder information the vessel had been renamed the CÔTE DES FLANDRES
© Julien Carpentier
Damen Dunkerque 01/12/15 © Jean-Guy Hagelstein
© Robert Fournier
December 10th 2015: DFDS Seaways France announced “The Côte des Dunes and the Côte des Flandres will enter service on the 9th and 16th February 2016 respectively.”
February 23rd 2016 (05.24 hrs LT): Left Dunkerque east and conducted sea trials.
AIS track of the Côte des Flandres showing her sea trials
February 23rd 2016 (13.40 hrs LT): Conducted berthing trials Dunkerque west before sailing to Calais.
February 23rd 2016 (18.02 hrs LT): Arrived in Calais.
© Stéphane Vancutsem
February 23rd 2016 (19.46 hrs LT): Inaugural sailing to Dover.
© Nigel Scutt (Dover-Marina.com) (left) and © Simonwp (right)
© Gary Andrews (All)
© Nigel Thornton (21/03/2016)
© Ray Goodfellow
February 6th 2017: To Damen, Dunkerque for refit.
February 12th 2017: Left Dunkerque to resume service.
March 4th 2018: Arrived in Dunkerque for maintenance.
Dunkerque 04/03/18 © Julien Carpentier
March 5th 2018: Anticipated return to service.
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: Micke Asklander, Paul Cloke, Ed Connell, Carsten Dettmer, Stéphane Poulain, Robert Fournier, Richard Athey (www.tyneships.co.uk), Neil C McBride, M Fournet, George Holland, Paul Smith, Schicau, Jean-Guy Hagelstein, Julien Carpentier, Mike Jackson, Nigel Scutt (Dover-Marina.com), Simonwp, Stéphane Vancutsem, Gary Andrews, Wil Weijsters, Erwin Willemse and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.