MV St Catherine, Past and Present

MV GB Conte

ex St Catherine

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

Steel triple Voith Schneider screw vessel built at Henry Robb Caledon Shipbuilders Ltd, Leith, Scotland in 1983 (Yard no. 534) for Sealink British Rail, London, England as a passenger and vehicle ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 77.02m (overall) 75.62m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 17.02m (extreme) 16.81m (moulded) 21.5m (overall (wheelhouse wings)
  • Depth: 4.53m
  • Draught: 2.452m
  • Tonnage: 2,036 gross/856 net/540 deadweight
  • Engines: Three 6-cylinder H & Wolff-MAN via three Voith Schneider rotating vane propellers.
  • Power: 2,700 bhp/1,986kW
  • Speed: 12 knots
  • Capacity: 771 passengers, 142 cars 24 trailers via Bow door/ramp/Stern door ramp
  • Call Sign: GCZV, ICFZ
  • IMO Number: 8120557
  • Registry: London, Gagliari/Italy
  • Sister Ships: St Helen, St Cecilia, St Faith


Nigel Thornton Collection  Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection (all)

March 30th 1983: Launched. The seats on the deck are a different colour on all the sisters, the ST HELEN/red,  ST CATHERINE/green, ST CECILIA/yellow and ST FAITH/blue.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

June 1983: Delivered to Sealink British Rail, London, England.

June 24th 1983: Arrived in Portsmouth.

July 3rd 1983: Inaugural sailing Portsmouth – Fishbourne.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

February 1984: To Chatham Dock for refit.

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

July 1984: Sealink U.K. was sold to Sea Containers Ltd, Bermuda for just £66 million. The company then operated under the company name of Sealink British Ferries U.K., and a subsidiary company British Ferries Ltd was set up. As theses services were excluded from the sale of Sealink UK Ltd to Stena Line they continued under the Sea Containers banner.

December 1984: Refit at Chatham.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

© Brian Fisher  © Ken Larwood

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

November 1991: Sealink becomes Wightlink, Isle of Wight Ferries after Sea Containers sell off Sealink British Ferries to Stena Line (whilst retaining the Isle of Wight services). A new livery is introduced for all vessels.



 © Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

1994: Sea Containers sell Wightlink to a management buy in led by Michael Aiken and financed by venture capitalists CinVen.

© Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

2005: Wightlink is acquired by the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund, a wholesale fund which makes long-term investments in infrastructure and related assets in European OECD Countries.

© John Jones   © “Ferryman”

© John Jones 24/07/2006 (left) © “Ferryman” 24/03/2009 (right)

January 2010: Sold to Delcomar, Italy.

July 31st 2010: Left Hythe, Hampshire (UK) bound for Sardinia.

July 2010: Renamed GB CONTE.

Delcomar (

September 16th 2010: Commenced services between Calasetta – Carloforte.

2012: Known to be laid up in La Maddalena, then continued Calasetta – Carloforte.

© Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer (Carleforte 05/07/2015)

We would like to thank:  John Jones, Delcomar, Carsten Dettmer, The Ferryman, Ken Larwood, Brian Fisher and Photoship for their assistance in producing this feature. All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for errors and omissions.

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


  1. Hi,
    I am currently writing a short book about my life as an apprentice in the Pallion Shipyard and wanted your permission to use one of your photo’s, on your website, of the St Catherine as an illustration. Is this possible please?

    If this is acceptable, I would send you a copy of my book in appreciation.


    Les Morrell

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