© A G JonesMV St Christopher – Past and Present

MV IBN Batouta

ex Stena Antrim, St Christopher

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast (Yard No. 1716), for Sealink U.K. in 1980 as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry. Engined by Crossley-Pielstick.

Technical Data

  • Length: 129.40 m (overall) 120.70m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of Hull: 21.00 m (moulded), 21.60m (overall)
  • Depth to upper deck: 11.80m
  • Depth to B deck: 13.20m
  • Draught: 4.65 m (service), 4.72m (scanting)
  • Tonnage: 7,399 gross (1979), 3,386 net, 1,755 deadweight
  • Engines: Two Crossley-Pielstick medium speed 16PC2-5V diesels, 10400 bhp at 520 revs/min
  • Power: 15310 kW
  • Speed: 19.5 knots (service)
  • Capacity: 1,400 passengers, 309 cars, 62 x 12 m freight vehicles or a mixture of the two. Loaded on two decks as follows: Main Deck (height 4.42m) 12 cars or 28 x 12m road haulage vehicles. Upper Deck (height 4.42m) 187 cars or 34 x 12m road haulage vehicles and 40 cars.
  • Call Sign: GBRN (1980), CNA3723 (2004)
  • IMO Number: 7813949 Official Number: 390852
  • Registry: London (1979 – 1999), Stranraer, Tanger, Togo
  • Sister Ships: Galloway Princess, St AnselmSt David


March 18th 1980: Christened, but launch was delayed for two days owing to storms. Owned by Barclays Mercantile Industrial Finance Ltd and to be bare-boat chartered to Sealink UK. Cost £16 million.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

March 20th 1980: Launched .

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

March 14th 1981: Delivered to Sealink UK, London, England.


Nigel Thornton Collection  Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection (both)

March 15th 1981: Commenced service between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

March 19th 1981: Fishguard – Rosslare due to overhaul of STENA NORMANDICA

April 13th 1981: Arrived at Dover.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

April 15th 1981: Maiden voyage between Dover – Calais.

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

November 1981: Made a first Dover – Ostend sailing.

1982: During refit had her bridge deck, aft of her funnels converted for passenger use.

August 1982: Off service with engine problems.

April 2nd 1983: Stern superstructure rebuilt at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

June 9th 1983: Arrived back in Dover.

July 18th 1984: Sale of Sealink U.K. to Sea Containers Ltd, Bermuda. Company changed name to Sealink British Ferries U.K.

July 27th 1984: Registered to Sea Containers Ltd.

© A G Jones  © A G Jones

© A G Jones

January 1985: Refit at Chatham and new Sealink British Ferries livery

Nigel Thornton Collection  © Ken Larwood

Nigel Thornton Collection (left) © Ken Larwood (right)

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

October 1986: Off service with crankshaft problems.

© A G Jones  © Fotoflite

© A G Jones (left) © Fotoflite (right)

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

May 4th 1987: Owing to high winds in Calais, “made contact” with SPIRIT OF FREE ENTERPRISE. Minimal damage caused and able to continue.

October 16th – 17th 1987: During hurricane gusts off South East England hit by seas of such force that the steel door on her upper deck below the bridge was split open and some cargo overturned.

© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell

© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell

© Ed Connell

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

August 30th 1990: Sold to Stena Line, Ab, Göteborg. (Registered to Stena Equipment and Aircraft Leasing Ltd. London (SEAL))

Courtesy of Terry Conyberre

 Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

© Andreas Wörteler  © Ken Larwood

© Andreas Wörteler (left) © Ken Larwood (right)

October 1990: Commenced service for Sealink Stena Line.

1991: Refit at A & P Appledore, North Shields. Renamed STENA ANTRIM then to Fishguard – Rosslare after refit.


© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (North Shields, 16/01/1991)

February 8th 1991: Arrived back in Dover.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

1991: Stena full takeover of Sealink U.K. Ltd for a sum believed to be in the region of £259 million. The fleets livery was changed to reflect the fact.

April 4th 1991: Final day operating between Dover – Calais.

April 7th 1991: Commenced service between Stranraer – Larne.

February 2nd – February 15th 1992: Refit at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

February 1992: Re-registered to Stranraer.

© Aubrey Dale  © Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale (both)

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

November 12th 1995: Commenced service between Stranraer – Belfast.

© Aubrey Dale  © Andreas Wörteler

© Aubrey Dale (left) © Andreas Wörteler (right)

© Aubrey Dale  © Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale (both)

December 31st 1995 (midnight): Stena Sealink Line ceased as a company name and all ships in the fleet adopted the trading name of Stena Line. The fleet was painted in the Scandinavian livery.

© Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale

July 21st 1996: Final day operating between Stranraer – Larne. Laid up in Belfast.

October 28th 1996: Commenced service between Newhaven – Dieppe.

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

© Tony Garner  © Tony Garner

© Tony Garner (both)

March 10th 1998: Commenced service with P&O Stena Line Ltd between Newhaven – Dieppe.

April 22nd 1998: Final day operating between Newhaven – Dieppe.

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

April 24th 1998: Laid up in Zeebrügge.

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

1998: Sold to Limadet and renamed the IBN BATOUTA.

June 13th 1998: Left Zeebrugge for Malaga.

July 1998: Commenced service between Tangier – Algeciras.

© Benoit Donne  © Benoit Donne

© Benoit Donne (both)

March/April 2006: Refit and trading brand scheme alteration in Genoa.

© N Thornton

© N Thornton

© Enrico Righetti  © Enrico Righetti

© Enrico Righetti

© Ivan Meshkov

© Ivan Meshkov

January 2008: Arrived Marseille, France. Taken over by Comanav.

© Daniel Ferro  © Daniel Ferro

© Daniel Ferro

July 2008: Commenced service between Algeciras – Tangier.

© Gerolf Drebes  

© Gerolf Drebes (left) © Juan G Mata (right)

September 2011: Gibraltar for “Sixth Special Survey” to classification society approval, complete overhaul of engines and fitting of two watertight doors on her car-deck enabling her to comply with the Stockholm Agreement Rules concerning damage stability on ro/ro vessels.

January 2012: Financial collapse of owners led to the vessel being laid-up in Algeciras.

May 2014: Remains laid up at Campamento Pier, Algeciras, Spain

© Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer (Laid up 23/07/2014)

© Mike Jackson  © Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson  © Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson (Algeciras 13/10/2014) (all)

Algeciras Bay Port Authority initiated proceedings for the declaration of abandonment for which they offered sale at 1,027,000 euros. The money raised with the sale by auction of the ship would be paid to the Treasury, less credits accrued to the APBA for the fees, port charges over the years and the costs of proceedings.

August 11th 2015: Towed from Algeciras by tug BRUCOLI destination Durres (Albania)


© Juan G Mata

May 16th 2016: Believed to be still laid up in Durres?

 (above: Google Earth)

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: Ed Connell, Aubrey Dale, Carsten Dettmer, Benoit Donne, Gerolf Drebes, Daniel Ferro, Tony Garner, Mike Jackson, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Juan G Mata, Ivan Meshkov, Enrico Righetti and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.

Special thanks to Terry Conybeare

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

1 Comment

  1. The Ibn Batouta has been brought by Red Star Ferries for Italy-Albania Service. If she will replace the current Red Star 1 or will act as a second ship, it still not known.

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