MV St Helen, Past and Present

MV Anna Mur

ex St Helen

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

Steel triple Voith Schneider screw vessel built at Henry Robb Caledon Shipbuilders Ltd., Leith, Scotland in 1983 (Yard no. 535) for Sealink British Rail, London, England as a passenger and vehicle ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 76.97m (overall) 75.01m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 17.23m (extreme) 16.81m (moulded) 21.5m (overall (wheelhouse wings)
  • Depth: 4.53m
  • Draught: 2.452m
  • Tonnage: 2,983 gross/908 net/537 deadweight
  • Engines: Three 6-cylinder H & Wolff-MAN via three Voith Schneider rotating vane propellers.
  • Power: 2,700 bhp/1,876kW
  • Speed: 12 knots
  • Capacity: 1,000 passengers (771 after reclassification), 142 cars 24 trailers via Bow door/ramp/Stern door ramp
  • Call Sign: GDBB, IBKV
  • IMO Number: 8120569
  • Registry: London/United Kingdom, Cagliari/Italy
  • Sister Ships: St Catherine, St Cecilia, St Faith

History

September 15th 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.

November 24th 1983: Delivered to Sealink British Rail, London, England.

November 30th 1983: Introduced between Portsmouth – Fishbourne.

Photoship

Photoship

December 9th 1983: Officially named.

March 28th 1984: Repainted in Sealink livery.

July 27th 1984: Registered to Sealink U.K. Ltd., London.

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.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

December 1984: Refit at Thames Ship Repairers, Chatham.

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

© John Hendy

© John Hendy (September 1984)

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)(May 1986)

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

February 1990: After refit at Chatham sheltered in Dover.

© Nigel Thornton  © A G Jones

© Nigel Thornton (left) © A G Jones (right)

© John Hendy

© John Hendy

© John Hendy

© John Hendy (April 1990)

© Brian Fisher  © Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher (both)

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

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.

© Fay Jordan  Photoship

© Fay Jordan (left) Photoship (right)

1993: Laid up in reserve in Portsmouth.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (Laid up, August 1993)

May 27th 1994: Services between Portsmouth – Fishbourne.

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

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 Hendy

© John Hendy (June 2008)

© John Hendy  © Fay Jordan

© John Hendy (left, September 2009) © Fay Jordan (right)

© Ray Goodfellow

© Ray Goodfellow

July 18th 2014: Mezzanine car deck support cable gave way dropping the loading ramp 6ft onto the deck below. 

Three passengers and a crew member on an Isle of Wight ferry were taken to hospital after the upper car deck of the ship collapsed. The mezzanine floor, which was holding nine cars, was being lowered when it dropped about 6ft on to the deck below.

Three people in their cars and a crew member on the upper deck suffered non life-threatening injuries. Emergency services were called to Fishbourne terminal on the island just before 22:30 BST on Friday. Those hurt were taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Newport, with the crew member later discharged.

A statement from Wightlink Ferries read: “As part of the usual disembarkation process, after vehicles on the lower deck had left the ship, the starboard forward mezzanine deck with nine cars on board was lowered. When it was a short distance from the deck below, it dropped a few feet and made contact with the lower deck. A full investigation into the incident is under way. It has been reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and Wightlink is fully co-operating with the authorities.”

The vessel sailed from Portsmouth Gunwharf at 21:30 with 181 passengers and 11 crew onboard”

July 25th 2014: Brought back into service but “used to support the revised timetable which Wightlink was running on its Portsmouth to Fishbourne route”. The mezzanine decks were not used.

© John Wilson

© John Wilson

November 24th 2014: Wightlink announced that it was retiring the vessel.

March 26th 2015: Scheduled final sailings between Portsmouth – Fishbourne.

© Ray Goodfellow  © Ray Goodfellow

Laid up in Portsmouth 30/03/15 © Ray Goodfellow

July 2015: Sold to Delcomar, Italy and renamed ANNA MUR.

© SDS Ship Photography  © SDS Ship Photography

© SDS Ship Photography  © SDS Ship Photography

© SDS Ship Photographic

September 2015: Sailed to Carloforte, Sardinia

Accident Investigation Report 1/2016

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened, safety lessons and recommendations made:

https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/collapse-of-a-mezzanine-deck-on-board-ro-ro-passenger-ferry-st-helen


We would like to thank: Brian Fisher, John Hendy, A G Jones, Fay Jordan, Ken Larwood, SDS Ship Photographic and John Wilson 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)


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