© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)Ts Duke of Argyll (III) – Past and Present

Ts Zenith

Ex Fairy Princess, Faith Power, Corinthia, Neptunia, Duke of Argyll (III)

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)

Steel twin screw turbine vessel built by Harland and Wolff in 1956 (Yard No 1541) for The British Transport Commission originally as a passenger and cargo vessel.

Technical Data

  • Length: 114.64m (overall), 107.91 m (between perpendiculars)
    Breadth of hull: 17.48m (extreme)
    Depth: 5.97m
    Draught: 4.52m (maximum)
    Tonnage: 4,797 (1956), 4,943 (1967) net/2,274 – 2,787 gross/1,111 – 1,017 deadweight
    Engines: Four Denny Pametrada double reduction geared steam turbines
    Power: 7723 kW/10500 shp
    Speed: 14 knots (service), 21 knots (max)
    Capacity: 1,100 passengers (1956), and 105 cars (1970)
    Call Sign: MWNW, C4KD, 9HOS2
    IMO Number: 5094460 Official Number: 165015 (LR 1967 – 68)
    Registry: Lancaster/United Kingdom, Limassol/Cyprus,Valletta/Malta, San Lorenzo/Honduras, Panama


January 12th 1956: Launched. The first of three Dukes, the others being DUKE OF LANCASTER, DUKE OF ROTHESAY.

September 1956: Delivered to British Transport Commission, London Midland Region, England.

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)  Jim Ashby Collection

© British Railways Board (National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library)(left)  Jim Ashby Collection (right)

September 1956: Commenced service between Heysham – Belfast as a passenger ferry.

British Railways Postcard

British Railways Postcard

January 1st 1963: British Railways Board succeeded British Transport Commission.

1964: Vessels painted in the new livery of British Railways, (blue hull and red funnels) and the “Double -Arrow”

© Derek Longly

© Derek Longly

November 1969: It was announced that British Rail’s Shipping and International Services Division (S.I.S.D.) had adopted the new brand name Sealink and as a consequence all vessels were painted in the new house colours.

1970: Converted to a car ferry by Harland and Wolff, with a vehicle deck of only 6ft 6in height, loading from the stern.

Sealink News  

Sealink News

Jim Ashby Collection  Jim Ashby Collection

Jim Ashby Collection

Jim Ashby Collection

January 28th 1970: Re-delivered after rebuild.

February 24th 1970: Resumed service between Heysham – Belfast.

Simplon Postcard

Simplon Postcard

1973: Sealink trading name painted on hulls.

© Malcolm Cranfield

© Malcolm Cranfield

April 5th 1975: The Heysham-Belfast route was closed with the Duke of Argyll running the final sailing to Belfast. April 6th 1975: Became surplus on the Heysham – Belfast service.

1975: Acted as reserve vessel for Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire route.

September 1975: Laid up in Barrow.

October 13th 1975: Sold to A.G. Yannoulatos (Registerad för Cynthia Nav. Ltd., Limassol, Cyprus). Renamed NEPTUNIA.

October 19th 1975: Left Barrow for Piraeus.

October 31st 1975: Arrived at Piraeus.

June 1976: Commenced service for Libra Maritime between Brindisi – Patras – Korint Kanalen – Piraeus.

© A Scrimali  © A Scrimali

© A Scrimali

1978 – 1979: Registered Owner; Cynthia Navigation Co. Ltd. Registered Manager; Cia. Armadora de Sudamercia S.A.

Libra Maritime Postcard

Libra Maritime Postcard

1979: Commenced service between Ancona – Piraeus – Limassol – Haifa.

October 15th 1982 – 1983: Laid up in Chalkis.

1984: Used as a school-ship.

1986: Commenced service between Brindisi – Piraeus – Izmir.

1987: Sold to Scanmed Shipping Co, Valletta, Malta. Renamed CORINTHIA.

1988: Commenced service for Hellenic Mediterrean Lines, Valletta, Malta.

Courtesy of Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell

1992: Operated between Patras – Messina.

Simplon Postcard

Simplon Postcard

1994: Sold to Power Sea Transportation S.A., Panama. Renamed FAITH POWER.

1995: Renamed FAIRY PRINCESS, registered in San Lorenzo, Honduras.

July 20th 1995: Arrived Hong Kong for rebuilding. Renamed ZENITH.

1995: Suffered an engine-room fire. The fire was extinguished and she was run aground. Later re-floated and sold for scrap.

Terry Conybeare Collection  Terry Conybeare Collection

Terry Conybeare Collection

March 1996: Arrived Zhongshan for scrapping.

We would like to thank: Jim Ashby, Terry Conybeare, Malcolm Cranfield, Chris Howell and Derek Longly 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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