British Channel Island Ferries (BCIF)Brittany Ferries (BAI)FerriesIrish Continental Group (ICG)Irish FerriesMarlinesPast and PresentSealink

MV Breizh-Izel – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7006819

MV Duchess M

ex Balbeck, Duchess M, Breizh-Izel, Iniochos Express, Rata Hills, Wanaka

© A Scrimali (Roy Thornton Collection)

© A Scrimali (Roy Thornton Collection)

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1970 at Taikoo Dockyard & Eng. Co, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong (Yard No 598) for Union Steamship, Wellington, New Zealand as a passenger and vehicle ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 111.6m (overall) 103.00m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 17.07m
  • Depth: 10.85m
  • Draught: 4.97m
  • Tonnage: 2769 gross/744 net/2560 deadweight
  • After rebuild 6,576 gross/2,400 bet/1657 deadweight
  • Engines: (2) pielstick – Crossley 12 PC-2V diesels
  • Power: 8312kW/HP
  • Speed: 16.5 knots
  • Capacity: 12 passengers (1,000 after rebuild) 230 cars (after rebuild) , 65 freight vehicles.
  • Call Sign: ZMTJ, FNSR, P3JE3
  • IMO Number: 7006819
  • Official Number: 191856
  • Port of Registry: Dunedin/New Zealand 🇳🇿, Piraeus/Greece 🇬🇷, Morlaix/France 🇫🇷, Limassol/Cyprus 🇨🇾
  • Sister-Ship: Hawea (581)


April 1971: Delivered to Union Steamship, Wellington, New Zealand.

Courtesy of Chris Howell Courtesy of Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell (Both)

1970: Introduced, as a freight ferry between Christchurch – Wellington.

1976: Sold to Sealanes Transport Co, Piraeus, Greece and renamed RATA HILLS.

1978: Sold to Iniochos Shipping S.A. Piraeus, Greece and renamed INIOCHOS EXPRESS.

© A Scrimali (Roy Thornton Collection)

© A Scrimali (Roy Thornton Collection)

1980: Sold to Brittany Ferries S.A., Morlaix, France and renamed BREIZH-IZEL.

© Brian Fisher © Brian Fisher  

© Brian Fisher

1980: Service between Plymouth – Roscoff -Santander.

July 1981: Chartered to Irish Continental Lines, Dublin, Ireland for a few weeks for services between Rosslare – Cherbourg – Roscoff

© Simonwp

🆕 © Simonwp (Portsmouth, January 1982)

February 1982 – March 1982: Chartered to Sealink UK Ltd, England for services between Stranraer – Larne.

November 5th 1983: Chartered to Overseas Container Services (OCS) for services between Newhaven – Dieppe.

© D R Longly

© D R Longly (Newhaven under the “Mack Ro-Ro” banner)

 © Simonwp  © Simonwp

© Simonwp (Portsmouth, 01/12/1983) 🆕 Courtesy of Simonwp (Both)

1987: Chartered to British Channel Island Ferries for services between Portsmouth – Jersey – Guernsey.

© Brian Fisher © Brian Fisher  

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

© Patrick Hill  © Ken Larwood

© Patrick Hill (St Peter Port, 02/091987) (Left)© Ken Larwood (Weymouth, December 1987)(Right)

February 27th 1989: Final day in service for British Channel Island Ferries.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Le Havre, 01/05/1989)

1989: Sold to Marelite Marine Co. Ltd, Limassol, Cyprus and renamed DUCHESS M.

1989: Rebuilt as a passenger ferry in Greece.

1990: Services for Marlines between Patras – Ancona.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Patras, 12/07/1990)

1991: Services between Patras – Brindisi.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Igoumenitsa, 24/07/1994)

1995: Services between Bari – Igoumenitsa.

1999: Sold to Shinedeck Shipping Ltd., Limassol, Cyprus and renamed BALBEK.

© Peter J Fitzpatrick

© Peter J Fitzpatrick

1999: Laid up in Eleusis Bay, Greece.

June 24th 2000: Services for Marlines between Igoumenitsa – Bari.

September 12th 2000: Laid up in Eleusis Bay, Greece.

June 2001: Services between Bari – Igoumenitsa.

July 2001: Renamed DUCHESS M and chartered to Italian authorities to become Hotel vessel during the G8 summit in Genoa.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Bari, 07/07/2001)

August 2001: Laid up in Eleusis Bay, Greece.

June 29th 2002: Services between Bari – Kotor.

© Aleksi Lindström © Aleksi Lindström  

© Aleksi Lindström

2002: Laid up in Keratsini.

June 28th 2003 – September 14th 2003: Services between Bari – Durres/ Bar.

July 1st 2004 – September 18th 2004: Services between Bari – Durres/ Bar.

July 1st 2005 – September 2005: Services between Bari – Durres/ Bar.

December 11th 2005 – September 2006: Services between Bari – Durres/ Bar.

© Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer

September 2006: Arrived in Drapetsona.

June 29th 2007: Left Piraeus for Bari.

July 1st 2007: Services between Bari – Durres/ Bar.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Bari, 02/08/2007)

September 10th 2007: Laid up in Eleusis Bay.

© Aleksi Lindström

© Aleksi Lindström

May 13th 2008: Towed to Drapetsona.

© Aleksi Lindström

© Aleksi Lindström

June 28th 2008: Left Drapetsona for Durres.

June 30th 2008 – September 6th 2008: Services between Bari – Durres.

© George Koutsoukis © George Koutsoukis  

© George Koutsoukis

November 17th 2011: Laid up in Eleusis Bay.

November 2014: Renamed CHESS to be towed for breaking in Turkey.

December 1st 2014: Arrived at Aliaga, Turkey for breaking.

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Carsten Dettmer, Brian Fisher, Peter J Fitzpatrick, Frank Heine, Patrick Hill, Chris Howell, George Koutsoukis, Ken Larwood, Aleksi Lindström, Derek Longly, Simonwp and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

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