British Transport Commission (BTC)FerriesPast and PresentSealink

MV Cambria (V) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 5059020

MV Al Taif

ex Altaif, Cambria (V)

© Ken Larwood

Cambria – © Ken Larwood

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1949 by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Belfast (Yard No 1368) as Passenger/General Cargo/Ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 121.006 m (overall) 114.64 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 17.15 m
  • Depth: 8.412 – 8.329 m
  • Draught: 4.52 m
  • Tonnage:  5284 gross/2849 net/802 – 815 deadweight
  • Engines: 2 SA 8-cylinder B&W (Harland & Wolff) diesels
  • Power: 7982 kW/9600 – 10700 HP
  • Speed: 18 knots (service) 20 knots (loaded trials)
  • Capacity: 2,361/1,900 passengers
  • Crew: 82
  • Call Sign: GBKT, HZBR
  • IMO Number: 5059020
  • Official Number: 183021
  • Port of Registry: London/UK, Jeddah/Saudi Arabia
  • Sister-Ship: Hibernia


September 21st 1948: Launched.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Cambria – Nigel Thornton Collection (Cambria, left)

Nigel Thornton Collection

Cambria – Nigel Thornton Collection

Courtesy of Justin Merrigan Courtesy of John Hendy  

Cambria – Courtesy of Justin Merrigan (Trials) (Left) and Courtesy of John Hendy (Trials) (Right)

May 17th 1949: Delivered to British Transport Commission, London, England.

© William MacDonald Nigel Thornton Collection  

Cambria – © William MacDonald (Left) and Nigel Thornton Collection (Right)

May 1949: Commenced service between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Cambria – Nigel Thornton Collection

1951: Fitted with Denny Brown stabilisers.

1964/1965: Modernised. Included renewal of her passenger accommodation and also the removal of passenger cabins on “C“ deck which were replaced with a new second class lounge. On “D” deck a new second class “smoke room” and “cafeteria” were introduced and on “B” deck the former “smoke rooms” of both classes became a “tea room”. Both her and her sister returned to Holyhead in the new BR livery of red funnels and blue hulls.

Justin Merrigan Collection Justin Merrigan Collection  

Cambria – Justin Merrigan Collection

1965?: In fog, collided with the pier in Dun Laoghaire. She was repaired in Liverpool?

Nigel Thornton Collection  Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection  Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Cambria – Nigel Thornton Collection

December 1967: Heysham – Belfast.

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 would, in the future, be painted in the new house colours.

May 1971: Fire damaged the Britannia Tubular Bridge across the Menai Strait and she was transferred to Heysham – Dun Laoghaire.

January 30th 1972: Commenced service between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

1973: Sealink trading name painted on hulls

Courtesy of John Hendy

Cambria – Courtesy of John Hendy

September 7th 1975: Withdrawn from service.

October 28th 1975: Left Holyhead.

October 31st 1975: Laid up at Barrow.

© William MacDonald

Cambria – © William MacDonald

© George Mason

Cambria – 🆕 © George Mason (Courtesy of Andy Ham) (Barrow between Nov 1975 and Jan 1976)

January 1976: Sold to Orri Navigation Lines, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for £350,000 and renamed AL TAIF.

Justin Merrigan Collection

Al Taif – Justin Merrigan Collection

January 17th 1976: Arrived in the Mersey for bunkers.

January 17th 1976: Left Tranmere (Mersey) for Jeddah.

1978: Registered to Saudi International Shipping Co., Piraeus, Greece.

1980: Registered to Orri Navigation Lines, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Renamed ALTAIF.

January 15th 1981: Sank whilst at anchor in Suez Roads.

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: Jim Ashby, Andy Ham, John Hendy, Ken Larwood, William MacDonald, George Mason, Justin Merrigan and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

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