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MV Finnbirch – Past and Present

 IMO Number: 7528609

MV Finnbirch

Ex Bore Gothica, Stena Gothica, Stena Ionia, Merzario Ionia, Atlantic Prosper, Stena Prosper

© Simonwp

Finnbirch – © Simonwp (Aarhus, 01/07/2003)

Steel twin screw “Stena Searunner” class motor vessel built in 1978 by Hyundai Shipbuilders & Heavy Industries, Ulsan, South Korea (Yard No 646) as a Passenger RoRo Cargo vessel.

Technical Data


August 26th 1977: Launched under the name of STENA PROSPER

February 2nd 1978: Delivered to Stena Container Line, Ltd, London, England and renamed ATLANTIC PROSPER.

February 2nd 1978: Chartered to Atlantic Container Line for services Southampton – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Le Havre – Liverpool – Bremerhaven – Halifax – Montreal – Gothenburg.

© Cees De Bijl

Atlantic Prosper – © Cees De Bijl (Rotterdam, 01/05/1979)

1979: Side sponsons added.

  © Pieter Melissen

Atlantic Prosper – © Marc Piché (Montreal, 24/08/1980)(Left) © Pieter Melissen (Right)

April 1981: Sold to Stena Atlas Line Ltd, Valletta, Malta ( c/o Triport Ferries Management, Glasgow, Scotland)

April 1981: Chartered to Andrea Merzario S.p.A. Genoa, Italy and renamed MERZARIO IONIA.

© Simonwp

Merzario Ionia – © Simonwp (Genoa, 1981)

April 1982: Returned from charter and transferred to Stena Atlas Line Ltd, Limassol, Cyprus. (Management; Three Crowns Marine Management, Limassol, Cyprus). Renamed  STENA IONIA.

April 1982: Chartered to OT West Africa Line.

1984: Transferred to Stena Caribbean Ltd, Georgetown, Cayman Island. (c/o Swedish Caledonian Marine Management Ltd, Clydebank).

January 22nd 1985 – February 1st 1985: Chartered to North Sea Ferries B.V., Rozenburg for services between Rotterdam – Hull.

© Simonwp  © Simonwp

Stena Ionia – © Simonwp (Hull, 19/01/1985)(Left) (Travemunde, 01/06/1985)(Right)

December 27th 1985: Sold to Rederi Ab Concordia, Gothenburg (c/o, Liro Shipping Ab, Bara, Sweden) and renamed STENA GOTHICA for Stena Portlink services between Esbjerg – Harwich.

1986: Rebuilt at Hapag Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven with an extra weather deck.

Stena Gothica – © Fotoflite

  © Simonwp

Stena Gothica – © Simonwp (Felixstowe, 09/06/1986)

February 1987: Company changed name to Stena Rederi Ab, Gothenburg.

October 5th 1987: Company changed name to Stena Ab, Gothenburg.

January 12th 1988: Chartered to Oy Rettig Ab, Helsinki, Finland. Renamed BORE GOTHICA for Bore RoRo services.

© Simonwp

Bore Gothica – © Simonwp (Felixstowe, 01/05/1988)

December 9th 1988: Sold to August Lindholm Eftr. Ab, Stockholm and chartered to Bore RoRo.

January 1989: Services between Åbo – Cuxhaven – Harwich – Cuxhaven – Åbo.

© Capt Jan Melchers

Bore Gothica – © Capt Jan Melchers (Kiel, 27/04/1989)

April 1991: Chartered to the English Ministry of Defence for a trip between Europe – Persian Gulf.

© Yvon Perchoc

Bore Gothica – © Yvon Perchoc (Suez, 01/01/1991)

January 1st 1992: Chartered to Finncarriers Oy Ab, Helsinki, Finland for services Åbo – Rauma – Travemunde – Rostock – Lübeck.

© Simonwp  © Simonwp

Bore Gothica – © Simonwp (Hull, 11/02/1995) (Left) (Hull, 01/04/1995)

1993: Services between Helsinki – Hamina – Hull/Felixstowe.

February 8th 1995: Registered to Bore Lines AB, Stockholm.

November 20th 1996: Renamed FINNBIRCH.

1997: Chartered to P&O North Sea Ferries, Rozenburg for a round trip between Hull – Zeebrügge

1999: Registered to Strömma Turism & Sjöfart AB, Stockholm.

October 2000: Services between Helsinki  – Århus.

Finnbirch – © Tim Becker (Travemunde, September 2002)

© Simonwp

Finnbirch – © Simonwp (Århus, 01/09/2006)

October 31st 2006: 
“Left Helsinki for a scheduled voyage with cargo to Århus, Denmark. The ship had a full load of roll-trailers and semi-trailers and a consignment of block-stowed paper reels. The weather was hard, with northerly winds at 20 m/s and gusts up to 26-29 m/s.”

“During the passage between Öland and Gotland, with a very heavy following sea, the ship the ship suffered from severe list of 30 – 35 degrees to port and after four hours turned upside down and started to sink.  The ship remained stationary with an almost complete cargo shift. The crew immediately sent a Mayday emergency call, assembled on the deck and dressed in survival suits. Rescue to ships in the vicinity was not possible and rescue attempts by helicopter were considered too risky in the circumstances. The crew therefore remained on board until the ship finally capsized and sank approximately four hours later. One crew member was drawn down with the ship and drowned, another succumbed to hypothermia. The other crewmen were rescued from the sea by helicopter.”

Source : Swedish Accident Investigation Branch Report RS 2008:03e

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: Tim Becker, Cees De Bijl, Capt Jan Melchers, Pieter Melissen, Yvon Perchoc, Marc Piché and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

One Comment

  1. Stena Ionia also did a short charter Southampton to leharve for Townsend thorensen around 1984. Using 30 berth on the Itchen.

    She was massive compared to the anu and stena trader which had previously been used..

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