FerriesMoby LinesPast and PresentTownsend Car FerriesTownsend Thoresen

MV Free Enterprise II – Past and Present

IMO Number: 6506317

MV Moby Blu

ex Free Enterprise II

© Ted Ingham

Free Enterprise II © Ted Ingham

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built by N.V. Werf “Gusto”, Schiedam, Rotterdam, (Yard No. 502) for Townsend Bros. Ferries Ltd., in 1965. Engined by J. & K. Smit of Kinderdijk

Technical Data

  • Length: 108.11m (354.7 ft) (overall)
  • Breadth of Hull: 17.9m (extreme)
  • Draught: 4.00m (13.2 ft) (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 4,011 gross, 1,576 net, 457 dead weight
  • Engines: Two 12-cylinder Smit-M.A.N.  RBL 6612 four-stroke single acting diesels.
  • Power: 5664 kW/3850 bhp
  • Speed: 19.0 knots
  • Capacity: 998 passengers, 205 cars (as built), 1,200 passengers, 230 cars (as Moby Blu)
  • Number of crew: 79
  • Call Sign: GQMA (1965)
  • IMO Number: 6506317
  • Official Number: 304770
  • Registry: Dover (1965 – 1982), Cagliari (1982 – 2003)

History

“This vessel was the first British-registered drive-through car ferry”

August 1964: Keel laid

January 29th 1965: Launched by Mrs Bernice Nott (wife of the Chairman of George Nott Industries).

Free Enterprise II

May 9th 1965: Delivered to Townsend European Ferries, Dover, England.


Construction

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV  Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV

Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV


May 22nd 1965: Introduced between Dover – Calais.

Courtesy of Philippe Brébant

Free Enterprise II – Courtesy of Philippe Brébant (Association Paquebots & Marine Marchande)

March 17th 1966: Opened the new service from Dover to Zeebrugge.

1967: Commenced services between Dover – Calais/Zeebrügge.

Fotoflite, Roy Thornton Collection

Free Enterprise II – Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection  

Roy Thornton Collection

Free Enterprise II – Roy Thornton Collection (both)

© A G Jones © A G Jones  

Free Enterprise II – © A G Jones (Both)

© Ken Larwood

Free Enterprise II – © Ken Larwood

September 12th 1968: Registered to Thoresen Car Ferries A/S, Oslo and chartered for 20 years to Thoresen Car Ferries Ltd., Southampton. Merger of Otto Thoresen Shipping Co, A/S, Oslo and Townsend Car Ferries, Dover. Companies named changed to Townsend Thoresen Car Ferries.

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection

Free Enterprise II – © Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection

© A G Jones © A G Jones  

© A G Jones

Free Enterprise II – © A G Jones (05/07/1969 @ Calais)

1970: Laid-up in Wellington Dock, Dover before operating the Southampton – Cherbourg service between June 18th and September 1970.

© Ted Ingham © Ted Ingham  

Free Enterprise II – © Ted Ingham

© Michael Woodland

Free Enterprise II – © Michael Woodland

Free Enterprise II – Courtesy of Philippe Brébant (Association Paquebots & Marine Marchande)

September 22nd 1970: Laid-up at Zeebrugge and later towed up the canals to Bruges.

© Marc-Houtekamer

Free Enterprise II – © Marc-Houtekamer

Matt Murtland (HHV Ferry)  

Free Enterprise II – Matt Murtland (HHV Ferry) 

April 30th 1971 – September 19th 1971: Operated between Southampton – Cherbourg. On completing her service she sailed to Le Havre where she successfully tested the link-span on the 23rd September. She then left to relieve on the Dover-Zeebrugge link, where she covered for the VIKING IV.

© Fotoflite Fotoflite 

Free Enterprise II – © Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection Fotoflite

December 31st 1971 – January 9th 1972: Chartered to the London “Evening News” in the Pool of London to act as a venue for a racing car show. Winter lay-up was at Bruges for a third year.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Free Enterprise II – Nigel Thornton Collection

1972: “Townsend Thoresen” was added in small white letters on the hulls and TTF logo appeared on funnels in pale green.

© Richard Parsons

Free Enterprise II – © Richard Parsons (Courtesy of Malcolm Cranfield)(Left) and © D R Longly (Southampton, 1972) (Right)

May 19th 1972 – September 24th 1972: Operated between Southampton – Cherbourg. Then laid up.

May 11th 1973: Re-appeared at Southampton commencing Southampton – Cherbourg from the 18th. This lasted until September.

© Petroc

Free Enterprise II – © Petroc (Spithead, August 1973)

January 5th 1974 – January 20th 1974: She again went to the Pool of London, then to Southampton for a brief lay-up.

April 5th 1974: To Dover

June 27th 1974 – September 15th 1974: Southampton – Cherbourg service.

Free Enterprise II – Courtesy of Philippe Brébant (Association Paquebots & Marine Marchande)

1974: All ships had hulls painted dark green with company name in large white letters.

Nicolas Levy Collection Courtesy of Philippe Brébant

Free Enterprise II – Nicolas Levy Collection (left) and Courtesy of Philippe Brébant (Association Paquebots & Marine Marchande) (right).

1976 – 1977: Thoresen orange hulls were adopted for all ships and funnels eventually became dark green with orange TTF logo although initially they did not have black tops

© Michael Woodland Steve Salter Archives  

Free Enterprise II – © Michael Woodland (Left) and © Steve Salter Archives (Camber, Dover 1977) (Right)

1977 (Winter): Laid up at Tilbury.

1979 (Summer): Operated between Portsmouth – Cherbourg.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Free Enterprise II – Nigel Thornton Collection

1979 (Autumn): Operating with FREE ENTERPRISE I and FREE ENTERPRISE III on the Calais route.

September 3rd 1979: Laid up at Tilbury.

© Tim Webb

Free Enterprise II – © Tim Webb (Tilbury, 03/11/1979)

May 21st 1980 – June 11th 1980: Chartered to Sealink UK. Operated Weymouth – Jersey – Guernsey to cover for EARL WILLIAM which was off service with generator trouble.

  

Free Enterprise II – Steve Salter Archives (1980) (Both)

1980 (late summer): Operated between Portsmouth – Cherbourg, then laid up in Newhaven.

June 18th 1981 – July 1981: Chartered to Sealink UK for Weymouth – Jersey – Guernsey services.

1981 (late summer): Operated between Portsmouth – Cherbourg.

September 1981: Laid up in Le Havre.

April 1982: Laid up at Southampton pending sale.

© Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic) © Ken Larwood  

Free Enterprise II – © Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic) (left) and © Ken Larwood (right)

October 1982: Sold to Nav. Arcipelago Maddalena Spa, Naples, Italy. (Moby Lines). Renamed MOBY BLU.

October 14th 1982: Left Southampton for Sardinia.

1983: Commenced service between Livorno – Bastia.

© Ken Larwood © Ken Larwood  

© Ken Larwood

Moby Blu – © Ken Larwood (Bastia, June 1987)

© Frank Heine © Frank Heine  

Moby Blu – © Frank Heine (Porto S. Stefano, 21/07/1989)

1993: Laid up at Cagliari.

During the early 1990s Navarma acquired further used ferries, which replaced the Moby ferries acquired in the 1980s. During the same time “Moby Lines” was adopted as the official company name

199?: Commenced service between Porto S. Stefano – Bastia.

1997: Operated between Piombino – Portoferraio.

© Frank Heine

Moby Blu – © Frank Heine (Piombino, 30/07/1997)

2001: Registered to Moby Lines S.r.l., Cagliari, Italy.

Simplon Postcard Roy Thornton Collection © Andreas Wörteler  

Moby Blu – Simplon Postcard Roy Thornton Collection (left) and © Andreas Wörteler (right)

July 2001: Laid up at Cagliari. Then services between Piombino – Portoferraio.

© Frank Heine © Frank Heine

Moby Blu – © Frank Heine (Piombino, July 2002)

November 10th 2003: Sold to Indian breakers St Vincent/ Grenadines. Renamed MOBY B.

December 15th 2003: Arrived at Alang, India for breaking. The first “Free Enterprise” to go for scrap


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Micke Asklander, Philippe Brébant (Association Paquebots & Marine Marchande), Malcolm Cranfield, Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic), Brian Fisher, Frank Heine, Marc-Houtekamer, Ted Ingham, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Nicolas Levy, Derek Longly, Matt Murtland (HHV Ferry), Petroc, Stéphane Poulain, Tim Webb, Michael Woodland, Andreas Wörteler and Simplon Postcards for their assistance in compiling this feature.

Special thanks go to Steve R Salter and Dirk H. Allewelt (Gemeentearchief Schiedam / IHC Gusto BV).

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

One Comment

  1. Hi, interesting to see her again, my uncle was a purser on Free Enterprise 2, living in Deal, and during the summer of 1979 I worked onboard as a member of the catering team in the buffet, 8.00am – 8.00pm day on day off for two weeks, then seven nights 8.00pm – 8.00am, did this for around 3 months I recall. I stayed in Deal with my uncles family as I lived in Warwickshire and commuted daily along the coast road on my trusty Honda CB100. During the last few weeks we were berthed in Dover, which i assume was prior to the move to Sealink, can’t remember myself but did enjoy not having to deal with so many passengers!

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