Atlantic Steam Navigation Company (ASN)FerriesPast and PresentTownsend Thoresen

MV Gaelic Ferry – Past and Present

IMO Number: 542714

MV Gaelic

ex Gaelic Ferry

© Fotoflite, Andreas Wörteler Collection

© Fotoflite

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1964 at Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend, England (Yard No 2001) for Atlantic Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., London, England as a passenger and vehicle ferry.

  • Length: 111.22 m (364.9 ft), 131.40m (431.1 ft)(after rebuild) overall, 109.50m (344 ft), 134.9m (ft) (after rebuild) between perpendiculars
  • Breadth: 17.10m (56.1 ft)(extreme)
  • Depth: 10.24m (33.6 ft)
  • Draught:  4.12 m (13.6 ¼ ft)(maximum)
  • Tonnage: 2,760/3,316 gross (after rebuild), 887/1,228 net (after rebuild), 1,701 dead weight, 1,646 (after rebuild)
  • Engines: Two 10-cylinder Sulzer diesels
  • Power: 3,840 kW/5200 bhp
  • Speed: 16.0 knots
  • Capacity: 28 passengers/ 44 (after rebuild), 564 metres of cargo
  • Call Sign: GMHS
  • IMO Number: 542714
  • Registry: London/UK 🇬🇧, Kingstown/Saint Vincent and Grenadines 🇻🇨


October 3rd 1963: Launched

January 1964: Completed.

January 1964: Delivered to Atlantic Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., London, England.

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

January 1964: Introduced between Tilbury – Rotterdam/Antwerp.

© Achim Borchert (Frank Heine Collection) © Chris Howell  

© Achim Borchert (Frank Heine Collection)(Left) and © Chris Howell (Right)

July 12th 1965: Commenced service between Felixstowe – Rotterdam.

January 1966: Opened the new Felixstowe – Amsterdam route.

Werf Gusto, Facebook Werf Gusto, Facebook

🆕 Werf Gusto, Facebook

July 1971: Commenced service between Felixstowe – Rotterdam.

Andreas Wörteler Collection  © Ted Ingham

Andreas Wörteler Collection (Left) © Ted Ingham (Right)

November 18th 1971: Sale of Atlantic Steam Navigation to European Ferries Group, London (Townsend Thoresen).

February 1972: Rebuilt at builders yard with extra passenger accommodation.

March 1973: Lengthened at builders yard by 22.8m.

May 18th 1973: Returned to operational service.

© Wolfgang Fricke (Rotterdam, 01/08/1979)

© Tony Garner © Simonwp

© Tony Garner (Left) (Felixstowe 15/06/1980) and © Simonwp (Right) (Europoort 08/09/1980)

December 1980: Laid up at Tilbury.

November 1981 – December 1981: Operated between Cairnryan – Larne, thereafter laid up in Barrow.

April 1982: Operated between Southampton – Le Havre.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

May 2nd 1982: Introduced between Felixstowe – Rotterdam for a short time, then operated between Southampton – Le Havre.

© Brian Fisher © Tim Webb

© Brian Fisher (Left) and © Tim Webb (Southampton 27/08/1982) (Right)

November 30th 1982: Operated between Cairnryan – Larne.

© Kenneth Whyte

© Kenneth Whyte (Cairnryan)

1983: In the summer operated between Southampton – Le Havre.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

1984: A new TT logo, in white, was introduced on the funnels.

© Fotoflite

May 22nd 1984: Introduced between Portsmouth – Le Havre.

© Patrick Hill

© Patrick Hill (Portsmouth, 27/08/1984)

January 1985: Laid up in Barrow before sailing to Flushing to have stern ramp alterations

© Patrick Heard

© Patrick Heard

July 1985: Saw service between Dover – Zeebrügge.

Dover Ferry Photos Library  © Ted Ingham

Dover Ferry Photos Library (Left) © Ted Ingham (Right)


© Ken Larwood (Left) and © A G Jones (Right)

© Ken Larwood

December 13th 1985: Laid up in Chatham.

1986 (Spring): Towed to Southampton then used as a dumb barge to carry obsolete link-spans from Princess Alexandra Dock, Southampton to Zeebrugge where the plan was that they would be used in the construction of a new double-decker berth.

April 25th 1986: Arrived at Zeebrugge, then laid up.

© Simonwp

© Simonwp (Zeebrugge, March 1987)

September 10th 1987: Sold to Universal Range Shipping Co. Ltd. (Dalmeijer Metalen B.V. Holland), Kingstown, St Vincent. Renamed GAELIC.

October 5th 1987: Towed to Vlissingen to join up with FLUSHING RANGE and later to be towed, by the tug MARKUSTURM, to Taiwan for breaking.

October 16th – 17th 1987: The English Channel was lashed by hurricane force winds. The two ships broke loose and were “lost” for at least 24 hours until they were spotted by a French coastguard aircraft near Cape Finisterre.

October 19th 1987: Both ships were drifting off the Spanish port of Gijon.

© Fotoflite Image Ref 64349

🆕 © Fotoflite (23/12/1987)

December 27th 1987: Broke free again off Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Rescued by the tug SCIROCCO and eventually towed into Port Elizabeth.

December 31st 1987: Tow re-commenced.

March 22nd 1988: Arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan for breaking.


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for errors and omissions. All items included in this article are subject to ©. We would like to thank: Brian Fisher, Fotoflite, Wolfgang Fricke, Tony Garner, Patrick Heard, Chris Howell, Ted Ingham, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Simonwp, Tim Webb, Kenneth Whyte and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

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