CenargoCurrent Local Ferry FleetFerriesIrish Continental Group (ICG)Irish FerriesNorfolk LinePast and PresentTrasmediterránea

MV Isle of Innisheer – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9181091

MV Isle of Inisheer

ex Ciudad de Mahón, Zurbaran, Northern Merchant

© Peter Therkildsen

Isle of Innisheer – © Peter Therkildsen 

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 2000, by Astilleros Espanoles SA (AESA) Seville, Spain, (Yard No. 289) for Cenargo (owners of Norse Merchant Ferries plc) as a passenger roll-on roll-off commercial freight ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 179.93 m (overall)
  • Breadth of Hull: 25m (moulded)
  • Draught: 6,50 m
  • Tonnage: 22,152 gross, 6,645 net, 7,477 deadweight
  • Engines: Four 9-cylinder Wartsila diesels
  • Power: 23760 kW
  • Speed: 23 knots
  • Capacity: 214 passengers, 144 (13.5 m ) commercial trailers
  • Call Sign: MZXK7, ECLK, 5BYW5
  • MMSI Number: 210780000
  • IMO Number: 9181091
  • Registry: Dover/United Kingdom 🇬🇧, Santa Cruz de Tenerife/Spain 🇪🇸, Limassol/Cyprus 🇨🇾
  • Sister Vessels: Brave Merchant (288) , Dawn Merchant (287), Midnight Merchant (290), Murillo (291)

Location Data

Please note that this vessels AIS transponder and position data may be over an hour old and that this specific vessels position will only be displayed when it is within range of the MarineTraffic AIS system. The AIS transponder/ship position data featured on this page is intended for information purposes only and it is no way related to the safety of navigation at sea. All the AIS ship position data featured within this page is provided by marinetraffic.com and we are therefore not responsible for the content or the accuracy of this data


May 15th 1999: Launched.

February 26th 2000: Delivered to Merchant Ferries, Dover, England (Cenargo International Ltd, Nassau, Bahamas).

The ‘Racehorse’ class quartet of ro-pax sisters were built between 1997 and 2000 for the Cenargo Group. The first pair came into service with Merchant Ferries who named the vessels after the well known racing thoroughbreds ‘Dawn Run’ (Dawn Merchant) and ‘Dancing Brave’ (Brave Merchant). These vessels, at 22,046grt, where slightly smaller in tonnage terms compared to their 22,215 grt Norfolkline chartered sisters Midnight Merchant and Northern Merchant. The Murillo built in 2002 for the Spanish shipping company Trasmediterranea was based on the same design.

March 14th 2000: Left Seville for Dover.

March 18th 2000: Arrived at Dover (In Merchant Ferry livery).

© Ken Larwood

Northern Merchant – © Ken Larwood

March 20th 2000: Commenced her charter to NorfolkLine, being immediately introduced on the Dover-Dunkerque route.

March 22nd 2000: Collided with the quayside at Dover suffering minor damage.

March 2000 – April 2000: Chartered to DFDS Tor Line and introduced between Harwich – Esbjerg.

April 10th 2000: Re-introduced into service between Dover – Dunkerque.

© Stéphane Poulain

Northern Merchant – © Stéphane Poulain

July 2000: Undertook berthing trials at the port of Ramsgate.

© Mark Leiper  © Mark Leiper 

Northern Merchant – © Mark Leiper

January 6th 2002: Collided with HSC DIAMANT in fog off Dover. One person was injured and there was only minor damage to both ferries.

April 2002: Refit at Arno, Dunkerque.

© Stéphane Poulain  © Stéphane Poulain 

Northern Merchant – © Stéphane Poulain

© Fotoflite © Fotoflite

Northern Merchant – © Fotoflite

October 4th 2002 – October 18th 2002: Refit at Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven.

February 29th 2004: In dry dock at the Damen Shipyard at Schiedam, the Netherlands.

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton 

Northern Merchant – © Nigel Thornton

 © Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

Northern Merchant – © Andreas Wörteler

July 1st 2004: Norfolkline’s three Channel Ferries will be run by a newly-formed shipping group in a multi-million pound deal. Indo-China Ship Management (UK) has won the contract to operate and crew the ships. “Please note that due to urgent maintenance there will be a restricted sailing schedule between Sunday 4th July and Tuesday 13th July 2004.” The route cause of the problem was a faulty gearbox.

© John Mavin

Northern Merchant – © John Mavin

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

Northern Merchant – © Nigel Thornton

© Andreas Wörteler  © Andreas Wörteler

Northern Merchant – © Andreas Wörteler

February 25th 2006: Due to by dry-docked next week for re-conversion following her finishing service on the Dover – Dunkerque route.

© Nigel Thornton

Northern Merchant – © Nigel Thornton

© Pieter Inpyn  © Pieter Inpyn

Northern Merchant – © Pieter Inpyn

March 4th 2006: Stood down from service at midnight GMT and sailed to Dunkerque West. (MIDNIGHT MERCHANT will take up her schedule and MAERSK DUNKERQUE will take up the MIDNIGHT MERCHANT’S schedule.)

© Robert Fournier

Northern Merchant – © Robert Fournier

March 7th 2006: In dry dock at Dunkerque with propeller shaft problems.

March 26th 2006: Acciona Trasmediterranea is to charter the NORTHERN MERCHANT and MIDNIGHT MERCHANT for the Barcelona – Palma route.

© Robert Fournier

Northern Merchant – © Robert Fournier

 © Ed Connell

© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell

Northern Merchant – © Ed Connell

© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell 

© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell

Northern Merchant – © Ed Connell

April 25th 2006: Left Dunkerque bound for Spain.

May 1st 2006: Commenced service between Barcelona – Palma de Mallorca.

© Carlos Moreno Trobat

Northern Merchant – © Carlos Moreno Trobat

July 1st 2006: According to sources was renamed MURILLO DOS during the last week and handed over to a Spanish crew. Murillo Dos (Murillo Two) is actually a temporary name which Acciona Trasmediterranea ascribed to her during the transition phase prior to completion of her purchase from the Lombard Bank. As of this weekend she still bore the name NORTHERN MERCHANT on her hull. The intention is to name her ZURBARAN. MURILLO and ZURBARAN were seventeenth century Spanish artists.

© Carlos Moreno Trobat © Carlos Moreno Trobat 

Northern Merchant – © Carlos Moreno Trobat

3rd July 2006: Officially renamed ZURBARAN and placed under the Spanish flag registered in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

© Carlos Moreno Trobat

Zurbaran – © Carlos Moreno Trobat

August 4th 2006: Suffered engine failure before entering Palma. Problem took 4 hours to resolve before she entered Palma.

August 5th 2006: Again suffered engine problems before sailing from Valencia.

2014: Remains in service with Acciona Trasmediterranea.

© Josep Pretel

Zurbaran – © Josep Pretel

April 6th 2019: Completed refit in Gibraltar. Noted as having new livery and renamed CIUDAD DE MAHON

Ciudad de Mahón – © Trasmediterranea

April 10th 2019: Commenced service Barcelona – Ibiza/Mahon, Menorca, Palma together with Ibiza – Palma and Mahon – Palma routes. 

June 4th 2019: Refit in Gibraltar.

Ciudad de Mahón – © Manuel Hernández Lafuente (Valencia, 19/07/2020)

April 2021: Announcement made that Grimaldi has closed the purchase of the Trasmediterránea business.

May 2021: Still in service Valencia – Las Palmas – Ibiza.

© Dogan

Ciudad de Mahón – © Dogan (Arriving in Palma de Mallorca, 19/10/2021)

November 24th 2021: The Irish Continental Group (ICG) announced that they had entered into an agreement to purchase the Ciudad de Mahón from Trasmediterranea for use on there Irish Ferries subsidiaries Dover to Calais route.

Irish Continental Group plc acquires ro-ro ferry Ciudad de Mahon

Irish Continental Group plc (ICG) is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement for the purchase of the passenger ro-ro ferry Ciudad de Mahón from Trasmed GLE. Title to the vessel will transfer to ICG on delivery which is expected by late January 2022.

The vessel will serve the Dover – Calais route operated by Irish Ferries after dry docking and branding changes.

The vessel was built in the year 2000 by Astilleros Espanoles S.A. (AESA), Spain. It has a gross tonnage of 22,152 tonne, passenger capacity of 589 and a freight unit carrying capacity of 91 units.

The Company commenced services on the Dover – Calais route on 29 June 2021 with the Isle of Inishmore. The Isle of Innisfree (ex Calais Seaways) was delivered to the Group on 3 November 2021. She is currently undergoing drydocking and is expected to commence services on the route during December. The Ciudad de Mahon is expected to commence services in the first quarter of 2022.  The introduction of these two vessels, representing a total investment of €35.5m, alongside the Isle of Inishmore completes our previously announced plan to introduce three vessels on the Dover – Calais route. This will allow Irish Ferries to offer up to 30 sailings per day on the route with sailings in each direction approximately every 90 minutes.


Source: Irish Continental Group plc

© Patrick Heard  © Patrick Heard

Ciudad de Mahón – (Leaving Palma de Mallorca, 16/12/2021) © Patrick Heard 

January 25th 2022: Final arrival at Ibiza.

January 25th 2022: Sailed to Barcelona.

January 31st 2022: Delivered to Irish Ferries at the Port of Barcelona and renamed ISLE OF INISHEER flying the Cypriot flag, registered in the Port of Limassol.

© Fotoflite

Isle of Inisheer – © Jorge Montoro Fort  (Barcelona, 05/02/2022)

February 8th 2022: Left Barcelona destination Fayard A/S, Munkebo (nr Odense), Denmark.

February 11th 2022: Passed through the Dover Straits. Due to arrive at Odense, Denmark 0800 on the 13/02/22.

February 13th 2022: Arrived at Fayard A/S, Odense.

© Peter Therkildsen © Peter Therkildsen

Isle of Inisheer – © Peter Therkildsen (Fayard A/S, 13/02/2022)

© Peter Therkildsen © Simon Stapley

Isle of Inisheer – © Peter Therkildsen (Fayard A/S, 15/02/2022)(Left) © Simon Stapley (Fayard A/S, 22/02/2022)(Right)

© Peter Therkildsen © Peter Therkildsen

Isle of Inisheer – © Peter Therkildsen (Fayard A/S, 25/02/2022)

March 10th 2022: Moved to dry-dock.

© Peter Therkildsen

Isle of Inisheer – © Peter Therkildsen (Fayard A/S, 14/03/2022)

© Peter Therkildsen © Peter Therkildsen

Isle of Inisheer – © Peter Therkildsen (Fayard A/S, 16/03/2022)

© Peter Therkildsen © Peter Therkildsen

Isle of Inisheer – © Peter Therkildsen ( Fayard A/S, 18/03/2022)(Left)(03/04/2022)(Right)

April 8th 2022: Left Lindoe Anchorage (Odense) for Calais (eta 10/04/2022)

© Peter Therkildsen

Isle of Inisheer – © Peter Therkildsen ( Fayard A/S, 08/04/2022)

April 10th 2022: Arrived in Calais.

© Stéphane Vancutsem

Isle of Inisheer – © Stéphane Vancutsem (Calais, 10/04/2022)

April 10th 2022: Port of Dover arrivals ( ⬅ link) indicates due at Dover (eta 11/04/2022 13.30 hrs ED7) for berthing trials?

Isle of Inisheer – © Dave Standen (Dover, 10/04/2022)

© Julien Carpentier © Julien Carpentier © Julien Carpentier © Julien Carpentier © Julien Carpentier

Isle of Inisheer – © Julien Carpentier (Dover, 10/04/2022)

April 10th 2022: Returned to Calais.

Isle of  Inisheer – © Dover Strait Shipping (Dover 12/04/2022)

April 26th 2022: Entry into service Dover – Calais (ISLE OF INISHMORE away at Dunkerque for refit).

Isle of  Inisheer – © Julien Carpentier (Calais, 27/04/2022)

© George Holland © George Holland © George Holland © George Holland © George Holland © George Holland © George Holland © George Holland © George Holland © George Holland                                      © George Holland © George Holland © George Holland © George Holland

Isle of Inisheer – © George Holland (08/05/2022)

May 20th 2022: Came off service at Calais and sailed to Dunkerque East for repairs to bow door.

Isle of  Inisheer – © Julien Carpentier (Dunkerque East, 22/05/2022)

May 26th 2022:  Left Dunkerque East.

© Christophe De Langhe © Christophe De Langhe © Christophe De Langhe

Isle of Inisheer – 🆕 © Christophe De Langhe (Dunkerque East, 26/05/2022)

May 26th 2022: Arrived Calais then resumed service Calais – Dover.

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, Julien Carpentier, Ed Connell, Dogan, Dover Strait ShippingFotoflite, Robert Fournier, Patrick Heard, Manuel Hernández Lafuente, George Holland, Pieter Inpyn, Christophe De Langhe, Ken Larwood, Mark Leiper, John Mavin, Jorge Montoro Fort, Josep Pretel, Dave Standen, Simon Stapley, Peter Therkildsen, Carlos Moreno Trobat, Stéphane Poulain,  Stéphane Vancutsem and Andreas Wörteler for there assistance in compiling this feature.

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

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