Eckerö LineFerriesNorfolk LineP&O FerriesPast and PresentTrasmediterránea

MV Midnight Merchant – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9181106

MV Finbo Cargo

ex European Endeavour, El Greco, Midnight Merchant

Nigel Thornton Collection

Midnight Merchant – Nigel Thornton Collection (Falmouth)

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 2000, by Astilleros Espanoles S.A. (AESA) Seville, Spain, (Yard No. 290) for Cenargo (owners of Norse Merchant Ferries plc) as a passenger roll-on roll-off commercial freight ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 179.5 m (overall)
  • Breadth of Hull: 25.24m (moulded)
  • Draught: 6.50 m
  • Tonnage: 22,152 gross, 6,614 net, 7,396 deadweight
  • Engines: Four 9-cylinder Wartsila diesels
  • Power: 23760 kW
  • Speed: 22.5 knots
  • Capacity: 214 passengers, 144 (13.5 m ) commercial trailers
  • Call Sign: ZQPM9, ECLT (2006 – 2007), 2AFI3 (2007 – ), C6ZG5 (2012 – 2019), OJST (2019 – )
  • IMO Number: 9181106
  • MMSI Number: 311054700
  • Registry: Bahamas (2000), Dover (2000 – 2006), S.C. Tenerife, Spain (2006 – 2007), London (2007), Bahamas (2012 – 2019), Finland
  • Sister Vessels: Brave Merchant, Dawn Merchant, Northern Merchant, Murillo

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 and we are therefore not responsible for the content or the accuracy of this data


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 22,215grt 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.

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

September 20th 2000: Arrived at Appledore Shipbuilders, Falmouth for fitting out.

October 5th 2000: Commenced service for Norfolkline between Dover – Dunkerque.

Midnight Merchant – © Ken Larwood

April 2002: Rebuilt at Arno, Dunkerque.

© Nigel Thornton © Nigel Thornton  

Midnight Merchant – © Nigel Thornton

July 1st 2004: “Norfolk Lines 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.”

© Ray Goodfellow © Ray Goodfellow  

Midnight Merchant – © Ray Goodfellow


Midnight Merchant – © Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler © Andreas Wörteler  

Midnight Merchant – © Andreas Wörteler (Dunkerque 18/12/2004)

12th January 2005: Rotterdam for refit

© Pieter Inpyn © Pieter Inpyn  

Midnight Merchant – © Pieter Inpyn

June 5th 2005: To emergency dry dock at Damen Shipyard, Schiedam. Official cause unknown, however one report indicating “leaks around the A-frames” (Sea Breezes Volume 79 – Issue 715, July 2005)

© Nigel Thornton © Nigel Thornton  

Midnight Merchant – © Nigel Thornton


Midnight Merchant – © Andreas Wörteler (Dunkerque, 19/11/2005)

March 26th 2006:“The two ships originally built for Merchant Ferries proposed Liverpool to Belfast service, but which instead went on to serve the new Norfolk Line cross channel service are off to join their older sisters on the Mediterranean. Transmed is to charter the NORTHERN MERCHANT and MIDNIGHT MERCHANT for the Barcelona – Palma route.” (ISS)

July 28th 2006: All 3 new sisters running from 1200 today. Retired to ARNO Dunkerque for refit prior to transfer to the Mediterranean.

© Andreas Wörteler

El Greco – © Andreas Wörteler

© Robert Fournier © Robert Fournier  

© Robert Fournier © Robert Fournier  

© Robert Fournier © Robert Fournier  

El Greco – © Robert Fournier

August 2006: Renamed EL GRECO. Transferred to Spanish flag, home port Santa Cruz De Tenerife.

August 22nd 2006: Left Dunkerque bound for Spain.

August 2006: Commenced service between Barcelona – Palma De Mallorca.

© Carlos Moreno Trobat

El Greco – © Carlos Moreno Trobat (01/09/2006)

October 2006: Commenced service between Barcelona/Valencia – Palma/Eivissa/Mao.

June 26th 2007: Sold to P&O Ferries for use on its Irish Sea and North Sea Operations.

“P&O Ferries today announces that it has agreed to purchase a dedicated freight ferry in order to meet the growing demand for space from haulage customers throughout its operations. The company will take delivery of the El Greco, currently operated by the Spanish shipping line Trasmediterranea (correct), during September and will deploy the vessel on its Dover-Calais service to offer additional peak time and refit season capacity in a growing market. The ship will also be used as a refit relief vessel in P&O’s Irish Sea and North Sea operations. On joining the P&O Ferries fleet the ship will be re-named the European Endeavour. It will be British flagged and will carry officers and crew on British terms and conditions of employment. Officers and crew will be recruited from within P&O’s existing ferry operations and via specialist agencies.”

September 2007: To Union Naval, Barcelona dry-dock

© Carlos Moreno Trobat © Carlos Moreno Trobat  

European Endeavour – © Carlos Moreno Trobat

October 1st 2007: Renamed EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR.

October 24th 2007: Left Barcelona.

October 27th 2007: Arrived off Anglesey, Wales and anchored.

© Ian Collard © Ian Collard  

European Endeavour – © Ian Collard

October 28th 2007: Arrived in Liverpool.

October 29th 2007: Registered owner; P&O Holdings Ltd. Registered manager; P&O Holdings Ltd. Moored in Canada Dock, Liverpool, AIS indicates service as Liverpool – Dublin

November 1st 2007: Entry into service Liverpool – Dublin delayed owing to safety inspection failure and “Health issues.”

November 6th 2007: Moved from Langton dock to the P&O loading berth at Gladstone this afternoon. Then made inaugural sailing to Dublin with the 22:00 Liverpool – Dublin sailing, taking over the NORBANK sailings.

December 17th 2007: To Falmouth for refit and fitting of cow-catcher.

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

European Endeavour – Dover Ferry Photos Archive

January 10th 2008: After several abortive ETD messages from Falmouth Port, and amid rumours that the initial cow-catcher didn’t fit together with trouble with her fitting into dry-dock, she departed for Calais.

January 11th 2008: Arrived in Calais for berthing trials. Again there were rumours of her failing the trials then she appeared to be able to load at Calais 9.

January 11th 2008: Expected departure time 19.15hrs local (Calais) time.

January 11th 2008: Inaugural arrival at Dover, ED1. Winds were 30-35 knots from the South West.

© Nigel Thornton   

European Endeavour – © Nigel Thornton

January 26th 2008: Off service due to lack of traffic and damaged cow-catcher. Repairs conducted at ED1.

March 22nd 2008: Parted her lines during gale force conditions at the Port of Dover and came to rest on the Eastern arm.

“In high winds one of her stern lines parted, followed by the remainder, causing her to come off the quay and blown along Eastern Arm at right angles to the quay. Her bow lodged against the knuckle on the end of the arm whereupon she rotated and drifted stern first across the entrance. At this point, DHB Doughty arrived, having hurtled across from the Western Docks, and commenced to assist. The Endeavour had both anchors down and, with a line to the tug, came to rest off the knuckle on the southern breakwater. Doughty then assisted her back to her berth on the Eastern Arm.” – Ed Connell

© Ed Connell © Ed Connell  

European Endeavour – © Ed Connell (Dover, 22/03/2008)

March 29th 2008: To ARNO, Dunkerque

April 3rd 2008: Resumed service.


European Endeavour – © Andreas Wörteler

August 29th 2008: Lost power while entering (bow in) berth 7 Calais. Cow-catcher destroyed. Rumoured to be directed to ARNO 30/08/2008.

Dover Ferry Photos Archive

European Endeavour – Dover Ferry Photos Archive

August 30th 2008: To ARNO, Dunkerque for repairs.

September 13th (17.00 hrs French time) 2008: Left ARNO (possibly to assist) with services overwhelmed by heavy traffic caused by a fire in the Channel Tunnel.

© Simonwp

European Endeavour – © Simonwp (Calais, 09/09/2008)

January 2nd 2009: Departed Dover for Zeebrugge (lay up overnight off Calais), then expected to commence 6 week relief Tilbury – Zeebrugge.

January 4th 2009: Recorded as operating Tilbury – Zeebrugge.

© Robert J Smith © Robert J Smith  

European Endeavour – © Robert J Smith

February 2nd 2009: Arrived in Dover and resumed service Dover – Calais.

May 13th 2009: Took up service on the Liverpool – Dublin route with the evening (2200) sailing from Liverpool.

June 24th 2009: Completed Irish Sea services and left Liverpool, bound for Dover

June 26th 2009: Arrived in Dover berth 2 then to ECT for bunkering and MES drill.

June 27th 2009: Resumed Dover – Calais

September 3rd 2009: After conducting MCA drill, “bow in” on berth 2, left Dover bound for Falmouth.

© Ed Connell

European Endeavour – © Ed Connell (Dover, 03/09/2009)

© Nigel Thornton © Nigel Thornton  

European Endeavour – © Nigel Thornton (Dover, 03/09/2009)

September 20th 2009: Due to sail, from Falmouth, after refit.

September 21st 2009: Arrived back in Dover.

October 16th 2009: Conducted berthing trials at Boulogne.

January 29th 2010: Taken out of service for boiler repairs.

February 4th 2010: To Tilbury.

February 17th 2010: Continued to lay up at Tilbury. Rumours suggest she had suffered a costly to repair “boiler failure”.

February 23rd 2010: Arrived back in Dover.

March 11th 2010: To ARNO, Dunkerque for repairs to damage caused whilst berthing.

March 14th 2010: Left ARNO.

March 24th 2010: Media announcement: “A ferry service from the port of Dover to Zeebrugge in Belgium has been revived eight years after it was shelved by P&O. The freight-only vessel, European Endeavour, will run a return trip each day from 7 April. The ship, which can carry up to 100 articulated lorries, will complete each crossing in four-and-a-half hours.”

April 7th 2010 (17.35 hrs): Inaugural sailing Dover – Zeebrugge (one sailing only) then reverted to Dover – Calais.

May 5th 2010 (16.21 hrs): Departed Dover for Tilbury.

May 5th 2010 (21.55 hrs): Arrived Tilbury and laid up.

July 30th 2010: Left Tilbury for Birkenhead and charter to DFDS/Norfolkline for Liverpool – Dublin service.

September 7th 2010: To Cammell Laird, Birkenhead for refit.

September 21st 2010: Left Birkenhead, destination Dunkerque.

September 24th 2010: Arrived at Dunkerque (Port de Dunkerque indicates her departure date as 22/12/2010!).

© Robert Fournier © Robert Fournier  

© Robert Fournier

European Endeavour – © Robert Fournier (Dunkerque, 21/11/2011)(all)

February 4th 2011: Left Dunkerque to relieve on the Irish Sea.

February 7th 2011: Anticipated arrival in Liverpool.

February 22nd 2011: Took up service Liverpool – Dublin.

April 21st 2011: To Laird’s Birkenhead for refit.

April 27th 2011: Left Birkenhead.

April 28th 2011: To H&W (Harland and Wolff), Belfast, for dry-docking.

May 3rd 2011: Left Belfast with her “cow-catcher” removed.

May 4th 2011: Berthing trials bow first on the two tier berth in Dublin Port. Resumed service Dublin – Liverpool.

April 7th 2012: Falmouth for dry-dock/refit.

April 23rd 2012: Left Falmouth for Dublin and resumed service.

© Bob Scott

European Endeavour – © Bob Scott (Dublin 06/05/2012)

July 18th 2012: First combined freight/tourist traffic sailings.

September 2014: Remains in service Liverpool – Dublin.

Interior Photos

© Gary Andrews  © Gary Andrews

© Gary Andrews  © Gary Andrews

© Gary Andrews  © Gary Andrews

© Gary Andrews  © Gary Andrews

© Gary Andrews  © Gary Andrews

© Gary Andrews  © Gary Andrews

© Gary Andrews  © Gary Andrews

© Gary Andrews  © Gary Andrews

European Endeavour – © Gary Andrews

February 8th 2016: Continues in service on the Liverpool – Dublin route.

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd  

European Endeavour – © Trevor Kidd

© Gordon Hislip

European Endeavour – © Gordon Hislip

April 23rd 2019: Sailed from Liverpool to Birkenhead (Cammell Laird) for annual refit.

© Ian Collard

European Endeavour – © Ian Collard (23/04/2019)

May 2nd 2019: Announcement made agreed sale to Eckero Line, Finland.

© Ian Collard © Ian Collard 

European Endeavour – © Ian Collard

May 15th 2019: Sale to Eckero Line completed. To be renamed FINBO CARGO, for services between Tallinn – Helsinki.

© Eckero Line

© Eckero Line

May 20th 2019: Departure from Liverpool (Eckero Line)

© Robert Foy © Robert Foy 

European Endeavour – © Robert Foy (Liverpool, 20/05/2019)

European Endeavour – © Ian Collard (Liverpool, 20/05/2019)

May 25th 2019: Arrived at Naantali (Finland) for refit.

© Eerik Laine © Eerik Laine 

© Eerik Laine

European Endeavour – © Eerik Laine (Off Turku, en-route to Naantali, 25/05/2019)

June 2019 (end of): Anticipated entry into service between Muuga (Tallinn) and Vuosaari (Helsinki) .


June 25th 2019: Made her inaugural sailing Muuga-Vuosaari


© Eckero Line


Finbo Cargo – © Markus K (Helsinki-Vuosaari,  04/10/2019)

January 24th 2020: Came off service at Muuga and sailed to Oresund Drydocks Ship Repair Yard, Landskrona for ice strengthening.

Finbo Cargo – © Oresund Drydocks Ship Repair Yard

May 4th 2020: 

“Finnish shipping company Eckerö Line and the Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company DFDS have signed a cooperation agreement. Starting from May 4th, 2020, DFDS will offer its customers cargo services on Eckerö Line’s m/s Finbo Cargo ship, which started operating again between Helsinki and Tallinn at the beginning of April 2020. The agreement strengthens Eckerö Line’s position in cargo traffic.

“In practice, the agreement means that DFDS leases cargo capacity from us and sells it to its own customers. The cooperation guarantees Finbo Cargo’s high occupancy rate and improves significantly the profitability of the route,” says Taru Keronen, CEO of Eckerö Line.”.

© Patrick Heard © Patrick Heard

Finbo Cargo – © Patrick Heard (Tallinn, 02/08/2020)

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: Gary Andrews, Ian Collard, Ed Connell, Douglas Cromby, Robert Fournier, Patrck Heard, Gordon Hislip, Pieter Inpyn, Markus K, Trevor Kidd, Eerik Laine, Ken Larwood, Carlos Moreno Trobat, Bob Scott, Simonwp, Robert J Smith and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.

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

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