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MV Nordic Ferry – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7528659

MV Star

ex Med Star, La Paz Star, Strada Corsa, Stena Transporter, Flanders, Pride of Flanders, Nordic Ferry, Merzario Hispania, Merzario Espania

© Brian Fisher

Nordic Ferry Р© Brian Fisher

Steel twin screw¬†‘Stena Searunner Class’¬†motor vessel built in 1978 by Hyundai Shipbuilders & Heavy Industries, Ulsan, South Korea (Yard No 651) as a Passenger/RoRo Cargo vessel

Technical Data


In total 11 vessels of the Stena Searunner were built, by Hyundai Heavy Industries, South Korea, and the first vessel was delivered in 1977. Designed by Knud E. Hansen A / S, those vessels remaining in service are operated by a number of operators around the world and as a group they are considered to be one of the most successful classes of RoRo vessels ever built.

July 11th 1977: Keel laid.

March 20th 1978: Launched as MERZARIO ESPANIA.

© Cees de Bijl

Merzario Espania Р© Cees de Bijl

July 31st 1978: Delivered to Stena Container Line Ltd, London, England.

August 1978: Chartered to Merzario Lines and renamed MERZARIO HISPANIA.

January 1980: Chartered to Townsend Thoresen European Ferries, Dover, England and renamed NORDIC FERRY. Services between Felixstowe – Europoort.

© Tony Garner © John Jones  

Nordic Ferry Р© Tony Garner (left) and © John Jones (right)

© Cees de Bijl

Nordic Ferry Р© Cees de Bijl

December 16th 1980 – February 7th 1981: Rebuilt at Hapag Lloyd Werft GmbH, Bremerhaven, with extra passenger accommodation and weather deck. Side-sponsons added.

© Brian Fisher

Nordic Ferry Р© Brian Fisher

© Cees de Bijl

Nordic Ferry Р© Cees de Bijl

May 3rd 1982: At Europort the NORDIC FERRY was requisitioned by the British Armed Forces (Royal Marines) to transport supplies to the Falklands and ordered to sail immediately to Portsmouth for modifications prior to the voyage south.

May 4th 1982 – May 9th 1982: At Portsmouth ‚ÄúIn hand for modification‚ÄĚ. Equipped with helicopter pad and to carry troops, stores, and ammunition to the Falkland islands.

Dover Ferry Photos Library

Nordic Ferry – Carrying out Sea King helicopter trials in the Solent (Dover Ferry Photos Library)

May 9th 1982: Sailed in company with BALTIC FERRY to Falklands.

May 29th 1982: Detached to proceed independently to the disembarkation areas.

July 29th 1982: Returned to Southampton, later receiving Battle Honour “Falkland Islands 1982”.

August 25th 1982: Returned to service between Felixstowe – Europoort.

December 1984: Sold to Monarch Steamship Co Ltd, London, England.

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

© Brian Fisher © Brian Fisher  

Nordic Ferry Р© Brian Fisher

© Simonwp

Nordic Ferry Р© Simonwp

March 1986: Rebuilt at Wilton Fijenoord B.V. Rotterdam, Holland to a car and passenger ferry.

© Cees de Bijl © Cees de Bijl

Nordic Ferry Р© Cees de Bijl

© Simonwp

Nordic Ferry Р© Simonwp

June 1986: Returned to service Felixstowe – Zeebrugge.

February 4th 1987: Collided with the cargo vessel SAN SALVADOR (IMO 7717755) in Harwich.

© Brian Fisher © Brian Fisher  

© Brian Fisher

© Ian G Hardie

© Ian G Hardie

“AP, Associated Press Feb. 4, 1987¬†7:16 PM ET
No one was reported injured.

A 3,850-ton Spanish cargo ship, San Salvador, received severe damage to its bow in a collision with the British passenger ship Nordic Ferry, and was towed aground at Harwich harbour on the south-east coast to keep it from sinking.

The harbour, 68 miles north-east of London, was open to one-way traffic only after the ship, carrying a cargo of grain, was towed in, blocking part of the entrance. The 17 crew were all taken ashore.

Townsend Thoresen line’s Nordic Ferry, steaming from Zeebrugge in Belgium with 95 passengers, also was damaged in the bow and was towed into its home port of Felixstowe near Harwich, the Coast Guard said.

”The San Salvador had been sinking and was towed aground to prevent it going down,” said Lloyd’s shipping insurers.”

1987: Following the ‚ÄúHERALD‚ÄĚ disaster, from spring onwards, pale blue funnels with P&O flag logo became the norm.

© Ken Smith © Brian Fisher  

Nordic Ferry Р© Ken Smith (left) and © Brian Fisher (right)

© Pieter Inpyn © Pieter Inpyn  

Nordic Ferry Р© Pieter Inpyn

December 31st 1987: Registered to P&O European Ferries Ltd., Felixstowe, England.

🆕 Nordic Ferry & Doric Ferry¬†

1989: Taken over by P&O European Ferries, Felixstowe, England and commenced service between Felixstowe – Zeebrugge.

© Ken Smith © Brian Fisher  

Nordic Ferry Р© Ken Smith (left) and © Brian Fisher (right)

March 18th 1991: Sold to NatWest Finance, London, England and bareboat chartered to P&O European Ferries Ltd, Felixstowe.

February 1992: Renamed PRIDE OF FLANDERS.

October 22nd 1995: Commenced service as a passenger ferry between Felixstowe – Zeebrugge.

October 23rd 1995: Service between Felixstowe – Europoort.

November 1995: Arrived at Harland & Wolff, Belfast for rebuilding to a freight ferry.

© Leo Johannes

Pride of Flanders Р© Leo Johannes

© Jorg Seyler © Jorg Seyler  

Pride of Flanders Р© Joerg Seyler

November 1995: Commenced service between Felixstowe – Europoort (Rotterdam).

July 2002: Sold to Stena Line Ab, Gothenburg.

July 24th 2002: Renamed FLANDERS.

Flanders Р© Tim Becker

September 15th 2002: Service between Harwich – Europoort.

September 24th 2002 – October 2002: Chartered to Scandlines for service between Trelleborg – Travem√ľnde.

November 2002: Refit at Remontowa Shipyard, Gdansk, Poland.

November 2002: Renamed STENA TRANSPORTER.

November 23rd 2002: Service between Harwich – Rotterdam.

January 24th 2003 – February 5th 2003: Service between Hoek Van Holland – Killingholme.

© Rob De Visser  © Ton Grootenboer  

Stena Transporter Р© Rob De Visser (left) and © Ton Grootenboer (right)

April 2003 – July 2003: Services between Dublin – Holyhead.

July 2003: Service between Harwich – Rotterdam.

© Andreas Wörteler

Stena Transporter Р©  Andreas Wörteler

March 12th 2005 – March 13th 2005: One trip between Hoek Van Holland – Harwich.

© Andreas Wörteler  © Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

Stena Transporter Р©  Andreas Wörteler

© Ton Grootenboer

Stena Transporter Р© Ton Grootenboer

September 22nd 2007: Arrived at Holyhead.

September 23rd 2007 – October 6th 2007: Service between Dublin – Holyhead.

October 2007: Service between Rotterdam – Harwich.


Stena Transporter Р© Marc Piché

March 1st 2009: Taken out of service and laid-up, for sale.

June 2009: Sold to Strade Blu S.rl, Genoa, Italy and renamed STRADA CORSA.

© Simonwp

Strada Corsa Р© Simonwp (Rotterdam 28/06/2009)

June 29th 2009: Departed Rotterdam for Italy.

© Frank Heine

Strada Corsa Р© Frank Heine (Livorno 20/07/2009)

July 2009: Services between Livorno – Olbia.

© Frank Heine © Frank Heine             

Strada Corsa Р© Frank Heine (Livorno 20/07/2009)

2011: Chartered to Moby Lines for services between Livorno – Olbia.

© Mikael Soderholm © Mikael Soderholm  

Strada Corsa Р© Mikael Soderholm (Livorno 08/07/2013)

September 21st 2013: Arrived in La Spezia.

October 2013: Sold to Baja Ferries SA, La Paz, Mexico and renamed LA PAZ STAR.

La Paz Star

October 10th 2013: Left La Spezia for La Paz, Mexico.

February 2014: Replaced CALIFORNIA STAR (ex STENA FORWARDER) on the Topolobampo – La Paz route.

© Tim Becker 

© Tim Becker (left)

January 26th 2015: Suffered engine failure and was withdrawn pending repairs.

March 14th 2016: Reports sailing between La Paz, Baja California Sur and Mazatlán, Sinaloa.

December 1st 2016: Registered under the Cypriot flag and renamed MED STAR.

December 2nd 2016: Sold to MED FERRY 1 LTD, Care of Medferry Shipping Co, 1, Athanasiou Diakou Street, Alimos, 174 55 Athens, Greece.

December 16th 2016: Departed La Paz, Mexico bound for the Panama Canal (Pacific Anchorage).

January 3rd 2017: Arrived at the Panama Canal (Pacific Anchorage).

January 9th 2017: Commenced her transit of the Panama Canal.

January 13th 2017: Finished her transit of the Panama Canal and commenced her crossing of the Atlantic.

February 16th 2017: Now back in European waters having passed through the Straits of Gibraltar bound for the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

© Dennis Mortimer © Dennis Mortimer  

Med Star Р© Dennis Mortimer

© Dennis Mortimer © Dennis Mortimer  

Med Star Р© Dennis Mortimer (Drapetsona Bay, April 2017)

© Dennis Mortimer

Med Star Р© Dennis Mortimer


Med Star Р© Dimitris Mentakis

June 15th 2017: Engine room fire reported 2 miles off the island of Rhodes.

“ATHENS, Greece ‚ÄĒ Greek authorities say a cargo ship carrying vehicles has caught fire off the island of Rhodes but none of the 32 people on board are in immediate danger.

The Merchant Marine Ministry says the blaze broke out Thursday on the Cypriot-flagged MED STAR as it was sailing two nautical miles off Rhodes in the Aegean Sea.

It said 20 crew members abandoned the vessel in a lifeboat and are being towed to Rhodes, while the remaining 12 stayed on the ship to try to extinguish the fire, which broke out in one of its two engines.

The ministry said a rescue helicopter, tugs, a Greek navy ship, coast guard vessels and four other commercial ships are near the Med Star to offer assistance.”

November 6th 2017: Having been laid-up in Perama she was renamed STAR and reportedly sold to Turkish breakers

Star Р  © Dimitris Mentakis

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, Brian Fisher, Tony Garner, Ton Grootenboer, Frank Heine, Pieter Inpijn, Leo Johannes, John Jones, Dimitris Mentakis, Dennis Mortimer, Marc Piché, Joerg Seyler, Simonwp, Ken Smith, Mikael Soderholm, Rob De Visser, Wil Weijsters and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature. A special thanks goes to Micke Asklander.

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


  1. Amazing story of this vessel. I have been port agent for TT/P&O ferries in Amsterdam and Rotterdam during refitts/conversions and strikes whatever was required by the company. A wonderfull company to work for, which I did untill the North Sea Ferries came in. Our office Dammers en van der Heide was not the liner agent. Fine memories.

  2. Very interesting history about a vessel I personally worked on.
    On another note, you mentioned she replaced the California Star when she went to Mexico. This was the same vessel she replaced when she went to Holyhead in 2003.

    1. When we’re you working on this vessel Karl? I am trying to find crew from Pride of Flanders in 1994, particularly those present when 1 chap went overboard in spring 94

      1. Hi Iain

        I sailed on this vessel on a dry dock relief, when my own ship (Baltic Ferry / Pride of Suffolk) was in dock. That was in 1989, and again in 1990.
        I’m in touch with some of the crew that were on the vessel during this time.
        I joined the Pride of Flanders (1997) for about five years after the passenger service to Zeebrugge closed down. Still on the ship when she was sold to Stena.
        Sailed on this vessel under four different names.
        Which crew are you trying to find?
        Were you in the crew on this ship?

        1. Karl

          Many thanks for your response Karl and I would be thrilled if you can point me in the right direction.
          My interest is in the details of the chap who was lost April 19th/20th from the Pride of Flanders on the return trip from Zeebrugge to Felixstowe and discovered missing when his was the only car not to leave the ferry at Felixstowe.
          I am working on a longstanding missing persons case and, from the little we know, this guy is the right age and lost in the right area and at the right time to, perhaps, be the guy whose body has remained unnamed since July 1994 that I’m working on presently
          I am hoping to speak with anyone (crew members perhaps?) who has any recollection of the incident. We know virtually nothing about this chap so any information could be very useful in finding a name or description for us then to tie back to our unnamed body.
          Anyone on Pride of Flanders at the time would be really useful to talk to.

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