FerriesFerriMarocIrish FerriesPast and PresentRederi AB GotlandSealinkStena LineTallink

MV Normandy (ex St Nicholas) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7901772


ex Normandy, Stena Normandy, St Nicholas, Prinsessan Birgitta, GV 909

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built in 1981 by Götaverken Arendal Ab Göteborg  (Yard No. 909), for Ab Göteborg – Frederikshavns Linjen, Göteborg as a passenger and vehicle ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 149.03m (overall), 131.02m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 28.0m (extreme), 26.01m (moulded)
  • Depth: 16.11m
  • Draught: 6.10m (service), 6.127m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 14,368 gross – 17,043 (after rebuild)/7,859 net, 10,104 (after rebuild)/3,315 deadweight, 3,315 (after rebuild 1983)
  • Engines: Four 12-cylinder Nohab-Wartsila Vasa 12V32A diesels
  • Power: 20,600 hk (15,520 kW)
  • Speed: 19.5 knots (service), 20.5 (max)
  • Capacity: 2,134 passengers (1981), 2,060 (after rebuild 1983), 2,200 (1991)/700 cars, 450 (after rebuild)/70 commercial trailers, 60 + 16 cars (after rebuild)
  • Call Sign: GDBC, EINF, C6UD3, 5BDU2
  • IMO Number: 7901772
  • Registry: Gothenburg/Sweden 🇸🇪, London/UK 🇬🇧, Nassau , Dublin/Ireland 🇮🇪, Limassol/Cyprus 🇨🇾
  • Sister Ship: Kronprinsessan Victoria (908)


1981: Originally ordered for Rederi Ab Göteborg – Frederikshavns Linjen, Göteborg for delivery as a second of a pair of vessels. While the ships were under construction GFL had a brief tie-up with Tor Line before Stena Line, then a major competitor, obtained a majority interest in the spring of 1981. While the first sister was launched as KRONPRINSESSAN VICTORIA work on No 909 was suspended. The following year while Stena waited for their already ordered new vessels, work was recommenced, with the order given for her completion.

© Han Deijs

© Han Deijs (Arendal Yard, 01/01/1981)

May 22nd 1981: Launched.

December 1981: Vessel ready for delivery, but laid-up under cover in Arendal Yard with the name GV 909.

1982: Later moved and laid-up, in Gothenburg.

May 3rd 1982: Sold to Stena Sessan Line Ab, Göteborg. It was first thought that the vessel would be named DROTTNING SILVIA, but that didn’t meet with official approval.

June 3rd 1982: Commenced service between Gothenburg – Frederikshavn.

June 7th 1982: Christened PRINSESSAN BIRGITTA by Prinsessan Birgitta.

February 28th 1983: Taken out of service for rebuilding to a night ferry at City Yard, Gothenburg.

February 28th 1983: Chartered to Sealink UK.

March 1983: Renamed ST NICHOLAS (nicknamed “The Big One“).

© Bob Scott

© Bob Scott (Gothenburg, May 1983)

June 9th 1983: Left for Hook of Holland.

Nigel Thornton Collection 

Nigel Thornton Collection (Left) Courtesy of Jane Spall (Right)

Courtesy of Steve Tarbox

Courtesy of Steve Tarbox

June 10th 1983: Commenced service between Hook of Holland – Harwich. In view of the impending privatisation of Sealink U.K. Ltd., the ship retained her red funnel and white hull colours, but the name “Sealink” was added to her hull.

June 15th 1983: Officially named by Mrs Elizabeth Henderson wife of the Deputy Managing Director of Sealink UK Ltd.

© Ton Grootenboer © Ton Grootenboer  

© Ton Grootenboer (both)

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

June 1983: Sold to Hill Samuel Trading Ltd, London, England.

© Pieter Melissen

© Pieter Melissen (Hoek van Holland, 01/10/1983)

July 18th 1984: Sale of Sealink U.K. to Sea Containers Ltd, Bermuda. Company changed name to Sealink British Ferries U.K.

1984: Charter transferred to Sealink British Ferries.

March 1984: Went off service for her first overhaul in Dunkerque. At the end of the month sailed to Dover to launch the new image and livery of Sealink U.K. prior to privatisation in June.

© A G Jones Roy Thornton Collection  

© A G Jones (Left) and Roy Thornton Collection (Right)

© John Hendy Dover Port News  

© John Hendy (Left) and Dover Port News No.25, April 1984 (Right)

June 6th 1984: Harwich – Hook of Holland service.

© Simonwp

© Simonwp (Harwich, 23/06/1984)

Courtesy of Steven Tarbox

Courtesy of Steven Tarbox

© Simonwp

© Simonwp (06/11/1985)

1986: Sold to Ibos Finance Ltd, Squarhorn Ltd, Elstree Platforms Ltd and A. Moir & Co Ltd, London, England (Stena Ferry Ab Manager).

1987: Sold to McAlpine Aviation, Ellstre Platforms Ltd and others, London, England. (Stena Ferry Ab Manager).

1987: Sold to M.C.C. Leasing (no 6) Ltd and N.W.S.6. Ltd, London, England (Stena Ferry Ab Manager).

1988: Sold to Paxro Ltd, Nassau, Bahamas. (Sealink UK Ltd) Sealink British Ferries Managers. Still operated by Sealink British Ferries Registered in the Bahamas.

© Simonwp

© Simonwp (Felixstowe, 31/03/1988)

January 8th 1989: Sailed to Wilton at Schiedam for annual overhaul.

January 19th 1989: Returned to service.

© Brian Fisher © Brian Fisher  

© Brian Fisher

December 1989: Sold for $57.7 million to Rederi Ab Gotland, Visby, but unchanged home port/registry flag and leased back to Sealink for five years, with an option for another two years.

January 1990: Sold to Stena Line, Ab, Göteborg. (Registered to Stena Equipment Ltd. London) Commenced service for Sealink Stena Line.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

January 1991: Rebuilt at Lloyd-Werft, Bremerhaven, Germany . Renamed STENA NORMANDY.

June 19th 1991: Final crossing between Harwich – Hook of Holland.

© Justin Merrigan

© Justin Merrigan (“Hook”, final time)

June 28th 1991: Commenced service between  Southampton – Cherbourg.

© Gary Davies © Gary Davies  

© Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic)

1991: Stena full takeover of  Sealink U.K. Ltd for a sum believed to be in the region of £259 million. The fleets livery was changed to reflect the fact, becoming Stena Sealink.

© Mark Leiper © Mark Leiper  

© Mark Leiper

© Andreas Wörteler © Andreas Wörteler  

© Andreas Wörteler (Cherbourg, May 1994)

© Andreas Wörteler © Andreas Wörteler  

© Andreas Wörteler (Cherbourg, May 1996)

November 29th 1996: Final day in service between Southampton – Cherbourg. At the end of her charter she sailed to Falmouth for a short overhaul upon completion of which she was returned to her owner.

December 4th 1996: Laid up in Dunkerque.

January 1997: Chartered to Hansatee Oy, Tallinn, Estland. Renamed NORMANDY.

April 23rd 1997: Commenced service with Tallink between Tallinn – Helsingfors, at the same time being transferred to the Estonian ships register.

© Dirk Jankowsky

© Dirk Jankowsky

December 30th 1997: Completion of charter to Tallink.

December 30th 1997: Transferred to Bahamas flag, home port of Nassau.

January 1998: Chartered to Irish Ferries, Dublin, Ireland.

January 1998: Paid a visit to Visby for one day, before her new charter commenced.

© Justin Merrigan

🆕 © Justin Merrigan (Arriving Dublin from Baltic Sea)

February 19th 1998: Commenced service between Rosslare – Pembroke Dock.

© Dave Rimmer 

🆕 © Dave Rimmer (Dublin, Maiden service arrival)

April 1st 1998: Commenced service between Cork – Rosslare and Roscoff – Cherbourg.

© Frank Heine © Frank Heine  

© Frank Heine (Cherbourg, 14/04/1998)

1999: Transferred to the Bermuda ships register with home port of Hamilton.

November 10th 1999: Sold to Irish Continental Ferries, Dublin, Ireland.

January 15th 2000: Left for Poland for refit and to be rebuilt with side-sponsors.

March 15th 2000: Commenced service between Roscoff – Rosslare and Roscoff – Cherbourg.

© Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer (Cherbourg, 25/04/2000)

January 23rd 2003 – March 2nd 2003: Service between Rosslare – Pembroke Dock.

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd  

© Trevor Kidd

February 24th 2004: Out of service owing to an industrial dispute between Irish Ferries and their employees.

February 28th 2004: Returned to service.

January 11th 2005: With winds of 80mph blowing across the dock the vessel was berthed outside the building dock at H&W Belfast, she lost her stern mooring lines, the gangway snapped and broke, and the ship was pushed across her berth towards the Severn Fisher docked opposite. Nobody was injured and after about an hour, with the assistance of the port tugs NORTON CROSS and WILLOWGARTH assisted back to her berth.

November 27th 2005: Out of service at Cherbourg owing to an industrial dispute between Irish Ferries and their employees.

December 14th 2005: Returned to service.

February 13th 2006 – February 27th 2006: Refit at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

© Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd

March 11th 2006: It was reported that the ship had technical problems in Cherbourg which had resulted in a round trip to Rosslare being missed. Her Saturday sailing to Rosslare was reported as running.

November 4th 2007: Last arrival at Rosslare.

November 5th 2007: Left Rosslare for Fredericia.

January 2008: Sold to Equinox Offshore Singapore.

March 12th 2008: Left Fredericia for Cherbourg.

© John Hendy

© John Hendy (Cherbourg)

© Dogan © Dogan

© Dogan (Cherbourg, 30/03/2008)

March 2008: Chartered to Ferrimaroc, Morocco.

April 2008: Cypriot flag.

April 7th 2008: Arrived at Almeria from Cherbourg.

April 2008 – September 2008: Service between Almeria – Nador.

© Juanfra Monzón © Juanfra Monzón  

© Juanfra Monzón (Almeria, 18/05/2008)

© Frank Heine © Frank Heine  

© Frank Heine (Almeria, 16/08/2008)

October 19th 2008: Arrived in Singapore for conversion to an offshore support vessel at Sembawang Shipyard. To be renamed ARV2

September 2012: Not yet converted and reportedly sold for demolition in India at a price of USD 320 / ldt basis delivery Singapore.

November 30th 2012: Reportedly beached at Alang.

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 Davies (Maritime Photographic), Hans Deijs, Carsten Dettmer, Dogan, Brian Fisher, Ton Grootenboer, Frank Heine, John F Hendy, Dirk Jankowsky, A G Jones, Trevor Kidd, Ken Larwood, Mark Leiper, Justin Merrigan, Pieter Melissen, Juanfra Monzón, Dave Rimmer, Bob Scott, Simonwp, Bob Smith, Steven Tarbox and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

Thanks also to Jane Spall.

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


  1. Would it be wrong to ask what were they thinking in the 80’s with the external design style of this ferry.? To me, it’s a little ugly.
    However, I did notice that a vessel of this size seems to have a rather small bridge, I wonder why this is? Some ferry companies had their bridge wings enclosed, this one not.

    Still I would say, it is still sad to read it was beached, a youngish ferry.

    1. Hello John,

      Some of the 80’s designs of ferries were in my opinion rather ‘unique’ (I think that’s me trying to be polite lol). There are a lot of ships dating from this era that will never win awards for their external styling that’s for sure. I think it was more a case of function over form.

      I never had the chance to travel on the Normandy but I did travel on her sister vessel the Stena Europe back in the 90’s when she was on the Hoek van Holland-Harwich service and onboard she was pretty impressive and could certainly swallow a full compliment of passengers with ease.

      All the best


      1. I actually think she’s one of the better-looking 80s ferries. Or, was, before she got those horrible sponsons.

  2. I really love the 80’s & 90’s ferry designs! I don’t see why they don’t make it like this today! The old P&O ferries ships were quirky (I didn’t see them as I 13 and a major ferry enthusiast i just know about them) and the ones today are nice, but i really miss the old ones such as pride of kent and pride of sandwich. I love the Normandy and rather miss it!

    1. Ole,

      As the history states:
      “June 10th 1983: Commenced service between Hook of Holland – Harwich. In view of the impending privatisation of Sealink U.K. Ltd., the ship retained her red funnel and white hull colours, but the name “Sealink” was added to her hull.”

      Hope this helps?

      1. Sure does, don’t know why I overlooked that comment…
        When did the cooperation between Sealink and SMZ formally end? From the photos, “Prinsess Beatrix” kept the Monasteral Blue hull and Sealink lettering until she was sold to Brittanny Ferries, but “Zeeland” (ex-“Peter Wessel”) that was hired in to work alongside her the last year until “Koningin Beatrix” was delivered, does not seem to have carried Sealink Lettering, even though other hired ferries did (e.g. “Cornouailles” when hired to Sealink SNCF)

  3. I have some rather grainy pictures of ex-Stena Normandy under tow bound for India. The images were taken on 11th Nov 2012 during the evening 4-8 watch, whilst on passage across the Bay of Bengal between Rondo and Dondra Head. Unfortunately taken with a Camera phone of the era but may well be the last of the vessel before she was beached.
    A pure coincidence. At the age of 6, Stena Normandy was my first ferry crossing between Southampton and Cherbourg and the inspiration to pursue a career at sea. 21 years later, I would pass her on her final passage for scrap. A sad sight.

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