FerriesGrandi Navi Veloci (GNV)Olau LineP&O European FerriesP&O FerriesPast and PresentSocietà Navigazione Alta Velocità (SNAV)

MV Olau Britannia (II) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 8712520

MV GNV Atlas

ex SNAV Lazio, Pride of Portsmouth, Olau Britannia (II)

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1990 at Schichau Seebeckwerft AG, Bremerhaven, Germany (Yard No 1068) as a passenger car and commercial vehicle trailer ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 161.45 m (overall), 144 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 29.60m (extreme), 29.0m (moulded)
  • Depth: 18.90m
  • Draught: 6.530m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 33,336 gross/17,001 net/5120 deadweight
  • Engines: Four Zgoda-Sulzer 8ZA40S diesels
  • Power: 19600 kW/26,646 hp
  • Speed: 21.0 knots (23 knots max)
  • Capacity: 1642 passengers 575 cars or 120 trailers.
  • Call Sign: DIDB, MSTK8, IBUH.
  • IMO Number: 8712520
  • Official Number: 32336/725332
  • MMSI Number: 247163100
  • Registry: Hamburg/Germany 🇩🇪 , Portsmouth/United Kingdom 🇬🇧, Napoli/Italy 🇮🇹
  • Sister ships: Nils Holgersson (1059), Olau Hollandia (II)(1067), Peter Pan (1058)

Current AIS Location

Please note that this specific vessels AIS position data may be over an hour old and that the vessels position will only be displayed when it is within range of the VesselFinder AIS system. The AIS transponder/ship position data featured on this page is intended for information purposes only and it is in no way related to the 'Safety of Navigation at Sea'. All the AIS ship position data featured within this article is provided by VesselFinder and we are therefore not responsible for its content or its accuracy.


The fourth of a quartet of “Peter Pan” class built, at Schichau Seebeckwerft AG, Bremerhaven, between 1985 – 1989.

February 27th 1989: Keel struck.

October 28th 1989: Launched.

Courtesy of John Hendy Courtesy of John Hendy  

Courtesy of John Hendy

Courtesy of John Hendy

© Hans Deijs

© Hans Deijs (Bremerhaven)

May 16th 1990: Delivered to TT-Line, Hamburg, Germany.

May 18th 1990: Christened by Lucinda Green MBE (British equestrian and journalist ).

Courtesy of John Hendy

Courtesy of John Hendy

May 21st 1990: Commenced services for Olau Line between Sheerness – Vlissingen.

Courtesy of John Hendy Courtesy of John Hendy  

Courtesy of John Hendy

January 6th 1993: Registered to SCI Shipping, Luxembourg.

© Capt Jan Melchers © Ken Larwood  

© Capt Jan Melchers (Left) and © Ken Larwood  (Right)

February 3rd 1993: After disputes with the German trade union, re-registered in Germany, the home port of Hamburg.

1994: After a dispute between the German seafarers’ union and the owners the services were considered unreliable and traffic figures dramatically reduced. Her owners had thoughts of putting the ship on Trelleborg – Travemünde TT-Line, and move other vessels to Olau Line. That would in turn transfer them to the Bahamas flag and not satisfy the German seafarers’ union. A further strike was declared which resulted in Olau closing the service and putting vessels out to charter.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

May 12th 1994: Final day in service between Sheerness – Vlissingen.

May 1994: Registered to Shelf Shipping Ltd., Portsmouth, England.

May 31st 1994: Chartered to P&O European Ferries, Portsmouth, England and renamed PRIDE OF PORTSMOUTH.

June 1994: Commenced service Portsmouth – Cherbourg.

© Tony Garner © Tony Garner  

© Tony Garner (Portsmouth, 26/06/1994)

© Ken Larwood © Ken Larwood  

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood © Brian Fisher  

© Ken Larwood (Left) and © Brian Fisher (Portsmouth, 01/06/1994) (Right)

June 22nd 1994: Services between Portsmouth – Le Havre.

1999: P&O Portsmouth between Portsmouth – Le Havre.

© Frank Heine © Frank Heine  

© Frank Heine (Portsmouth, 17/06/2002)

October 15th 2002: P&O Ferries Portsmouth – Le Havre.

October 27th 2002: Whilst entering Portsmouth during strong winds made contact with the naval vessel HMS St Albans.

“Severe weather had affected the south coast of England for two days when, early in the morning of 27 October 2002, the ro-ro passenger ferry Pride of Portsmouth entered Portsmouth Harbour after a routine crossing from Le Havre. The vessel had experienced very strong gusts of wind at the eastern entrance to the Solent but the wind was generally 35 to 40 knots from the west-south-west. Two gusts of 70 knots had also been experienced within the harbour, but the master was unaware of this. Pride of Portsmouth had experienced difficulty in maintaining her heading in the harbour entrance channel. The master had used full bow thrust and hard-to-starboard helm in the strong beam wind and full ebb tide. Soon after clearing the harbour entrance, one of the vessel’s two bow thrusters tripped out and could not be brought back into operation immediately. The vessel continued through the harbour, making a speed of about 8 knots over the ground. Two harbour tugs stood by Pride of Portsmouth as she began the turn into Fountain Lake. The master was conning the vessel from the central console, and the chief officer was monitoring progress from the starboard side of the bridge. A helmsman was steering. As Pride of Portsmouth was passing close to warships on her starboard side, an inappropriate helm order was given which was not noticed by the other members of the bridge team. The subsequent undesired turn to starboard was accelerated by the effect of the strong wind coming to bear on the starboard quarter and the possible effects of the bow getting into a lee created by a very large warship. Pride of Portsmouth turned into the side of a moored warship, HMS St Albans, before corrective action became effective. HMS St Albans, a new Type 23 frigate, was substantially damaged in the collision, although Pride of Portsmouth suffered only minor damage” (Marine Accident Investigation Branch report)

© Robert J Smith © Robert J Smith  

© Robert J Smith (Portsmouth, 16/04/2003)

© Derek Sands © Derek Sands  

Pride of Portsmouth – © Derek Sands (Portsmouth, 01/01/2004)

December 2004: Refit at Falmouth

© Krispen Atkinson

© Krispen Atkinson

September 30th 2005: Final day in service between Portsmouth – Le Havre.

October 2nd 2005: Left Portsmouth for Falmouth.

October 2nd 2005: Laid up on the River Fal.

© Krispen Atkinson © Krispen Atkinson  

© Krispen Atkinson

© Krispen Atkinson

November 2005: Sold to SNAV, Italy. 

© Krispen Atkinson © Krispen Atkinson  

© Krispen Atkinson © Krispen Atkinson  

© Krispen Atkinson

© Krispen Atkinson

December 9th 2005: Floated to Falmouth for dry-docking.

© Charlie Chambers

© Charlie Chambers

December 30th 2005: Renamed SNAV LAZIO.

January 5th 2006: Left Falmouth for Naples.

March 26th 2006: Registered to Lazio Naviera SA, Naples, Italy.

May 2006: Commenced services between Civitavecchia – Palermo.

© Ton Grootenboer © Ton Grootenboer  

© Ton Grootenboer

© Ton Grootenboer

May 2006: Services between Civitavecchia – Palermo in collaboration with Grandi Navi Veloci.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Civitavecchia, 31/07/2007)

October 1st 2010: Services between Naples – Palermo.

March 1st 2011: Left Palermo for Tripoli to assist in evacuation from Libya.

March 5th 2011 – March 6th 2011: Left Tripoli for La Goulette.

March 7th 2011: Arrived Palermo.

May 2011: Registered to Snav Spa, Naples, Italy.

© Wil Weijsters

© Wil Weijsters (Palermo, 10/06/2013)

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Palermo, 02/08/2013)

May 2nd 2016: Seen with new livery

2016: Services Palermo – Naples.

© Darren Holdaway © Darren Holdaway  

© Darren Holdaway

February 24th 2017: Renamed GNV ATLAS (same services).

May 2nd 2018: Dry docked Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo.

May 28th 2018: Completed docking and, after a short trial, returned to the port of Palermo.

May 31st 2018: Services Palermo – Naples. 

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Naples, 10/08/2018)

January 13th 2019: Laid up in Naples.

January 19th 2019: Sailed to Marseille for dry-docking.

February 2019: Services Sete – Barcelona and then to either Nador or Tanger Med. 

March 14th 2020: Services Genoa – Rades (Tunisia).

July 16th 2020: Services between Sète-Nador and Sète-Tanger.

October 12th 2020: Services Barcelona – Sete.

October 29th 2020: Services suspended and moored in Barcelona.

May 2021: Used by Italian authorities to quarantine asylum seekers and migrants due to COVID-19 

October 31st 2021: Arrived Augusta (Sicily)

January 17th 2022: Arrived in Naples.

March 4th 2022: Left Naples.

March 7th 2022: Arrived in Genoa.

April 2022: Services Sete – Barcelona and then to either Nador or Tanger Med. 


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: Krispen Atkinson, Charlie Chambers, Hans Deijs, Brian Fisher, Tony Garner, Ton Grootenboer, Frank Heine, John Hendy, Darren Holdaway, Ken Larwood, Capt Jan Melchers, Derek Sands, Robert J Smith, Wil Weijsters and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

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