Cargo from the PastCargo VesselsPast and Present

MV Potomac, Cargo from the Past

MV Baltic Melody

Ex Swan Ocean, Swan Lake, Isla Payana, Potomac

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (Newhaven 21/02/1984)

Steel screw motor vessel built in 1980 by Boelwerf Vlaanderen Temse, Belgium (Yard No 1498) as a Refrigerated Cargo ship

Technical Data

  • Length: 151.26¬†m (overall) 140.01m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth:¬†21.65m
  • Depth:¬†13.21m
  • Draught:¬†8.727m
  • Tonnage:¬† 7037 gross/3559 net/9852 deadweight
  • Engines:¬†2SA 8-cylinder MAN Diesel
  • Power: 12151kW/16520HP
  • Speed:¬† 22 knots
  • Capacity: 13,450, 114 TEU , 4 holds capable of carrying at minus 25deg C, side doors port and starboard
  • Call Sign:¬†ONBC, LAJL4, ELWJ4
  • IMO Number: 7710915¬†
  • Official Number: 01024 (LR 1992-93)
  • Port of Registry:¬†Antwerp/Belgium, Oslo/Norway, Monrovia/Liberia
  • Sister-Ships: Pocantico, Pocahontas


All three sisters were built with government shipbuilding finance and all three saw extensive service with United Brands.

1980: Completed. Delivered as POTOMAC to F.H. Ahlers, Belgium (joint venture with German F. Laeisz GmbH) as part of 3 vessel series.

1984: Renamed ISLA PAYANA.

1986: Renamed POTOMAC.

Courtesy fo Chris Howel

Courtesy fo Chris Howell (Gothenburg 17/05/1988)

During the years 1990-93 the vessels were bare-boat chartered to Turbana trading with bananas from South America to US East Coast.

© Bengt-Rune Inberg

© Bengt-Rune Inberg (October 1992)

1993: Renamed SWAN LAKE. Operated by Cool Carriers. Participating first in the Leonia Pool and then the Arctic Pool.

© Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson (Dover 1994)

1998: Renamed SWAN OCEAN. Registered Owner/Manager; Swan Reefer.

September 2nd 2003: Sold to Aquaships SIA, Latvia. Renamed BALTIC MELODY.


© Marc Piché

© Gena Anfimov  © Gena Anfimov

© Gena Anfimov

2012: Sold to Izmir Geri Donusum AS, Turkey for demolition.

June 25th 2012: Beached and broken up in Aliaga, Turkey

© Petros Psarras  © Petros Psarras

© Petros Psarras

© Petros Psarras

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: Gena Anfimov, Chris Howell, Bengt-Rune Inberg, Mike Jackson, Ken Larwood, Marc Piché and Petros Psarras for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

One Comment

  1. Walter. Vandereck

    Hi Nigel,
    I have some information about this beautiful Vessel called MV Potomac, There were actually three sisterships Called Potomac , Pocantico and Pocahontas, all alike. They sailedcunder Belgian Flag for Ahlers Maritime in Antwerp.
    I was a sailor for 10 months on the MV Potomac during 1981, and let me tell you, that was a wonderful time in those years. These reefers were doing all the same thing, bringing a full load of Chiquita Bananas for United Fruit Company to America, and Europe We mostly went to Albany, New york up the Hudson river under Belgian flag. We sailed for 4 days from the Panama Canal to New York , Then we went back to Panama, Colon to bunker and wait for our freight orders and went to different places to pick up the fruits. Among these places were , Puerto Limon Cost; Rica , Golfito , Costa Rica, Tela Honduras, Puerto Amuelles Panama, Turbo , Colombia. going to Gulf port , Mississipi, or Albany , New york, and to Europe, Hamburg and Bremerhaven in Germany and Rotterdam. Holland.
    The Potomac was like a speedboat at 22 knots, and about 220.000 boxes of bananas on board which was light carrage for a ship. 8500 Tons.
    Mostly we had to stay three days(partying) in a port to unload, that is something unimaginable today, but in those times they had to catch the boxes by hand and put them on the tobogan.
    Anyway it was fun to see somebody took care of the history of this magnificent Vessel, and mind you, we even had a pool on board, be it with seawater.
    The crew was 21 strong and mostly European, Belgian ,Spanish, Portugese. Cape Verdian, We got paid when we got home, and we also had taxfree sigarettes and alcohol;
    The Sailors Pool of Bengium had 4500 sailors around the world all very well organised and you had a seamans passport log if you want. But then they decided to flag out the entire fleet to Luxembourg for tax puropses and that was they end of it.

    Thanks very much for the pictures, sad to see they dismantled it, what a boat! A real stunner wasn’t it. Like a war ship, you can see the Germans had something to do with it.
    Yours truly

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