FerriesPast and PresentRegie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT)TransEuropa Ferries (TEF)

MV Princesse-Marie Christine – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7357567

MV Elegant I

ex Primrose, Princesse-Marie Christine

© A G Jones

© A G Jones (Dover, 24/11/1979)

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built by Cockerill Yards, Hoboken (Yard No. 878) in 1975 for Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT) Ostend service as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry. 

Technical Data

  • Length on deck : 118.42m (385.5 ft) (overall)(1975),(1985)/110.85m (363.7 ft) (between perpendiculars).
  • Breadth of hull: 19.99m(67.8 ft) (extreme)(1975), 23.30m(1985)
  • Depth: 6.37m (20.9 ft)(moulded)
  • Draught: 4.52m(14.8 ft) (maximum)(1975), 5.05m(1985)
  • Tonnage: 5,543 gross (1975),6,276(1985)/2,471 net(1975), 3,959(1985)/1,474 deadweight (1975), 2,039 (1985)
  • Engines: Two 18-cylinder Atlantique/Pielstick four-stroke single-acting diesels
  • Power: 13,240 k W
  • Speed: 22 knots
  • Capacity: 1200 passengers (1975), 1,475 (1985), 300 cars (1978),or 37 lorries and 46 cars, 420 cars (1986),or 55 lorries and 46 cars
  • Call Sign: ORAP, P3BX8, V4EV2
  • IMO Number: 7357567
  • Registry: Ostend/Belgium 🇧🇪, Limassol/Cyprus 🇨🇾, St Kitts and Nevis 🇰🇳
  • Sister Ships: Prinses Maria Esmeralda (877)Prins Albert (887)


November 18th 1974: Keel struck.

Courtesy of Frans Truyens  Courtesy of Frans Truyens  

Courtesy of Frans Truyens  Courtesy of Frans Truyens  

Courtesy of Frans Truyens

September 8th 1975: Launched.

December 30th 1975 : PRINCESSE MARIE ESMERALDA delivered to Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT) and made her maiden voyage to Dover, Admiralty Pier berth, rather earlier than was originally intended in order to allow her sister ship, the PRINSES MARIA ESMERALDA, to have her bow repaired following the storm and accident sustained the previous month. Commenced Ostend – Dover.

  © Michael Woodland

© Urbain Ureel (Left) and © Michael Woodland (Right)

© Fotoflite, Nigel Thornton Collection  © Fotoflite, Nigel Thornton Collection  

© Fotoflite (both)

October 27th 1976: Suffered extensive damage when fire swept through an area of her engine room. The ship had just left Dover (Admiralty Pier) with 205 passengers, 10 cars and 11 freight vehicles on board when the fire was discovered and she had to put back. A Dover Harbour Board tug and the Townsend-Thoresen freight ship EUROPEAN TRADER assisted her back to the port while 50 fireman from all over East Kent were called to tackle the blaze. Most damage was caused to one of the ship’s three exhaust systems and although her passenger accommodation was not affected, at one time there was a danger that the fire might spread. Fortunately the firemen managed to quell the blaze before too much water was pumped into the ship.

© Mike Sartin  © Nigel Thornton

© Mike Sartin (Left) © Nigel Thornton (Right)

© Simonwp © Karel Goutsmit

Postcards and © Simonwp (Dover, 12/09/1978) and © Karel Goutsmit

September 13th 1981: Suffered engine-failure.

© Bertel  © Bertel 

© Bertel

October 2nd 1981: Repaired and back in service.

© John Jones © Bertel

© John Jones (Dover, 16/04/1983) (Left) and © Bertel (Right)

July 1984: Sealink UK Ltd had been de-nationalised and purchased by the Bermuda-based Sea Containers the new owners immediately began a general reappraisal of all their services. (including its intention of taking on 50% of all the traffic on the Dover-Ostend route.

© Brian Fisher  © Brian Fisher  

© Brian Fisher (Dover, April 1985)

1985: The news of a stretching programme, or “jumboisation” as it is often known, was announced, but it only originally planned to deal with the PRINSES MARIA-ESMERALDA and the PRINCESSE MARIE-CHRISTINE, leaving the PRINS ALBERT untouched. By cutting the ships horizontally and inserting an extra lorry deck, their capacity was raised from 46 to 55 pieces of freight. The “PME” had her work completed at the end of May 1985 while the “PMC” re-entered service in January 1986. All work was carried out at Boelwerf Vlaanderen (Boel Yard Flanders) (the former Cockerill Yards at Hoboken).


© Urbain Ureel

Courtesy of Julien Tahon


October 25th 1985: Belgians entered into negotiations with Townsend Thoresen and an agreement was concluded.

December 15th 1985: Re-delivered after rebuild.

December 16th 1985: Sea trials.

January 2nd 1986: Returned to commercial service between Ostend – Dover. Became the second RMT vessel to appear in Townsend colours.

October 1986: The agreement with Townsend Thoresen (The European Ferries Group) was duly passed on to P&O European Ferries and was due to end in December 1990: The Ostend ships all received the Townsend Thoresen orange colours and carried their trading name.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

© Ken Larwood    


© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (all)


Courtesy of Ted Ingham (both)

© Mike Sartin  © Mike Sartin  

© Mike Sartin

1987/88 (refit): “A completely new livery, reflecting that carried by the P&O European Ferries fleet, was adopted. For the first time in the history of the Dover-Ostend service, the buff (later changed to a lighter shade of yellow) funnels were painted- out in favour of a shade of blue.”

© Mike Griffiths

© Mike Griffiths (Leaving Rotterdam with new livery)

© Brian Fisher  © Brian Fisher  

© Brian Fisher (both)

© Mike Sartin    

© Mike Sartin (Left) and © Ken Larwood (Right)

1991:The creation of a totally new marketing profile and the adoption of the name with which the line has officially been known since the early days, sees the fleet in its fourth livery in seven years. The first to receive it was the PRINS ALBERT during her overhaul at Ostend in November and December 1990.

1991: Commenced service for Dover – Oostende Lines.

© Andreas Wörteler  © Mike Sartin  

© Andreas Wörteler (Ostend, August 1991) (Left) and © Mike Sartin (Right)

© Urbain Ureel

August 1992 – September 1992: Off service with gearbox problems.

© Ken Larwood (Ramsgate, 01/01/1993)

January 1st 1993: Inaugural arrival in Ramsgate.

© Pieter Inpyn   

© Pieter Inpyn (Ostend, 01/07/1993

1993 (end): Announced that the Belgian company did not intend to renew its marketing agreement with P&O but instead concluded a deal with Sally Line. With effect from the following January RMT became known simply as Oostende Lines , transferring all its Ostend services, including Jetfoil operations from Dover to Sally’s base at Ramsgate

December 1993: Conducted berthing trials at Ramsgate.

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood  

© Ken Larwood (Ramsgate, December 1993)

January 1st 1994: First service arrival at Ramsgate for Sally Line and operating between Ramsgate – Dunkerque as a relief vessel. Used temporary link-span prior to building of the permanent structure.

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood  

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (all)

© Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof                       © Philppe Holtof  © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof © Philppe Holtof

© Philppe Holtof

© Bernd Crause (Ostend, 23/05/1994)

September 1st 1994 – October 1994: Charter became full time.

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler (Ostend, 22/06/1995)

February 1997: With the demise of R.M.T. she was laid – up in Ostend, moving to lay-up in Dunkerque from April 18th.

© David Ingham  © David Ingham  

© David Ingham (May 1997)(both)

1998: Sold to Denval Marine Consultants of the UK and renamed PRIMROSE.

© Ton Gootenboer  © Urbain Ureel

© Ton Grootenboer (February 1999)(Left) © Urbain Ureel (Right) 

1999: Seasonal livery of white hull/superstructure with Denval motif on the funnel.

April 14th 1999: Began operating for TransEuropa Shipping Lines between Ramsgate and Ostend.

© Pieter Inpyn  © Pieter Inpyn  

© Pieter Inpyn (01/08/1999)

2000: TransEuropa Ferries was applied to the hulls of the EUROVOYAGER and PRIMROSE

© Fotoflite, Nigel Thornton Collection  © Andreas Wörteler

© Fotoflite  (Left) © Andreas Wörteler (Ostend, April 2001) (Right)
© Andreas Wörteler
© Andreas Wörteler (Ostend, 18/12/2004)


  © Nigel Thornton  


© Nigel Thornton (Ramsgate, 23/03/2005)

2005: During “upgrade” to passenger service, word “.com” added to hull logo.

March 24th 2006: To Antwerp for dry-docking and yearly outer hull survey. Returned to service shortly afterwards.

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler (Ostend, 04/10/2006)

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton  

© Nigel Thornton

June 30th 2006: To ARNO Dunkerque for dry-docking.

July 6th 2006: Work completed and returned to service

© Frans Truyens  © Frans Truyens  

© Frans Truyens (Ostend, May 2007)

August 27th 2007: Suffered engine problems, causing over 2 hour delay. Only able to make 8.3 knots en-route between ports.

© Robert Fournier

© Robert Fournier (Dunkerque, 25/06/2008)

June 20th 2008: To ARNO Dunkerque for dry-docking. Then resumed service.

2008 (Winter): For sale.

© Cedric Hacke

© Cedric Hacke (Ostend, 16/04/2009)

June 17th 2009: Left Ostend having been chartered to Comarit for crossings, between Spain and Morocco and between France and Morocco.

© Juanfra Monzón  © Juanfra Monzón  

© Juanfra Monzón (Almeria, 27/08/2009)(both)

September 14th 2009: Charter completed and she arrived back in Ostend. She laid over at berth 501 and had her stern ramp addition removed.

September 16th 2009: First (early cover for LARKSPUR at ARNO) sailing to Ramsgate.

April 12th 2010: Due at Zeebrugge for underwater survey having been reported that she had been sold to Finsea S.P.A., Limassol, Cyprus (Blunavy) in April, and will be possibly be renamed ISOLA D’ELBA. It was also reported that she would be used on the link between Piombino and Portoferraio. She has also had her stern ramp added again.

© Cedric Hacke  © Cedric Hacke  

© Cedric Hacke (Ostend, 12/04/2010)(both)

April 12th 2010: Returned to Ostend.

April 16th 2010: Left Ostend for Livorno (Italy).

June 5th 2010: Commenced service between Piombino – Portoferraio.

© Trevor Jones

© Trevor Jones

© Luca Filippino  © Luca Filippino  

© Luca Filippino  © Luca Filippino  

© Luca Filippino

© Luca Filippino (Portoferraio, 05/06/2010)

February 8th 2011: Said to have fetched more than $1.9m in a scrapping deal forged with breakers in Alang, according to a notable US shipbroker.

March 11th 2011: Sources indicated that she had been renamed ELEGANT 1 and was en-route to Indian breakers.

April 1st 2011: Passed through the Suez Canal.

May 4th 2011: Arrived at Alang.

May 8th 2011: Noted as arriving in the Arabian Sea off Alang. “The vessel, which was snatched off the block for $330 per ldt, was sold “as is” in a deal sealed in Italy. Brokers say the rate rang in well below the demolition average in India, which has been hovering around $500 per ldt for tankers and $475 for bulkers.”

May 15th 2011: Beached at Alang.


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: Bertel, Bernd Crause, Brian Fisher, Fotoflite , Ton Grootenboer, Mike Griffiths, Karel Goutsmit, Cedric Hacke, Philippe Holtof, Ted Ingham, Pieter Inpyn, A G Jones, Trevor Jones, Ken Larwood, Juanfra Monzón, Luca Filippino, Mike Sartin, Julien Tahon, Urbain Ureel, Michael Woodland and Andreas Wörteler.

Special thanks go to the World Ship Society (East Kent Branch).

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

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