FerriesPast and PresentSally LineSealink

MV Ionian Star (Ex Prinsessan Desiree) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7037806

MV Ionian Star

ex Bohus, Lion Princess, Europafarjan II, Europafarjan, Prinsessan Desiree

 Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1971 at Aalborg Værft, A/S, Ålborg, Denmark (Yard No 190) for Rederi AB, Goteborg Frederikshavn Linjen, Sweden (operating under the name of Sessan Linjen) as a passenger and vehicle ferry. 

Technical Data

  • Length: 123.45m (404.9 ft)(overall)
  • Breadth: 19.60m (64.4 ft) (extreme)
  • Depth: 12.6m (41.4 ft)
  • Draught: 5.25 m (16.1150 ft)(maximum)
  • Tonnage: 5,694 gross (1971), 5,790 (1984), 8,772 ( ), 9,149 (2006)/2,861 net (1971), 2,631 ( ), 2,875 (1984), 2,744 (2006)/1,800 deadweight (1971), 1,819 (1974), 1,710 (1992), 1,968 (2006)
  • Engines: Eight 12-cyl, Nohab SF 112 V-diesels
  • Power: 15,600 bhp.
  • Speed: Max 21,0. Service 18,0.
  • Capacity: 1400 passengers, 250 cars
  • Call Sign: SDJO ,LHDT, 3FCL5
  • IMO Number: 7037806
  • MMSI Number: 373339000
  • Registry: Gothenburg/Sweden 🇸🇪, Sandefjord/ Norway 🇳🇴, Panama 🇵🇦
  • Sister Ship: Prinsessan Christina (180)

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 second of a pair built at Aalborg Vaerft each vessel, unusually, having eight engines in an effort to give operational versatility.”

November 20th 1970: Launched.

June 1st 1971: Delivered to Rederi Ab Göteborg-Frederikshavn Linjen Ab, Göteborg. (Sessan Linjen).

June 1971: Commenced service between Gothenburg – Frederikshavn.

© Christoph Podlucky

© Wolfgang Fricke © Wolfgang Fricke © Wolfgang Fricke

© Wolfgang Fricke (Frederikshavn, 01/07/1976)

January 1st 1980: The new company of Sessan Tor Line, Göteborg made up of Tor Line and Rederi Ab Göteborg-Frederikshavn Linjen Ab, Göteborg was formed.

Nigel Thornton Collection

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine

February 1981: Registered to Stena Line, Göteborg.

February 1981 – April 10th 1981: Operated services for Stena Sessan Lines between Gothenburg – Frederikshavn.

April 1981: Chartered to Bandi Line for services between England and Ireland.

May 6th 1981 – June 7th 1981: Chartered to B&I Line, Dublin, Ireland for services between Pembroke – Rosslare.

July 9th 1981 – August 10th 1981: Chartered to Sealink U.K. Ltd for services between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

September 1981: Charter completed and returned to services between Gothenburg – Frederikshavn, then being laid up in Frederikshavn.

© Ken Larwood

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

June 26th 1982 – September 5th 1982: Chartered to Sally Line U.K operating between Ramsgate – Dunkerque and under the trade name of VIKING 2 painted on her hull.

© A G Jones (Ramsgate, 31/07/1982)


© Ken Larwood (Left) © Fotoflite (Right)

© Tony Garner (Ramsgate, 28/08/1992)

October 1982: Charter completed and laid up in Gothenburg.

March 1983: Transferred to Varberg-Grenå Linjen Ab, Varberg. (Stena Line Ab) and renamed EUROPAFÄRJAN operating services between Varberg – Grenå.

Andreas Wörteler Collection

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Grenå 07/1983)

1984: Registered to Stena Line Ab, Göteborg.

1984: Registered to Varberg-Grenå Linjen AB, Varberg.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Grenå 25/07/1985)

1985: Registered to Lion Ferry Ab, Grenå and renamed EUROPAFÄRJAN II.

© Andreas Wörteler

1986: In the summer months operated between Varberg – Grenå – Helsingborg.

Andreas Wörteler Collection

March 1987: Renamed LION PRINCESS.

October 29th 1989: Put on the Helsingborg – Grenå route.

© Jürgen Stein

October 30th 1989: Commenced services between Varberg – Grenå.

1990: Operated some services between Halmstad – Grenå.

© Joerg Seyeler  © Joerg Seyeler  

© Joerg Seyler (Grenå, 04/09/1993)

December 1993: Sold to Scandi Lines A/S, Sandefjord, Norway.

March 1994: Refit at Götaverken, Göteborg and renamed BOHUS.

© Pieter Inpyn

© Pieter Inpyn (Stroemstad, 01/06/1994)

April 14th 1994: Commenced services between Strömstad – Sandefjord, also relieving between Larvik – Frederikshavn.

© Pieter Inpyn  © Pieter Inpyn  

© Pieter Inpyn (Stroemstad, 01/06/1997 showing her modified stern accommodation)

© Marko Stampehl

January 1st 1999: Registered to Color Line A/S, Oslo.


© Marko Stampehl (both)

July 31st 2010: Suffered a problem whilst unloading at Strömstad.  “A hanging car deck on port side was raised instead of lowered which resulted in cars being pressed against the deck above. Passengers were inside the crushed vehicles, causing panic but no injury.”

© Bø Morten  © Bø Morten  

© Bø Morten  © Bø Morten  

© Morten Bø (all)

August 2014: Remains in service between Strömstad – Sandefjord for Color Line A/S

May 16th 2019: Suffered a fire which began in a auxiliary engine, spreading to throughout the engine room. Crew were evacuated and there were reportedly no injuries. The fire was eventually extinguished and there was considerable damage.

June 17th 2019: Announcement made that Color Line has sold the vessel to Tnitsea Shipping, a subsidiary of Madeira-based North Bay Maritimos Transportes Lda, the company behind Red Star Ferries. She will handed over to her new owners before 30 August at the latest.

August 15th 2019: Final service between Sandefjord – Strömstad.

August 26th 2019: Taken over by her new owners and renamed IONIAN STAR.

August 31st 2019: Left Sandefjord for Piraeus.

September 10th 2019: Arrived in Piraeus where she will enter shipyards in Salamis.

October 13th 2019: Sailed from the Koros shipyard to the Salamis shipyard.

© Giwrgos Mertis (At Ampelakia, Salamina 27/10/2019)

November 23rd 2019 – November 26th 2019: Scheduled Dry-docking.


© Dimitri Mentakis (01/12/2019)

December 4th 2019: Completed dry-docking and returned to the Koros shipyard.

June 2020: Services Brindisi/Italy and Vlora/Albania.

June 21st 2021: Arrested in Brindisi for 5 days having 16 deficiencies contrary to “Paris MOU

May 25th 2022: Arrived Limassol.

May 27th 2022: Arrived Haifa

June 3rd 2022: Left Haifa.

June 18th 2022: Arrived Brindisi.

June 23rd 2022: Left Brindisi for Vlore to take up service replacing replace the older ship RED STAR 1. 

June 24th 2022: Arrived Vlore to continue service Vlore – Brindisi for Star Lines.

© Carsten Dettmer

🆕 © Carsten Dettmer (Vlore, 09/04/2023)

We would like to thank: Carsten Dettmer, Wolfgang Fricke, Tony Garner, Frank Heine, Pieter Inpyn, Dirk Jankowsky, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Dimitri Mentakis, Giwrgos Mertis, Christoph Podlucky, Joerg Seyler, Marko Stampehl, Jürgen Stein, Morten Bø and Andreas Wörteler their assistance in producing this feature. All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for errors and omissions.

Special thanks go to Nigel Scutt @ Fotoflite

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

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