British and Irish Steam Packet Company (B&I Line)Compagnie Marocaine de Navigation (COMANAV)FerriesMarine AtlanticMoby LinesPast and PresentRegie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT)SealinkStena RoRo

MV Reine Astrid (II) – Past and Present

MV Al Mansour

ex Reine Astrid (II), Stena Nautica, Hellas, Stena Nordica


Jürgen Stein Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel built by Rickmers Werft. GmbH, Bremerhaven in 1975 (Yard No. 382) for Stena Ab, Goteborg as a roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry

Technical Data

  • Length: 120.88m (overall)
  • Breadth of Hull: 19.51m (moulded)
  • Draught: 5.30m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 5,443 gross, 2,765 net, 2,793 deadweight
  • Engines: Two 12 cylinder MAK diesels
  • Power: 10,385 kW
  • Speed: 18.5 knots
  • Capacity: 1,200 passengers 450 cars or 116 commercial trailers
  • Call Sign: SEWN, ORAE, CNA3663
  • MMSI Number: 242024000
  • IMO Number: 7360629
  • Registry: Gothenburg/Sweden, Ostend/Belgium, Morocco
  • Sister Ships: Stena Normandica, Stena Nautica, Stena Atlantica


May 16th 1975: Launched.

November 28th 1975: Delivered to Stena Ab, Gothenburg.

December 2nd 1975 – February 1976: Ran as a commercial vehicle ferry between Gothenburg and Kiel.

April 27th 1976: Left Ras Tanura bound for St John, in Canada.

May 1976 – November 1976: Chartered to Marine Atlantic, North Sydney, Canada and she ran between North Sydney – Port Aux Basques.

1976: Conclusion of charter she was bareboat chartered and introduced into the Medelhavet – Persiska Viken service.

March 20th 1977: Reportedly left Lagos arriving in Gothenburg on April 6th, and started operating between Gothenburg and Frederikshavn .

May 1976 – September 1976: Bareboat chartered to Marine Atlantic, North Sydney, Canada running between North Sydney – Port Aux Basques.

September 1979 – April 1978: Chartered to European Ferries for their Felixstowe – Zeebrügge route.

April 1974 – September 1978: A repeat bareboat charter to Marine Atlantic, North Sydney, Canada took place which saw her return to North Sydney – Port Aux Basques. From there she was chartered to Hellas Ferries, Piraeus, Greece where she renamed HELLAS and operated from Volos to Latakia (Syria).

Andreas Wörteler Collection

Andreas Wörteler Collection

September 1978: Left Philadelphia for Amsterdam via Fishguard.

September 4th – 5th 1978: Conducted trials at Fishguard and Rosslare.

November 1978: She was chartered to Hellas Ferries, Piraeus, Greece where she renamed HELLAS and operated from Volos to Latakia (Syria).

April 1979: Renamed STENA NORDICA

May 10th 1979: Left Lisbon, for North Sydney, Nova Scotia. On arrival she resumed her charter to Marine Atlantic, North Sydney, Canada running between North Sydney – Port Aux Basques.

September 1979 – January 1980: Ran a freight only service from Gothenburg to Kiel.

February 1980 – April 1980: Bareboat chartered to Sealink U.K. for their Fishguard – Rosslare service.

She then moved to Hellas Ferries, Piraeus, Greece and was again renamed HELLAS , running between Volos and Lattakia (Syria).

September 1980: Renamed STENA NORDICA .

October 16th 1980: Chartered to B&I Line, Dublin, Ireland for their Pembroke – Rosslare service.

November 18th 1980: Suffered major engine problems and arrived at Cork for repairs. Unfortunately she could not be repaired and was floated to Odyssey Works, Birkenhead where the necessary repairs were carried out. She returned to service between Rosslare and Pembroke Dock on February 2nd, 1981.

April 24th 1981: She ran aground outside Milford Haven owing to engine failure, but was refloated without damage.

May 6th 1981 – October 1981: Chartered to Marine Atlantic, North Sydney, Canada. for their North Sydney – Port Aux Basques route. Also in October she was chartered to Hellas Ferries, Piraeus, Greece, renamed HELLAS and introduced between Volos – Lattakia (Syria).

Ton Grootenboer Collection

Ton Grootenboer Collection

February 1982: Refitted at Vlissingen, she was renamed STENA NAUTICA.

February 1982: Chartered to Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT), Ostend, Belgium. At this time she was also registered to Nautica Ltd, Ostend, Belgium so there was a legal argument between her owners (Stena) and C N Marine (Canada) for whom she had previously operated. The action finally over the vessel sailed to Ostend.

© Cees de Bijl

© Cees de Bijl (Courtesy of Andreas Wörteler)

April 7th 1982: Arrived at Ostend and from the 8th was introduced as a freight only ferry between Ostend and Dover, later also taking passengers.

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

© Cees de Bijl  © Michael Woodland

© Cees de Bijl (Courtesy of Andreas Wörteler) and © Michael Woodland (right)

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

February 28th 1983: Sold to Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT), Ostend,

© Cees de Bijl

© Cees de Bijl (Courtesy of Andreas Wörteler)

March 7th 1983: Renamed REINE ASTRID.

© Ulrich Streich  Roy Thornton Collection

© Ulrich Streich (left) and the Roy Thornton Collection ( right)

© Ken Larwood  © Michael Woodland

Reine Astrid © Ken Larwood (Left) and © Michael Woodland (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. This was just too much for the Belgians who now entered in to negotiations with Townsend Thoresen and an agreement was concluded on October 25th, 1985. The agreement with Townsend Thoresen (The European Ferries Group) was duly passed on to P&O European Ferries in October 1987 and was due to end in December 1990. The Ostend ships all received the Townsend Thoresen orange colours and carried their trading name but this only lasted two years.

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection  © Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection

Reine Astrid © Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection

© Mark Willis

🆕 © Mark Willis (Dover, 1985)

December 21st 1985: After refit/overhaul sailed into Dover fully repainted in Townsend colours some 10 days before the official starting date of the new marketing arrangement

May 26th 1985: Ran aground in Ostend, but with help she managed to re-float herself and continued, undamaged, to Dover.

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

February 21st 1987: In a severe storm her bow door was damaged and repairs took place in Antwerp.

1987/88 (refits): 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.

© Brian Fisher  © Brian Fisher

Reine Astrid © Brian Fisher (left) and © Andreas Wörteler (right)

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection  © Simonwp

Reine Astrid © Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection (Left) and © Simonwp (Dover 01/07/1990)(Right)

December 1992: Collided with a link-span in Ostend, forcing early refit and repairs in Ostend.

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection  © Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection

Reine Astrid © Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

1993: It was announced that the Belgian company did not intend to renew its marketing agreement with P&O European Ferries, 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 homeport at Ramsgate.

January 1st 1994: Operated between Ostend – Ramsgate.

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (all)

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (both)

© Tony Garner

© Tony Garner

October 31st 1996: Damaged her bow in storms while manoeuvring in Ramsgate and laid up in Ostend.

February 1997: Sold to Onorato Overseas Transport Maritima Ltda, Funchal, Madeira. Renamed MOBY KISS.

February 3rd 1997: Left Ostend bound for Livorno.

May 1997: Chartered to Compagnie Marocaine de Navigation, Casablanca, Morocco (Comanav). Renamed AL MANSOUR. Introduced between Algeciras – Tanger.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Algeciras /6/08/1997)

May 1998: Sold to Compagnie Marocaine de Navigation. Casablanca. Morocco.

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection  © Carsten Dettmer

© Fotoflite, Stéphane Poulain Collection (left) and © Carsten Dettmer (right)

August 6th 2001: Collided with the bulk-carrier INDALO in thick fog in Gibraltar sound, none of the 140 passengers on board the AL MANSOUR were injured. Towed to Algeciras where passengers and cargo were disembarked. She then went for repairs.

August 22nd 2001: Returned to commercial service.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Algeciras 30/07/2002)

© Benoit Donne  © Benoit Donne

© Benoit Donne (Tanger 05/2003)

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Algeciras 08/08/2004)

© Ton Grootenboer  © Ton Grootenboer

© Ton Grootenboer

© Daniel Ferro

© Daniel Ferro

April 17th 2007: Collided with Acciona ‘Ciudad de Málaga‘ in Algeciras whilst berthing, minor damage sustained.

© Daniel Ferro

© Daniel Ferro (Campamento 06/09/2007)

May 2008: Remains in service with Comanav.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Algeciras 17/08/2008)

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Algeciras 09/08/2010)

October 2010: Remained in service with Comanav.

2009: The French shipping group CMA CGM group sell their interests in Comanav to Balearia of Spain, who in turn sell it on to Comarit for a sum of 80 million euros in February 2009.

January 2012: Comarit-Comanav cease operations due to financial difficulties.

“The Mediterranean ferry company Comanav-Comarit has ceased operating, according to reports from Morocco. Earlier this year, Lloyd’s Loading List reported that three of the privately-owned Moroccan shipping group’s ferries had been impounded at the French Mediterranean port of Sète, because of unpaid bills. In Spain, port authorities prohibited the operation of Comanav-Comarit Boughaz Express ferry service between Tangier and Tarifa for similar reasons. Three other Comanav-Comarit vessels have been impounded in the ports of Algeciras and Tarifa, and the remainder of its fleet is immobilised in Morocco.”

June 2014: Reportedly laid up in the Spanish port of Algeciras.

© Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson (Algeciras 13/10/2014)

May 27th 2015: Announcement made that she was sold at auction for 702,000 euros. The money raised with the sale was to be be paid to the Treasury, less credits accrued to the APBA for the fees, port charges over the years and the costs of proceedings.

© Juan G Mata

July 27th 2015: Towed, by the tug CHRISTOS XXIV, from Algeciras to Aliaga, for scrapping

 © Selim San

© Selim San

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: Carsten Dettmer, Benoit Donne, Daniel Ferro, Brian Fisher, Tony Garner, Ton Grootenboer, Frank Heine, Mike Jackson, Ken Larwood, Juan G Mata, Matt Murtland (HHV Ferry), Simonwp, Stéphane Poulain, Selim San, Jürgen Stein, Ulrich Streich, Carsten Watsack, Mark Willis, Michael Woodland and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature.

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

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