British and Irish Steam Packet Company (B&I Line)Coopérative de Transport Maritime et Aérien (CTMA)DFDSFerriesHellenic Mediterranean Lines (HML)Irish FerriesNorth Sea FerriesP&O European FerriesPast and PresentSealinkStena LineTallinkViking Line

MV Ancier (Ex CTMA Vacancier, Saint Patrick II) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7310260

MV Ancier

ex CTMA Vacancier, City of Cork, Ville de Sete, Egnatia II, Saint Patrick II, Aurella

Andreas Wörteler Collection

Andreas Wörteler Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built by J.J. Sietas KG Schiffswerft GmbH & Co. Ltd,. in Hamburg in 1973 for S F Line of Finland (Yard No 702) as a passenger, roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry for Oy SF-Line Ab, Mariehamn, Finland.

Technical Data

  • Length: 125.63 m (overall), 108.84m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of Hull: 21.40 m (moulded), 21.65m (extreme)
  • Draught: 5.27 m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 7,210 gross after rebuild 7,984 (1982), 3,234 net after rebuild 4,319 (1982), 1,893 deadweight after rebuild 1,325 (1982)
  • Engines: Two 16-cylinder Stork-Werkspoor 16TM410 Diesels
  • Power: 15,445 kW
  • Speed: 21.5 knots
  • Capacity: 1,500 passengers, 420 cars and 35 lorries (1973), 1,612 passengers (after re-classification), 300 cars (2003)
  • Call Sign: EIBL, CFN3031, V4NF5
  • MMSI Number: 341311001
  • IMO Number: 7310260
  • Registry: Mariehamn/Finland 🇫🇮, Dublin/Ireland 🇮🇪,  Tallinn/Estonia 🇪🇪,  Dublin/Ireland 🇮🇪,  Tallinn/Estonia 🇪🇪, Dublin/Ireland 🇮🇪,  Tallinn/Estonia 🇪🇪, Dublin/Ireland 🇮🇪,  Tallinn/Estonia 🇪🇪, Dublin/Ireland 🇮🇪,  Madeira/Portugal 🇵🇹, Valletta/Malta 🇲🇹, Cap Aux Meules/ Canada 🇨🇦, St Kitts and Nevis 🇰🇳



May 27th 1972: Ordered a cost of 33 million DEM.

March 17th 1973: Launched.

© Wolfgang Fricke  © Wolfgang Fricke

© Wolfgang Fricke (Hamburg, 01/06/1973)

June 23rd 1973: Sea trials.

June 30th 1973: Delivered to Oy SF-Line Ab, Mariehamn, Finland and officially named AURELLA.

© R. Nerlich  © R. Nerlich

© R. Nerlich

© R. Nerlich (Elbe 30/06/73)

July 3rd 1973: Commenced service with Viking Lines between Nådendal – Mariehamn – Kapellskär. She was the first “Jumbo ferry” in operation in the Ålands Sea.

September 21st 1973: Suffered engine failure and ran aground near Björkön in the Åländ Islands.

October 10th 1973: Arrived at Finnboda Yard, Nacka for repairs.

© Arnold Kludas

© Arnold Kludas (1974)

September 1981: Laid up in Mariehamn.

January 20th 1982: Sold to Irish Continental Group Ltd Dublin, Ireland for about $16 million.

January 1982: Renamed SAINT PATRICK II. Rebuilt by Amsterdamsche Droogdok, Amsterdam, Holland extra cabins.

Courtesy of Simonwp

Courtesy of Simonwp (Europoort, April 1982)

June 2nd 1982: Commenced service between Rosslare – Le Havre.

November 21st 1982 – April 1st 1983: Chartered to North Sea Ferries. Operated between Rotterdam – Hull.

© Simonwp  © Patrick Hill

© Simonwp (01/02/1983 at  Hull) (Left) © Patrick Hill (02/02/1983, North Sea Ferries charter)(Right)

April 21st 1983 – June 22nd 1983: Chartered to Belfast Car Ferries, operated between Belfast – Liverpool.

1984, 1988 & 1989: Chartered to B&I Line. Operated between Pembroke – Rosslare.

Courtesy of Andreas Wörteler (© Steffen Weirauch)  Courtesy of Andreas Wörteler (© Steffen Weirauch)

© Steffen Weihrauch (Hamburg 1985)

1985 (winter): Chartered to DFDS Seaways, operated between Hamburg – Harwich.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (1985 DFDS charter)

1985: Chartered to Stena Line, operated between Moss – Frederikshavn – Gothenburg.


Nigel Thornton Collection

1986: Back from charter.

© Bob Scott

© Bob Scott (14/05/1986 at Gothenburg)

© Paul T  © Paul T

© Paul T (Langton Basin, Mersey)

1987: Operated between Liverpool – Belfast.

Nigel Thornton Collection

1988: Owners company changed name to Irish Continental Group, PLC, Dublin

Nigel Thornton Collection

October 3rd 1988 – April 5th 1989: Chartered to B&I Line for services Pembroke – Rosslare.

© The Coffee Dock

© The Coffee Dock

September 15th 1989 – 30th September 1989: Chartered to Sealink UK Ltd, operating between Portsmouth and Cherbourg.

© Brian Fisher © Aubrey Dale

© Brian Fisher (September 1989 @ Portsmouth)(Left) © Aubrey Dale (Rosslare 12/07/900 (Right)

October 1989 – March 1990: Between Dover and Calais.

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton (Dover)

© Ted Ingham  © Ken Larwood  

© Ted Ingham (Left) and © Ken Larwood (Right)

© Justin Merrigan

© Justin Merrigan (Dover)

1990: All Sealink vessels were laid-up during a seaman’s strike.

© A G Jones

© A G Jones (Dover, 08/02/1990)

September 22nd 1990 – March 1991: Continued at Dover, this time under charter to P&O European Ferries and operating between Dover and Zeebrugge


© Frank Heine (Zeebrugge, October 1990)

© Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson (Dover, March 1991)

© Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale (ex Le Havre inbound Cork 11/07/1992)

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler (Cherbourg, July 1992)

1992, 1993, 1994 & 1995: In the winters she was chartered to Estonian Shipping Company, Tallinn, Estonia. Operated Tallink services between Helsinki – Tallinn. Transferred to the Estonian ships register.

© Ulrich Streich  © Frank Heine

© Ulrich Streich (Left) and Helsinki 10/05/1994 © Frank Heine (Right)

1993, 1994 & 1995: In the summers, back to the Irish register and operating between Ireland and France.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

March 4th 1994: Went to the aid of the grounded SALLY ALBATROSS, and evacuated 1,101 passengers and 158 crew.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

November – December 1994: Operated between Dublin and Holyhead, replacing the previous ISLE OF INNISFREE which had been returned to Stena Line at the end of her charter in early 1995.

© Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale

March 19th 1995: A fire broke out in the engine room. Extinguished quickly by crew and was repaired in Birkenhead.

© Ian Collard  © Ian Collard

© Ian Collard

© Ian Collard (Approaching Birkenhead and laid up at East Float, Birkenhead)

1997: Laid up in Le Havre for sale.

July 1997: Reinstated for two crossings between Cork/Rosslare – Roscoff/Cherbourg/Le Havre.

July 1997: Laid up in Le Havre, France.

1998: Chartered to Hellenic Mediterranean Line of Greece (with purchase at end of five year charter period) and re-named the EGNATIA II.

© Ton Grootenboer

© Ton Grootenboer

June 24th 1998: Operated between Brindisi and Patras.

May 2000: Chartered to Balear Express, Spain and renamed VILLE DE SETE. She then operated between Sete and Palma

© Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

Andreas Wörteler Collection Andreas Wörteler Collection

Andreas Wörteler Collection

September 29th 2000: At the end of her charter she was laid-up in Piraeus as EGNATIA II.


Nigel Thornton Collection

March 2001: Chartered to Swansea Cork Ferries and renamed CITY OF CORK.

March 15th 2001: Commenced between Swansea – Cork.

© Marko Stampehl

© Marko Stampehl

2001: Transferred to Maltese flag, home port Valletta.

December 2001: Withdrawn from service at the end of the season, then went to lay up in Greece.

March 6th 2002: Sold to CTMA of Canada to be renamed C.T.M.A. VACANCIER for service between Montreal and the Iles de la Madeleine.

30th April 2002: Left Piraeus bound for Canada.

© Marc Piché

© Marc Piché

May 8th 2002: Arrived at Cap-aux-Meules where she was renamed C.T.M.A. VACANCIER. She then operated between Montreal and Cap-aux-Meules.

2002 (Autumn): Underwent refit at Cap-aux-Meules.

2003: Major refit, including engine overhaul and rebuild, at Les Mechins Dry Dock, Quebec.

April 28th 2003: In dry dock for the installation of new aluminium bridge-wings as well as a general inspection, mechanical repairs, sandblasting and painting. The bridge-wings, which were constructed by Verreault Navigation prior to the arrival of the vessel.

© Marc Piché  © Marc Piché

© Marc Piché

2007: Still in service with CTMA as the C.T.M.A. VACANCIER.


 Courtesy of Groupe C.T.M.A.


© Marc Piché (Montreal, 25/09/2014)

February 5th 2015: “Whilst in service between Souris, Prince Edward Island and the Magdalen Islands. She was half way to Souris when there was a small fire in the exhaust pipe of one of the main engines starboard side that was extinguished very quickly. In heavy ice conditions the ferry only could use one main engine up to Souris and docked only in the morning of Feb 6 after almost 24 hours. The passenger understood the situation but were glad to finally get into port. The ferry was then assisted by the Coast Guard back to the Magdalen Islands for repairs. The next departure from the Magdalen Islands started on Feb 10 at 8 a.m.”.

2016: Brand name changer from “GROUPE  C.T.M.A,” to “CROISIÈRES  CTMA”)


© Marc Piché (Montreal, 29/07/2016)

January 8th 2019: Service on the Matane-Baie-Comeau-Godbout route because of problems with the propulsion system of the F.-A.-Gauthier.

January 22nd 2019: “Suffered a mechanical breakdown off Matane with around 30 passengers on board enroute from the Îles-de-la-Madeleine. The passengers had boarded at 5 p.m. in Baie-Comeau. The ship did not have enough power to navigate the ice around the wharf. An icebreaker was called for to pave the way for the CTMA VACANCIER, but none was available. The ship remained off the wharf. During the night, mechanics on board were able to carry out repairs since the necessary parts were available. The ship finally managed to dock at the Matane wharf on Jan 23 at 7.15 a.m., 12 hours behind schedule. “.

© SAR Ship Photography and Maritime Interest

 © Sverre Andreas Rud (SAR Ship Photography and Maritime Interest) (28/04/2019)   

July 3rd & 10th 2019: Cancelled her weekly stop at Gaspé (Quebec), owing to speed restriction of 10 knots on the St Lawrence River imposed to protect the endangered whale population.

September 2021: Remains in the port of Cap-aux-Meules having had little activity since 2020 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic which has also stopped the entire cruise line. It is anticipated that she will sail to Montreal (Quebec) or Georgestown (Prince Edward Island, Canada) for winter lay-up. It is also hoped that she will back in service next spring to replace the MADELEINE II (ex VILLE DE TERROR) for about 4 weeks. After that her future is unknown.

April 21st 2022: Left Georgetown for Souris and Cap-aux-Meules.

April 25th 2022: Services Cap-aux-Meules-Souris.

Onboard the CTMA Vacancier

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud  © Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud

© Sverre Andreas Rud (SAR Ship Photography and Maritime Interest)

May 14th 2022: Laid up in Georgetown.

November 4th 2022: Announcement made

“No CTMA Vacancier in Gaspé in 2023 either.”

“For a fourth consecutive year, Magdalen cruises will not stop in Gaspé.”

“The CTMA (Maritime and Air Transport Cooperative) of the Magdalen Islands announced today that it is drawing a line under its 2023 cruise season, which was to take place from June to September.

In a press release, the cooperative explains that after three years of shutdown caused by the pandemic, it is still under study in order to analyse whether a relaunch is possible. “The cruise revival project requires certain conditions which will be studied for the next few years. The CTMA Vacancier is also now 50 years old, it is no longer a boat that meets the standards of cruise passengers and it no longer offers the expected experience. CTMA Cruises …………. agreed that we had to analyse the project in the longer term”, underlines general manager Emmanuel Aucoin.”.

Source: Gaspesie

December 20th 2023: Renamed ANCIER and reportedly sold for scrapping at Alang.

January 12th 2024: Sailed from Georgetown to Charlottetown for refuelling. 

January 18th 2024: “Identified as the source of an oil sheen and smell that has been plaguing the area around Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada for the past few days. The Canadian Coast Guard confirmed to CBC News in Canada that they are investigating the ferry as the source of the leak and a containment boom has been strung around the vessel.” Source: Maritime-Executive

January 28th 2024: Information received suggests that she left Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada and ” is currently underway with an Indian crew to refuel in Egypt and then into Alang for scrapping.”. (Showing destination as Bhavnagar eta 28/02/2024)

February 7th 2024: Arrived Algeciras Anchorage B.

February 8th 2024: Left Algeciras Anchorage B showing destination as Dubai (eta: 28/02/2024).

February 18th 2024: Left Port Said for transit through the Suez Canal and onward to the Red Sea.

February 19th 2024: Showing as being in the Red Sea “Armed Guards Onboard” destination Bhavnagar Port (eta: 29/02/2024).

February 28th 2024: Arrived off  Bhavnagar Port (Nr Alang) and anchored.

March 5th 2024: Arrived Alang Anchorage.

March 9th  2024: Beached at Alang. 


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: The Coffee Dock, Ian Collard, Aubrey Dale, Brian Fisher, Ton Grootenboer, Frank Heine, Patrick Hill, A G Jones, Ted Ingham, Mike Jackson, Ken Larwood, Justin Merrigan, Marc Piché, Sverre Andreas Rud (SAR Ship Photography and Maritime Interest), Bob Scott, Simonwp, Marko Stampehl, Ulrich Streich, Paul T and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature. A special thanks goes to Capitaine Mario Landry (Directeur des Opérations Maritimes, C.T.M.A.)

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


  1. Hi there, I was Chief Engineer on Saint Patrick II for 14 years, do you know which engines replaced the 16 cylinder TM410 SWD’s? She was very well built but the main engines were a handfull.

    1. Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for the comment. Unfortunately after extensive research I am unable to find out the information about the engines. I still have a few avenues and sources to explore but at the moment I am coming up a blank.

      Best Wishes

      1. Hi Anthony,

        I have contacted C.T.M.A. and received a reply from Capitaine Mario Landry (Directeur des Opérations Maritimes, C.T.M.A.). He writes “Yes the CTMA Vacancier received a major refit in 2003 at les Méchins but the Main Engine still the same, we did an overhaul but we didn’t replace them.”.
        The page has been amended.

        Many thanks for your input.
        Nigel Thornton

        1. Nigel, Thank you for that, I sailed on three 1973 built ships Saint Patrick, Saint Killian and Saint Patrick II, the first two are long made into razor blades. SPII with her ice class hull sails on – wonderful!
          Memories of many happy days on winter charter in the Baltic – crunching through the ice.

    2. Anthony, I agree all engines were in a bad condition when the vessel was taken over by CTMA. My company supplied most of the spares for the first overhaul of the TM 410 and DRO aux engines, incl. bedplates and crankshafts.
      But the vessel was a vision by the former Directeur Romeo Cyr and he fulfilled this dream. We still have a lot of documentation from the Sietas Werft about this vessel.

      Best wishes

    3. Hello, when SP2 was chartered by North Sea Ferries in 82-83 I was the ships DJ, had a great time on here, I cannot remember the name of the top bar where I worked but remember the Crystal lounge was underneath us and the crew mess was on deck 2 as I recall, all OBS crew were NSF but the deck and engine crew were Irish, I can remember talking to Noel the bosun in the bar

  2. I built a model of the Vacancier that is now in CTMA main office in the Magdalen Islands. Can send you pictures if you want.

  3. Thank you for documenting the history of this ship. It’s scheduled to depart Charlottetown tomorrow morning and I’ll be there to untie. I’ll snap a final picture of the “Ancier” as it departs for scrapping in Alang.

    1. Hi Nathan,
      Thanks for the posting of the ferry of many names but I knew her well as St Patrick 2 and sailed on her nearly everyday in 1982-83 as the ships dj right at the back of the ship in the top bar (cannot remember name of the bar but the main bar underneath was the Crystal lounge) she was a lovely ship inside, I cannot now remember much detail anymore but the reception was on the same deck as the Crystal lounge my cabin was 1 deck down from the reception and the crew was down on deck 2, happy days

  4. Thanks for the history & the photos. I sailed on the Saint Patrick II many times on the Ireland to France route in the 1980s. Fond memories of the ship & holidays. It is sad to see it is heading for scrapping. Thanks for the memories!

  5. Its really sad that this vessel will be retired and goes now to scrap to Alang.
    We helped CTMA a lot to overhaul the engines in the beginning because the Sietas Yard had still all documentation
    and handed them over to us.
    Onces i was a special guest on the vessel i remember the hospitality of the captain and the crew.
    Thank you for sharing an interesting time and business with this vessel!

  6. Thanks for sharing
    I have few photo on that Boat in Iles de la Madeleine and Quebec if you need more

    1. Jean-Claude.
      Thanks for the offer. I will contact you via e-mail so please monitor you Tash/Spam boxes as messages sometimes get directed there!

      Nigel T

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