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MV Sea Freightliner I – Past and Present

IMO Number: 6803416

MV Sea Freightliner I

© Tim Webb

Sea Freightliner I – © Tim Webb ( Harwich, August 1984)

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1968 at John Redhead & Sons Ltd., West Yard, South Shields. England (Yard No 621) as a cellular container ship.

Technical Data

  • Length: 118.29 m (overall) 111.56 m (between perpendiculars)
    Breadth: 16.79 m
    Depth: 6.10 m
    Draught: 4.42 m
    Tonnage: 4043 gross/2108 net/3295t deadweight
    Engines: Two 4 SA 6-cylinder Mirrlees Blackstone diesels
    Power: 3069 kW/4200 bHP
    Speed: 13.5 knots (Max)
  • Crew: 18 plus relief.
    Capacity: TEU: 218/Containers Hold: 162 x 20 ft/ Containers Deck: 56 x 20 ft
    Call Sign: GYFL
    IMO Number: 6803416
  • Official Number: 309426
  • Port of Registry: Harwich/UK
    Sister Ships: Sea Freightliner II (622)


“The first of a pair of vessels and the first specially designed “cellular container ship” to enter the water from a British yard.”.

© British Railways Board © British Railways Board

Sea Freightliner I – © British Railways Board (Both)

December 2nd 1967: Launched by Mrs P Shirley.

March 1968: Delivered to British Railways Board.

May 12th 1968: Entered service between Harwich – Zeebrugge and Harwich – Rotterdam.

Courtesy of Jim Ashby Roy Thornton Collection

Sea Freightliner I – Courtesy of Jim Ashby (Left) Roy Thornton Collection (Right)

May 18th 1968: Made her maiden voyage to Zeebrugge. Initially she was installed on the Harwich (Parkeston Quay) Dunkerque route with alternate days to Zeebrugge. Both vessels were for the fast service between Harwich  and Zeebrugge and were the first of their type to be built in Britain.  The containers slotted into cell spaces in the specialized holds, occupying the whole of the cargo space and these two ships made one round trip each day. The provision of controlled temperatures meant that refrigerated containers could also be carried

May 18th 1968: Underwent test loadings of containers user a Transporter crane.

© Tim Webb

Sea Freightliner I – © Tim Webb 

May 21st 1968: Official opening of the Harwich Container Terminal.

1979: Proposal to convert from using expensive marine diesel oil to cheaper heavy grade oil.

1980: Suffered a major fire onboard whilst in dry-dock at Holyhead and was out of service for several weeks.

August 1982: Special survey.

© Bob Scott

Sea Freightliner – © Bob Scott (Harwich, 01/01/1985)

© Ken Larwood

Seafreightliner II – 🆕© Ken Larwood (Chatham, September 1984)

December 5th 1985: Harwich – Zeebrugge service closed.

July 30th 1986: Towed from Parkeston Quay to the River Stour and laid-up.

© Simonwp

Sea Freightliner I – © Simonwp (07/09/1986)

© Mick Warwick

Sea Freightliner I/II – © Mick Warwick (River Stour, 1986)

February 9th 1987: Sailed to Falmouth for stores and bunkers. She then sailed to Naples and loaded there with electrical goods for China.

May 4th 1987: Arrived at Kaohsiung (Taiwan) for scrapping.

May 11th 1987: Scrapping commenced.

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: Jim Ashby, Ken Larwood,  Bob Scott, Simonwp, Mick Warwick and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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


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