Compagnie Marocaine de Navigation (COMANAV)FerriesP&O Stena LinePast and PresentSealinkStar LineStena LineStena Sealink Line

MV St Christopher – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7813949

MV European Star

ex IBN Batouta, Stena Antrim, St Christopher

Nigel Thornton Collection

St Christopher – Nigel Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw “Saint Class” motor vessel, built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast (Yard No. 1716), for Sealink U.K. in 1980 as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry. Engined by Crossley-Pielstick

Technical Data

  • Length: 129.40 m (overall) 120.70m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of Hull: 21.00 m (moulded), 21.60m (overall)
  • Depth to upper deck: 11.80m
  • Depth to B deck: 13.20m
  • Draught: 4.65 m (service), 4.72m (scanting)
  • Tonnage: 7,399 gross/3,386 net/1,755t deadweight
  • Engines: Two Crossley-Pielstick medium speed 16PC2-5V diesels, 10400 bhp at 520 revs/min
  • Power: 15310 kW
  • Speed: 19.5 knots (service)
  • Capacity: 1,400 passengers, 309 cars, 62 x 12 m freight vehicles or a mixture of the two. Loaded on two decks as follows: Main Deck (height 4.42m) 12 cars or 28 x 12m road haulage vehicles. Upper Deck (height 4.42m) 187 cars or 34 x 12m road haulage vehicles and 40 cars.
  • Call Sign: GBRN, CNA3723, 3EEB6
  • MMSI Number: 374081000
  • IMO Number: 7813949
  • Official Number: 390852
  • Registry: London/United Kingdom 🇬🇧, Stranraer/United Kingdom 🇬🇧, Tanger/Morocco 🇲🇦, Togo 🇹🇬, Panama 🇵🇦
  • Sister Ships: Galloway Princess (1713), St Anselm (1715)St David (1717)

Vesselfinder AIS Location Data


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History

The third of a series of four similar “Saint Class” ships to be produced by the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast. The ST ANSELM and her twin sister ST CHRISTOPHER were Sealink’s response to the freight challenge and passenger demands of the 1980s. The other pair, the GALLOWAY PRINCESS and ST DAVID was originally delivered for Irish Sea operations

March 18th 1980: Christened, but launch was delayed for two days owing to storms. Owned by Barclays Mercantile Industrial Finance Ltd and to be bare-boat chartered to Sealink UK. Cost £16 million.

Nigel Thornton Collection

St Christopher – Nigel Thornton Collection

March 20th 1980: Launched.

Nigel Thornton Collection   

St Christopher – Nigel Thornton Collection

March 14th 1981: Delivered to Sealink UK, London, England.

Nigel Thornton Collection Nigel Thornton Collection  

St Christopher – Nigel Thornton Collection

March 15th 1981: Commenced service between Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire.

March 19th 1981: Fishguard – Rosslare due to overhaul of STENA NORMANDICA.

April 13th 1981: Arrived at Dover.

© Jack Robertson

St Christopher – © Jack Robertson (Radio Room)


© Bob Heard © Bob Heard

© Bob Heard © Bob Heard

© Bob Heard © Bob Heard

© Bob Heard

St Christopher – © Bob Heard (R/O)(Engine Room)


April 15th 1981: Maiden voyage between Dover – Calais.

St Christopher – Thanks to Jane Spall (Inaugural departure)

Nigel Thornton Collection

St Christopher – Nigel Thornton Collection

  

St Christopher – © Ken Larwood

November 1981: Made a first Dover – Ostend sailing.

© Derek Longly © Jack Robertson

St Christopher – © Derek Longly (01/11/1981) (Left) © Jack Robertson (Right)

1982: During refit had her bridge deck, aft of her funnels converted for passenger use.

August 1982: Off service with engine problems.

April 2nd 1983: Stern superstructure rebuilt at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

June 9th 1983: Arrived back in Dover.

July 18th 1984: Sale of Sealink U.K. to Sea Containers Ltd, Bermuda. Company changed name to Sealink British Ferries U.K.

July 27th 1984: Registered to Sea Containers Ltd.

Courtesy of DDGHANSA © Jack Robertson

St Christopher – Courtesy of DDGHANSA (Left) © Jack Robertson (Right)

© A G Jones © A G Jones  

St Christopher – © A G Jones (Dover 01/11/1984)

January 1985: Refit at Chatham and new Sealink British Ferries livery

Nigel Thornton Collection   

St Christopher – Nigel Thornton Collection (Left) and © Ken Larwood (Right)

© Ken Larwood © Ken Larwood  

St Christopher – © Ken Larwood

© Mark Willis

St Christopher – © Mark Willis (Dover, 1985)

October 1986: Off service with crankshaft problems.

© A G Jones © Fotoflite  

St Christopher – © A G Jones (Left) and © Fotoflite (Right)

  

St Christopher – © Ken Larwood

May 4th 1987: Owing to high winds in Calais, “made contact” with the SPIRIT OF FREE ENTERPRISE only minimal damage was sustained and was able to continue in service.

October 16th – 17th 1987: During hurricane gusts off South East England hit by seas of such force that the steel door on her upper deck below the bridge was split open and some cargo overturned.


© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell

© Ed Connell  © Ed Connell

St Christopher – © Ed Connell

Nigel Thornton Collection

St Christopher – Nigel Thornton Collection

© Dennis Hopkins

St Christopher – © Dennis Hopkins


August 30th 1990: Sold to Stena Line, Ab, Göteborg. (Registered to Stena Equipment and Aircraft Leasing Ltd. London (SEAL))

St Christopher – Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

© Andreas Wörteler   

St Christopher – © Andreas Wörteler (Left) and © Ken Larwood (Right)

October 1990: Commenced service for Sealink Stena Line.

1991: Refit at A & P Appledore, North Shields. Renamed STENA ANTRIM then to Fishguard – Rosslare after refit.

  

Stena Antrim – Nigel Thornton Collection

Stena Antrim – © Ken Larwood (North Shields, 16/01/1991)

February 8th 1991: Arrived back in Dover.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Stena Antrim – Nigel Thornton Collection

1991: Stena full takeover of Sealink U.K. Ltd for a sum believed to be in the region of £259 million. The fleets livery was changed to reflect the fact.

April 4th 1991: Final day operating between Dover – Calais.

April 7th 1991: Commenced service between Stranraer – Larne.

February 2nd – February 15th 1992: Refit at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.

February 1992: Re-registered to Stranraer.

  

Stena Antrim – © Aubrey Dale

Nigel Thornton Collection

Stena Antrim – Nigel Thornton Collection

© Bernd Crause © Bernd Crause 

Stena Antrim – © Bernd Crause (Stranraer, 1994)

© Alan Geddes

Stena Antrim – © Alan Geddes (Ship Repair Quay, Belfast, 19/09/1995)

November 12th 1995: Commenced service between Stranraer – Belfast.

© Aubrey Dale © Andreas Wörteler  

Stena Antrim – © Aubrey Dale (Left) and © Andreas Wörteler (Cairnryan, 11/05/1994)(Right)

  

Stena Antrim – © Aubrey Dale

December 31st 1995 (midnight): Stena Sealink Line ceased as a company name and all ships in the fleet adopted the trading name of Stena Line. The fleet was painted in the Scandinavian livery.

© Aubrey Dale

Stena Antrim – © Aubrey Dale

July 21st 1996: Final day operating between Stranraer – Larne. Laid up in Belfast. She was occasionally brought out of layup to operate additional freight only sailings to Stranraer when the need arose.

October 28th 1996: Commenced service between Newhaven – Dieppe.

© Andreas Wörteler

Stena Antrim – © Andreas Wörteler

© Tony Garner © Tony Garner  

Stena Antrim – © Tony Garner

March 10th 1998: Commenced service with P&O Stena Line Ltd between Newhaven – Dieppe.

April 22nd 1998: Final day operating between Newhaven – Dieppe.

© Andreas Wörteler

Stena Antrim – © Andreas Wörteler

April 24th 1998: Laid up in Zeebrügge.

© Andreas Wörteler

Stena Antrim – © Andreas Wörteler

1998: Sold to Limadet and renamed the IBN BATOUTA.

June 13th 1998: Left Zeebrugge for Malaga.

July 1998: Commenced service between Tangier – Algeciras.

© Benoit Donne © Benoit Donne  

IBN Batouta – © Benoit Donne

March/April 2006: Refit and trading brand scheme alteration in Genoa.

© N Thornton

IBN Batouta – © N Thornton

© Enrico Righetti © Enrico Righetti  

IBN Batouta – © Enrico Righetti

© Ivan Meshkov

IBN Batouta – © Ivan Meshkov

January 2008: Arrived Marseille, France. Taken over by Comanav.

© Daniel Ferro © Daniel Ferro  

IBN Batouta – © Daniel Ferro

July 2008: Commenced service between Algeciras – Tangier.

© Gerolf Drebes   

IBN Batouta – © Gerolf Drebes (left) and © Juan G Mata (right)

September 2011: Gibraltar for “Sixth Special Survey” to classification society approval, complete overhaul of engines and fitting of two watertight doors on her car-deck enabling her to comply with the Stockholm Agreement Rules concerning damage stability on ro/ro vessels.

January 2012: Financial collapse of owners led to the vessel being laid-up in Algeciras.

May 2014: Remains laid up at Campamento Pier, Algeciras, Spain

© Carsten Dettmer

IBN Batouta – © Carsten Dettmer (Laid up 23/07/2014)

© Mike Jackson © Mike Jackson  

© Mike Jackson © Mike Jackson  

IBN Batouta – © Mike Jackson (Algeciras 13/10/2014)

Algeciras Bay Port Authority initiated proceedings for the declaration of abandonment for which they offered sale at 1,027,000 euros. The money raised with the sale by auction of the ship would be paid to the Treasury, less credits accrued to the APBA for the fees, port charges over the years and the costs of proceedings.

August 11th 2015: Towed from Algeciras by tug BRUCOLI destination Durres (Albania)

IBN Batouta – © Juan G Mata

May 16th 2016: Believed to be still laid up in Durres.

February 8th 2018: Left Durres, under tow from tug CHRISTOS XXIV, destination showing as Tuzla (Turkey)

© Cees Bustraan

© Cees Bustraan

February 15th 2018: Arrived in Tuzla where refurbishment work will be carried out by by Polimar Shipping

© Polimar Shipping

IBN Batouta – Polimar Shipping

August 2018: Towed to Salamis Shipyards, Ampelakia (Greece)

© Frank Heine

IBN Batouta – © Frank Heine (Ambelaki 19/08/2018)

December 17th 2018: News circulating is that she is now owned by European Ferries (Italian interests), which intends to launch her between Brindisi (Southern Italy) – Vlora (Albania) and she will be renamed EUROPEAN STAR.

European Star – © Dimitris Mentakis (12/10/2018)

January 1st 2019: Renamed EUROPEAN STAR registered in Panama. Registered owner & manager;  Northbay Transportes Maritimos, Madeira.

March 4th 2019: From a usually reliable source: “According to the official website of Red Star Ferries, EUROPEAN STAR (12.781 GT / 1981) appears in the company’s reservation system and from 16 July to 30 September 2019 will probably perform routes in Brindisi-Valona line.”.

April 15th 2019: Towed from Ampelakia to Syros

April 17th 2019: Arrived in Syros where she will be dry docked.

May 4th 2019: Entered dry dock at Syros.

© Yannis Yambanis

European Star – © Yannis Yambanis

May 18th 2019: Left Syros, under her own power, bound for Brindisi.

May 20th 2019: Arrived in Brindisi.

October 1st 2019: Conducted sea trial.

Marine Traffic

Marine Traffic

November 30th 2019: Left Brindisi.

December 2nd 2019: Arrived at Piraeus Anchorage.

December 2nd 2019: Arrived at Piraeus port.

European Star – © Dimitris Mentakis

© Dennis Mortimer

European Star – © Dennis Mortimer (Drapetsona Bay, Piraeus, 10/05/2020)

March 2022: Remains, laid-up, in Paloukia (Greece).

May 20th 2022: Dry docked at Spanopoulos Shipyard, Paloukia where she received Star Line, blue, livery. 

May 27th 2022: Towed from Paloukia to Piraeus Anchorage and indications are that she will take up service between Brindisi – Sarande.


                                                               

European Star – © arxipelagos.gr (Thanks to Spyros Roussos)(Paloukia, 27/05/2022)


May 27th 2022: Left Paloukia.

June 4th 2022: Arrived Sarande (Albania).

June 6th 2022: Arrived in Brindisi to service Brindisi – Sarande.

© Frazer Shaun Herring

European Star – 🆕 © Frazer Shaun Herring


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: https://arxipelagos.gr/, Cees Bustraan, Ed Connell, Bernd Crause, DDGHANSA, Aubrey Dale, Carsten Dettmer, Benoit Donne, Gerolf Drebes, Daniel Ferro, Tony Garner, Alan Geddes, Frazer Shaun Herring, Dennis Hopkins, Mike Jackson, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Derek Longly, Juan G Mata, Dimitris Mentakis, Ivan Meshkov, Dennis Mortimer, Enrico Righetti, Jack Robertson, Spyros Roussos, Mark Willis, Andreas Wörteler and Yannis Yambanis  for their assistance in compiling this feature.

Special thanks go to Terry Conybeare, Frank Heine, Iain Robertson and Jane Spall.

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

7 Comments

  1. The Ibn Batouta has been brought by Red Star Ferries for Italy-Albania Service. If she will replace the current Red Star 1 or will act as a second ship, it still not known.

  2. Between finishing service on Stranraer to Belfast in July 96, and starting at Newhaven in October, she was occasionally brought out of layup to operate additional freight only sailings to Stranraer when the need arose.

  3. I sailed on the St Christopher in July 1984 in here Original Sealink livery
    It’s amazing to see she is still going after all these years
    She has been well looked after over ther years
    Where other ships of similar are long gone she is still going

  4. Brilliant photos and the facts and figures, thanks for the information on the Sealink Ferries .

  5. Hoping to reintroduce on service from Brindisi shortly had some quite significant work done over last few years which could be her saviour. One of few remaining Sealink vessels of our era 80″s – 90″s still in service.

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