Belfast Steamship CompanyFerriesP&O FerriesPast and Present

MV Ulster Prince – Past and Present

MV Matar

ex Vatan, Panther, Neptunia, Macmosa, Long Hu, Tangapakorn, Lady M, Ulster Prince

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1967 by Harland & Wolff Ltd. Belfast (Yard No 1667) as a passenger and vehicle roll-on roll-off vehicle ferry, for Belfast Steamship Co., Belfast

Technical Data

  • Length on deck: 113.70m (overall) 111.25m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 16.50m (extreme)
  • Depth: 9.07m
  • Draught: 4.16m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 4479 – 4269 gross/ 2262 – 2114 -1412 net/1050 – 1389 deadweight
  • Engines: Two 12-cylinder Pielstick diesels
  • Power: 2663 – 5368 kW/7200 – 7298 bhp
  • Speed: 17½ knots
  • Capacity: 522 1st class – 500 2nd class (1967) – 1,311 passengers, 120 (1967) – 230 cars
  • Crew: 85 (1967)
  • Call Sign: GTVH, H2LO (Lady M), C6DZ6 (Macmosa)
  • IMO Number: 6622587 Official Number: 305572 (1967)
  • Registry: Belfast/UK, Limassol/Cyprus, Shantou, Nassau/Bahamas, Panama
  • Sister Ship: Ulster Queen


October 13th 1966: Launched.

April 6th 1967: Delivered to Belfast Steamship Co., Belfast, Northern Ireland.

April 13th 1967: Inaugural arrival in Liverpool to carry out berthing trials.

April 18th 1967: Maiden voyage Liverpool – Belfast.

April 19th 1967: Commenced service between Liverpool – Belfast.


April 16th 1972: Damaged both stabiliser fins and dry-docked at Liverpool.

April 17th 1972: Resumed sailings.

1977: Both sisters had the words (P&O Ferries) painted on their hulls.

September 21st 1978: Registered to P&O Ferries Ltd.

© Malcolm Cranfield

© Malcolm Cranfield

February 1981: Blue hull colouring raised by a deck and P&O flag added to funnels.

October 12th 1981: Extreme losses on the Liverpool – Belfast route led to an announcement that the service would close, but closure postponed until 11/11/1981.

November 6th 1981: Crew refused to allow the vessel to sail and occupied her.

November 6th /7th 1981: Made her final sailing between Liverpool – Belfast.

December 3rd 1981: “Occupation” ended.

December 10th 1981: Left Liverpool for Ostend.

December 1981: Laid up in Ostend.

© Archim Borchert

© Archim Borchert (Ostend 06/03/1982)

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (Ostend June 1982)

© Corvelyn Roger  © Corvelyn Roger

© Corveleyn Roger (Ostend 19/07/1982)

© Archim Borchert

© Archim Borchert (Ostend 06/08/1982)

Andreas Wörteler Collection

Andreas Wörteler Collection

August 27th 1982: Sold to Panmar Ferries Services, Nicosia, Cyprus and renamed LADY M.

September 1982: Left Ostend for the Mediterranean.

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

June 19th 1983 – October 1983: Services for Marlines between Patras – Igoumenitsa – Ancona.

© Simonwp

© Simonwp (Piraeus 23/10/1984)

1984: Sold to Varsity S.A., Panama and renamed TANGAPAKORN.

© Pieter Inpyn

© Pieter Inpyn (Singapore, November 1984)

1984: Service between Hong Kong – China.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher (Hong Kong 11/1986)

© Simonwp

© Simonwp (Hong Kong)

1986: Renamed LONG HU.

1988: Sold to Shun Tak Enterprises, Macau and renamed MACMOSA. Services between Macau – Taiwan.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher (Hong Kong 1988)

1995: Sold to Hellenic Mediterranean Lines, (Registered to Aquila Maritime Services Inc. Panama) and renamed NEPTUNIA.

1995: Chartered to Neckar Riesen for services between Bari – Cesme.

1995: Continued services for HML.

1995: Registered to Panther Marine Corp., Panama having been renamed PANTHER.

Andreas Wörteler Collection

Andreas Wörteler Collection

1995: Services for Hellenic Orient Lines between Bari – Cesme.

1995: Laid up at Eleusis.

© Frank Heine   © Frank Heine

🆕© Frank Heine (Bari 31/07/1996)

1996: Services between Patras – Igoumenitsa – Brindisi.

© Frank Heine

🆕© Frank Heine (Brindisi 22/07/1997)

1998: Laid up at Piraeus.

June 2000: Chartered to Superferries. Renamed VATAN for services between Cesme – Brindisi.

© Antonis Lazaris

© Antonis Lazaris

 © Peter J Fitzpatrick

© Peter J Fitzpatrick (Eleusis Bay 2000)

2000: Registered to Manar Marine Services Inc., Panama and renamed MANAR.

2001: Services for Al Thuraya Marine Service Co, LLc, Dubai.

February 12th 2001: Services between Port Rashid – Umm Qasr, Iraq.

March 2004: Sold to Indian breakers.

April 3rd 2004: Arrived at Alang.

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: Malcolm Cranfield, Brian Fisher, Frank Heine, Pieter Inpyn, Ken Larwood, Antonis Lazaris, Corveleyn Roger, Simonwp and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

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