FerriesPast and PresentSealinkSociété Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF)

MV Valencay – Past and Present

MV Pollux I

ex Pollux, Eptanisos, Valencay

Roy Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1965 by Chantiers de Atlantique, Nantes, France (Yard No E23) as a passenger and vehicle roll-on roll-off vehicle ferry, for SNCF

Technical Data

  • Length on deck: 105.01m (344.6 ft)(overall) 97.26m (319.10 ft) (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 17.07m (56.0 ft)(extreme)
  • Depth: 10.60m (34.9 ft)
  • Draught: 3.96m (12.1075 ft) (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 3,430 gross (1965), 2,963 (1985)/977 net (1965), 1,400 (1985)/57 deadweight (1965), 668 (1985)
  • Engines: Two 6-cylinder Pielstick diesels
  • Power: 9,235 kW
  • Speed: 21 knots (max on completion)
  • Capacity: 1,200 passengers, 140 cars
  • Call Sign: FNON (1965 – 2000), SXHH0 (1985 – 2000)
  • IMO: 6508157
  • Registry: Dieppe (1965 – 1985), Piraeus (1985 – 2000)
  • Sister Ship: Villandry


October 5th 1964: Keel struck.

Bernt Anderson Collection

Bernt Anderson Collection

February 6th 1965: The Valencay launched by Mrs. Roger Guibert, the wife of SNCF deputy chairman.

June 18th 1965: Sea trials.

June 21st 1965: The Valencay arrived in Dieppe and was delivered to Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Francais, Dieppe, France. Originally appeared with black hull.

June 27th 1965: Arrived at Newhaven for ramp tests.

July 7th 1965: Commissioned under the command of Commandant Guyomard.

July 13th 1965: Introduced between Dieppe – Newhaven.

© A G Jones  © A G Jones

© A G Jones

© A G Jones (Newhaven, 14/10/1966)(all)

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

December 1967: Returned from refit with joint service flag on her funnel.

© Ted Ingham  © A G Jones

© Ted Ingham (left) and © A G Jones (Dieppe, 15/07/1972)(right)

© Tony Garner

© Tony Garner (Newhaven, 25/08/1975)

1974 (Autumn): Laid up/reserve vessel for the Calais – Dover/Boulogne – Folkestone routes.

May 1973: Operated 3 Rouen cruises.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

November 26th 1975 – January 19th 1976: Operated between Calais – Folkestone.

September 6th 1977: Off service at Dieppe with steering gear problems. After repair she was transferred to Le Havre for stretching.

December 1975: Announcement made that both VILLANDRY and VALENCAY were to be “stretched” at Ateliers et Chantiers, Le Havre to cater for the increase of freight lorry traffic. Approximately three quarters of the after end of the ship’s accommodation was cut and raised by 56 cm. In order to give greater headroom for freight on the main vehicle deck below. Also at this time they were to be converted to bow loaders and have their funnel tops extended. Thus modified they would be able to carry 20 rather than 10 lorries. The VILLANDRY was earmarked to go for her conversion during autumn of 1976 followed a year later by her sister-ship. Other alterations included the removal of the vessel’s stern bridges and the extension of their after observation lounges.

September 1977: To Ateliers et Chantiers, Le Havre, France for rebuilding.


© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood   © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (all)

February 1978: Returned to service after rebuild.

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

1983: Received red SNCF funnel colours.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

January 1984: Replaced by chartered CORNOUAILLES.

May 30th 1984: Owing to N.U.S. (National Union of Seaman) protests with the SENLAC blocking the link-span at Newhaven, operated a service from Dieppe to Dover Western Docks.

September 1984: Laid up in Calais.

December 1984: Sold to Strintzis Lines S.A. Piraeus, Greece. Renamed EPTANISOS.

© Jürgen Stein  © Ken Larwood

© Jürgen Stein (left) and © Ken Larwood (right)

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

1985: Operated between Rafina – Andros – Tinos – Mykonos.

© Jürgen Stein  Nigel Thornton Collection

© Jürgen Stein (left) and Nigel Thornton Collection (right)

© Antonis Lazarus

© Antonis Lazarus

© Frank Heine   © Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Rafina, 15/07/1990)

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Patras, 11/07/1994)


🆕© Bernd Crause (Kefalonia, 12/09/1994)

May 2000: Sold to Ventouris Ferries, Piraeus, Greece (Registered to Northern Med. Shipping Corp). Renamed POLLUX.

© Andreas Wörteler  © Antonis Lazaris

© Andreas Wörteler (June 2000) (Left) and © Antonis Lazaris (Bari 01/08/2000) (Right)

May 2000: Operated between Bari – Durres.

©  Aleksi Lindström (Bari, July 2002)

© Frank Heine  © Frank Heine

Bari 10/07/2001 (Left) and Bari 22/07/2002 (Right) © Frank Heine

2003: Transferred to Panamanian flag. Renamed POLLUX I.

© Frank Heine

© Frank Heine (Bari 21/07/2003)

November 2003: Sold for scrapping in India.

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: Bernt Anderson, Bernd Crause, Brian Fisher, Tony Garner, Frank Heine, Ted Ingham, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Antonis Lazaris, Aleksi Lindström, Jürgen Stein and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

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