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MV Viking Trader (Ex Stena Tender) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7501285

MV Black Horses

ex Black Iris, European Navigator, Leopard, Viking Trader, Oyster Bay, Manuare VII, Caribbean Sky, Federal Nova, Goya, Stena Tender

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1974 by Österreichische Schiffswerften AG, Linz-Korneuburg (Yard No 709) as a RoRo Cargo ship for for Stena Line AB

Technical Data

  • Length: 95 – 137.17m (overall) 131.71 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 17.61m
  • Depth: 11.74 m
  • Draught: 5.701 m
  • Tonnage: 2905 – 3809 – 9085 gross/1021 – 1614 – 2726 net/4150 – 3775 – 6400t deadweight
  • Engines: Two 4SA 12 – cylinder Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz SBV12M540 diesels.
  • Power: 8827 kW/12000 bHP
  • Speed: 16 knots (service) 18 knots (max)
  • Capacity: 12 -48 -72 passengers, 70 vehicles, TEU 200/200 x 20 ft containers
  • Call Sign: GXIS, ZCBG3, JYGP, 9LH2001
  • IMO Number: 7501285
  • Official Number: 377421
  • Port of Registry: Nassau/Bahamas 🇧🇸, Southampton/UK 🇬🇧, Hamilton/Bermuda 🇧🇲, Aqaba/Jordan 🇯🇴, Freetown/Sierra Leone 🇸🇱
  • Sister Ships: Stena Topper (710), Stena Timer (711)


April 1st 1975: Keel laid.

January 15th 1976: Launched as STENA TENDER, hull only for Stena Line.

Due to the position of the ship yard situated well up the River Danube, it was not possible to complete her in Austria due to a number of low bridges further downstream. Instead the hull had to be towed to Galati in Romania with the superstructure following along behind on a barge. It was there that the ship was to be completed. Various problems were encountered along the way. Firstly, the tow was delayed for 3 weeks due to the collapse of a road bridge across the Danube in Vienna. Once this was cleared the procession carried on, but with a hot summer the level of the Danube had dropped significantly and the hull ran aground.

October 1976: Re-floated after a spell of heavy rain which lasted a month. The heavy rain solved one problem but presented another.  Once the tow reached the Novostad Bridge in Yugoslavia, the hull passed below the bridge, just, but the superstructure on its barge was too high. A further 6 months were spent waiting for the water level to drop to let the barge through.

1977: Towed to Nobiskrug Werft in Rendsburg, Germany. Lengthened by 27m.

© Michael Neidig

© Michael Neidig (Rendsburg, 16/09/1977)

October 14th 1977: Delivered to United Baltic Corporation and renamed GOYA.

October 1977: Entered service between Southampton – Bordeaux – Bilbao.

© World Ship Society Library

© World Ship Society Library

January 1980: Sold to Federal Commerce & Navigation of Canada.

March 1980: Renamed FEDERAL NOVA

1981: Sold to Seaforth Fednav, Nassau. Renamed CARIBBEAN SKY.

1982: Sold to Linea Manuare renamed MANUARE VII operating between Venezuela and the USA.

1982: Sold to Philippine Navigation Inc.

1983: Sold to Timber Shipping Inc, Panama and renamed OYSTER BAY.

1983: Sold to Cenargo Ltd (Denholm Ship Management Ltd) Southampton. Renamed VIKING TRADER.

October 1983: Chartered to Townsend Thoresen European Ferries, Dover. Entered service between Southampton to Le Havre.

1984: Rebuilt with additional passenger accommodation.

November 3rd 1984: Transferred to Portsmouth – Le Havre service.

© Brian Fisher © Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher (All)

© Simonwp

© Simonwp (Portsmouth, 01/03/1985)

1985: Registered to Cenargo Navigation Ltd Southampton (Managed by Townsend – Thoresen )

© SDS Ship Photographic

© SDS Ship Photographic (Portsmouth, 07/06/1987)

1987: Bare-boat chartered to P&O European ferries Ltd, Portsmouth.

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher (Portsmouth, May 1988)

January 1988: Sold to POETS Fleet Management Ltd, London (Pandora) later being introduced between Fleetwood – Larne.

© Robbie Cox

© Robbie Cox (Dublin, 04/02/1988)

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (Portsmouth, June 1988)

© Brian Fisher

© Brian Fisher (January, 1992)

© Aubrey Dale  © Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale  © Aubrey Dale

© Aubrey Dale (All)


© Bernd Crause (Fleetwood, 13/05/1994)

July 15th 1996: Renamed LEOPARD, commenced service between Liverpool – Dublin.

© Marco Stampehl

© Marco Stampehl

January 1997: In service between Fleetwood – Dublin.

March 2nd 1997: Registered to P&O Ship Management, Hamilton, Bermuda.

June 8th 1997 – June 26th 1997: Operated between Cairnryan – Larne.

January 1998: Transferred to P&O European Ferries, Irish Sea and renamed EUROPEAN NAVIGATOR.

© Trevor Kidd  © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd  © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd  © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd  © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd

April 12th 1999: Introduced between Cairnryan – Larne, sometimes between Larne – Fleetwood.

© Dave Rimmer © Dave Rimmer

© Dave Rimmer

© Alan Geddes

© Alan Geddes  (Larne, 19/10/1999)

January 7th 2000: Ran aground near to Larne and re-floated.

January 20th 2002: Operated between Larne – Troon.

September 25th 2002: Final crossing before going to A & P Birkenhead for major overhaul.

September 27th 2002: Arrived at Birkenhead.

January 15th 2003: Sold to Arab Bridge/Salem International, Aman, Jordan.

February 1st 2003: Final day operating between Fleetwood -Larne.

February 2nd 2002: Laid up in Liverpool.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

February 17th 2003: Taken over by her new owners at A&P Birkenhead. Renamed BLACK IRIS.

© Alan Geddes 

🆕© Alan Geddes 

2003: Commenced service between Aqaba – Nuweiba.

© Gianpaola

© Gianpaola (Aqaba, 02/04/2011)

September 2012: Sold to El Zafarana Co For Marine, Freetown , Sierra Leone and renamed BLACK HORSES.

January 10th 2014: Arrived at Oceandro SY, Adabiya, Egypt for scrapping.

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: Micke Aslander, Robbie Cox, Bernd Crause, Brian Fisher, Alan Geddes, Gianpaola, Trevor Kidd, Ken Larwood, Michael Neidig, Dave Rimmer, SDS Ship Photographic (Dave Shepherd), Simonwp, Marco Stampehl and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

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