British and Irish Steam Packet Company (B&I Line)FerriesHellas FerriesHellenic SeawaysMoby LinesPast and PresentRegie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT)SAOS FerriesSealinkVentouris Ferries

MV Prins Philippe (III) – Past and Present.

IMO Number: 7305514

MV Express Limnos

ex Express Athina, Panagia Tinou 2, Moby Love, Prins Philippe

© Fotoflite

Prins Philippe – © Fotoflite

Steel twin screw motor vessel built by NV Boelwerf SA, Temse, (Yard No 1476) in 1973 for the Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT) service as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car ferry

Technical Data

  • Length on deck: 118.01m (387.2 ft)(overall)/111.61m (366.2 ft) (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of hull: 19.82m (65 ft)(extreme)
  • Depth: 11.56m (37.9 ft) (moulded)
  • Draught: 4.3m (13.9 ft) (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 5,071 gross, 5,643/2,429 net/963
  • Engines: Two 18-cylinder Atlantique/Pielstick four-stroke 18PC2V-400 SA diesels
  • Power: 13,240kW
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Capacity: 1,240 passengers, 230 cars (1973) or 124 cars and 13 Ro-Ro units/2,000 passengers, 212 cars (1986)
  • Call Sign: ORAG, IBGP 
  • IMO Number: 7305514
  • Registry: Oostende/Belgium 🇧🇪, Napoli/Italy 🇮🇹, Piraeus/Greece 🇬🇷
  • Sister Ships: Prince Laurent (1477)


The first of a pair of similar multi-purpose ferries with larger freight capacity from the Boelwerf in Temse (formerly Jos Boel & Sons). The second was PRINCE LAURENT which, although similar in appearance, was fitted with hoistable mezzanine decks thereby increasing her freight capacity.  

February 17th 1973: Launched.

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Prins Philippe – Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Prins Philippe – Courtesy of Jim Ashby

July 1973: Delivered to Regie voor Maritiem Transport (RMT) representing a tremendous advance on the previous ferries, the vessel’s fixed mezzanine decks along her side alleys limited the number of lorries she could carry and she was nor nearly as successful as her sister which was built with folding mezzanine decks which could take either two layers of cars or, when removed, on of lorries.

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Prins Philippe – Courtesy of Jim Ashby

 © "Rolling Hitch"

Prins Philippe – 🆕 © “Rolling Hitch” (@ Folkestone)

July 15th 1973: Commenced service between Ostend – Dover/Folkestone – Ostend. “She was the first vessel to appear with the RMT monogram on her funnel and with ‘Sealink’ in huge letters along her hull”. These letters were subsequently lowered and reduced in size.

© Julien Tahon

Prins Philippe – © Julien Tahon


Prins Philippe – Nigel Thornton Collection (both)

  Nigel Thornton Collection

Prins Philippe – © Fotoflite (left) and Nigel Thornton Collection (right)


Prins Philippe – © Ken Larwood (both)


Prins Philippe – Nigel Thornton Collection (both)

June 30th 1976: A fire broke out on board the ship as she was about to leave Ostend. It was quickly extinguished and she continued in service.


Prins Philippe – ©  Tony Garner (Dover, 21/09/1981)(left) and © A G Jones (Dover, 14/09/1981)(right)

© Peter Longhurst

Prins Philippe – © Peter Longhurst

May 6th 1985 – October 1st 1985: Chartered to Sealink UK Ltd. Operated between Weymouth – Cherbourg.


Prins Philippe – Courtesy of Brian Fisher (left) and © Ken Larwood (Weymouth, September 1985) (right)

© Derek Longly

Prins Philippe – © Derek Longly (Cherbourg, 1983)

June 26th 1985: As a result of a bomb hoax aimed at the EARL GODWIN, the vessel was given a precautionary search when arriving back from Cherbourg. Resumed sailings the following day.

August 20th 1985: Trimmed 20 minutes off the previous fastest crossing, 3 hours 29 minutes, (1910 by IBEX, 3 hours 49 minutes from breakwater to breakwater ) between Cherbourg – Weymouth .

October 25th 1985: An agreement with Townsend Thoresen (The European Ferries Group) was successfully concluded and completely excluded Sealink UK Ltd.

May 22nd 1986 – June 22nd 1986: Chartered to B&I Line, Dublin, Ireland. Operated between Fishguard – Rosslare

1986: Returned to Ostend – Dover as relief ship, making several more sailings.

© Frank Heine   © Frank Heine

Prins Philippe – © Frank Heine (Ostend,  30/07/1986)

September 25th 1986: Final crossing for RMT then laid up.

November 14th 1986: Sold to Navigazione Arcipelago Maddalenino Spa, Naples, Italy and refitted at the RMT dock, at Ostend.

Prins Philippe – Nigel Thornton Collection (Spezia)

December 4th 1986: Arrived Spezia, Italy. Renamed MOBY LOVE

© A Scrimali, Nigel Thornton Collection  

Moby Love – Nigel Thornton Collection (both)

1986: Introduced by Navarma Lines between La Spezia – Livorno – Bastia.

© Carlo Martinelli  © Carlo Martinelli

Moby Love – © Carlo Martinelli (both)

© Frank Heine  © Frank Heine

Moby Love – © Frank Heine (La Spezia, 17/07/1989)

During the early 1990s Navarma acquired further used ferries, which replaced the Moby ferries acquired in the 1980s. During the same time “Moby Lines” was adopted as the official company name.

© Carlo Martinelli   © Carlo Martinelli

Moby Love – © Carlo Martinelli (Genoa 1992)(both)

© Frank Heine  © Frank Heine

Moby Love – © Frank Heine (Genoa, 27/07/1992)

May 22nd 1993 – May 23rd 1993: Operated between Piombino – Portoferraio carrying passengers for the Giro d’Italia (Italian equivalent of the Tour De France).

1993: Sold to Ventouris Sea Line (C. Ventouris’ Sons Cyclades Coastlines) Piraeus, Greece and renamed PANAGIA TINOU 2.

Panagia Tinou 2 – Roy Thornton Collection

1993: Commenced service between Piraeus – Paros – Naxos – Ios – Santorini.

1995: When her operators collapsed in 1995 she was retained in operation that summer on the orders of her mortgagees but spent much of the following year laid-up in Piraeus before sale.

© Carsten Dettmer

Panagia Tinou 2 – © Carsten Dettmer (Mykonos, 01/08/1996)

August 1996: Sold to Agapitos Express Ferries by whom she was renamed EXPRESS ATHINA and transferred to Rafina.

August 25th 1996: Operated between Piraeus – and the Greek Islands. Although Agapitos Express Ferries were taken over into Hellas Ferries her name and route have not altered.


Express Athina – © Tony Garner (Mykonos, 26/09/1999) (left) and © Ton Grootenboer (right)

November 8th 1999: Sold to Minoan Flying Dolphins, Piraeus, operating Hellas ferry traffic


Express Athina – Roy Thornton Collection (left) and © Ton Grootenboer (right)


Express Athina – © Andreas Wörteler (Rafina, June 2002)

Express Athina – © Ken Larwood (Mykonos, 2004)

December 2004: Operated between Rafina – Andros – Tinos – Mykonos.

January 2005: Transferred to Hellenic Seaways, Greece.

January 2005: Company adopted the new name of Hellenic Seaways, Greece. The fleet were re-liveried with blue hulls.


Express Athina – Nigel Thornton Collection (Tropic Postcards) (both)


Express Athina – © Andreas Wörteler (Rafina, July 2005)(both)

November 2005: Laid up.

June 2006: Returned to service.

December 2006: Laid up.

Express Athina – © Aleksi Lindström

January 9th 2007 – February 28th 2007: Chartered to Strintzis Ferries. Operated between Killini – Poros.

March 4th 2007: Laid up in Piraeus.

March 25th 2005: Sold to Saos Ferries, Greece. To be renamed to EXPRESS LIMNOS and introduced between Lavrio-Limnos-Kavala and on Thessaloniki-Limnos-Mytilini service.

May 8th 2007: Renamed EXPRESS LIMNOS.



Express Limnos – © Aleksi Lindström (Inaugural sailing from Piraeus, 30/07/2007)(all)

July 2nd 2007: Commenced service between Lavrio – Agios Efstratios – Limnos – Mytilene – Thessaloniki – Kavala.

December 2nd 2008: Owing to financial the difficulties of her owners she was arrested in Lavrio.

October 2011: Sold to Turkish breakers.

November 7th 2011: Arrived at Aliaga, undertow of tug LUCKY STAR, for scrapping.

© Selim San

Express Limnos – © Selim San

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: Carsten Dettmer, Brian Fisher, Tony Garner, Ton Grootenboer, Frank Heine, A G Jones, Ken Larwood, Aleksi Lindström, Derek Longly, Peter Longhurst, Carlo Martinelli, “Rolling Hitch”, Selim San and Andreas Wörteler.

Special thanks go to Jim Ashby.

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

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