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

TS Cote D’Azur (II) – Past and Present

IMO Number: 5081217

TS Marie F

ex Azur, Cote D’Azur

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

Steel twin screw turbine steamer, built by Societe Anonyme des Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranee, Le Havre, (Yard No ? ) for the French National Railways in 1951.

Technical Data

  • Length on deck: 111.34m (365.2 ft)(overall)
  • Breadth of hull: 14.75m (50.5 ft)(extreme)
  • Draught: 4.96m (12.2 ft)
  • Tonnage: 3,998 gross/1,256 net/509 deadweight
  • Engines: Two Parsons steam turbines, single reduction gearing, each turbine driving one of two screw shafts.
  • Power: 22000shp
  • Speed: 21.5 knots (max)
  • Capacity: 1400 passengers
  • Call Sign: FNXT, 3AKR 
  • IMO Number: 5081217
  • Registry: Calais/France 🇫🇷, Monaco 🇲🇨


April 4th 1950: Launched, costing around £1,400,00. Aluminium was used for the first time in the construction of her bridge and superstructure.

Roy Thornton Collection Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

July 31st 1951: Sea trials over measure mile off  Cherbourg. Attained 25.5 knots on two boilers and 20.5 knots on one.

Roy Thornton Collection Courtesy of Jean Mark Baratte

© Fotoflite (Left) Courtesy of Jean Mark Baratte (Right)

August 1951: Delivered to Societe Anonyme de Gerance et D’Armement S.A.G.A., Calais.

Courtesy of Jean Mark Baratte  Courtesy of Jean Mark Baratte

Courtesy of Jean Mark Baratte

August 15th 1951: Commenced service between Dover – Calais and her usual route, at first, was between Folkestone and Calais.

© Michael Woodland

© Michael Woodland

Courtesy of Jean-Guy Hagelstein Courtesy of Jean-Guy Hagelstein

Courtesy of Jean-Guy Hagelstein (both)

Roy Thornton Collection  Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection (both)

© A G Jones © A G Jones © A G Jones  © A G Jones© A G Jones

© A G Jones  (all)

October 1952 – May 1960: Carried the outward bound “Golden Arrow” passengers from Folkestone to Calais after which the service reverted to Dover. Towards the end of her career she also ran between Dover and Calais.

© A G Jones  © A G Jones

© A G Jones (both)

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

© Fotoflite  © Philippe P. Brébant

© Fotoflite (Left) © Philippe P. Brébant (Right)

© David Ingham © David Ingham

© David Ingham

Courtesy of Jim Ashby Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

September 30th 1972: Made her last sailing for the French Railways from Calais to Folkestone, after which she was withdrawn, laid up in the Western Dock (Calais) and put up for sale.

Courtesy of Jean Mark Baratte

Courtesy of Jean Mark Baratte

© Deck 5 © Deck 5

🆕 © Deck 5

Courtesy of Jean Mark Baratte

Courtesy of Jean Mark Baratte (Leaving Calais under tow for Monaco)

1973: Sold to Societe Anonyme Monegasque D’Armement et de Navigation, (S.A.M.A.N.), Monaco and renamed AZUR, being renamed MARIE F the same year.

July 8th 1973: Arrived in Monaco with plans for her to be used as a ferry between Monaco – Sardinia – Corsica. These plans, however, did not materialise and she was laid-up as a casino ship in Monaco.

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

1973: Laid-up at Etang de Berre, Marseille.

1974: Sold to Jose Laborda Gonzales, Spain, for breaking.



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: Jean Mark Baratte, Philippe P. Brébant, Deck 5. Jean-Guy Hagelstein, Ted Ingham, A G Jones and Michael Woodland for their assistance in producing this feature.

Special thanks go to Fotoflite

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


  1. Sailed Calais with mainly Ex Royal Navy Crew, supposedly employed to live in the vicinity of Monaco and Operate the Ferry Service. All flew home, via Niece, in early July 1973.

  2. I crossed from Dover to Calais on the Cote D ‘Azure in 1965. It was a scary crossing. The boat listed because we were told the cargo had broken loose and shifted. We never knew if our informant was truthful or just took joy in frightenening to young girls on their first holiday to Europe. But we remember it as a terrible start to a most memorable holiday

  3. I crossed the channel n this ship in the summer of 1955. The sea was very rough and the ship was rolling a lot. As a 13 year old I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

  4. I remember the Golden Arrow taking us to the boat each summer as we made our way to Italy for our holidays. My memory was that the crossing took much longer than it does today but that could be childhood playing tricks on me. I havent been able to find anything that says how long it took to cross the channel in this vessel..does anyone have any idea if it was any slower than today’s crafts? I remember the French porters coming quayside to earn some money carrying passengers’ suitcases…I remember them being small quite tanned men in navy often with berets…maybe that is also a memory trick! They were very serious about their work – never saw any of them smile! I was never seasick but I was always afraid of sinking and couldnt understand why we didnt all wear life belts on board!

  5. I sailed on the Cote D’Azur in Spring 1970 when returning to England from a School trip. I clearly remember the elegant interiors. She was like a small liner, very different to the Formica clad, utility, style of the Ro-Ro car ferris of that time.

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