We report on a 1975 former Sealink ferry that’s found a new lease of life having swapped the English Channel for sunny Greek waters.
After entering service as English Channel train and vehicle ferry Saint-Eloi in 1975, the 7,657gt stern-loading ship is continuing her long career in Greek waters running for Seajets and sporting a smart dark blue hull and funnel. She is set to link Volos with Skopelos, Skiathos and Alonessos, and will be renamed Sporades Star.
Built in Italy at Pietra Ligure for ALA, a French-registered wholly-owned subsidiary of Sealink UK Ltd, she carried trains between Dover and Dunkirk until being displaced by the new rail ferry Nord-Pas-de-Calais in 1988. She switched to handling train-connected foot passengers from Dover Western Docks to Calais on charter to SNCF.
From 1989 she covered similar sailings for Sealink under the new name of Channel Entente until she was purchased by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. She then had an eight-year stint on the Heysham-Douglas service as King Orry from 1990, following a major autumn refurbishment in the first year. Late in 1998 she began what was a lengthy spell in the Mediterranean as Moby Love, and later Moby Love 2, sailing mainly on the Piombino-Portferraio service.
The suffix was dropped for a final spell carrying Moby’s distinctive blue whale hull logo, until she was purchased by Seajets in 2017, spending time as Aeolos and Aqua Star before being laid up for a while, which was followed by this year’s introduction as Sporades Star. Now handling up to 1,200 passengers and 250 cars/28 lorries, Sporades Star is still powered by her original twin 16-cylinder Pielstick diesel engines giving a top speed of just under 22 knots.
This news item comes from the latest issue of Ships Monthly magazine, and yiu can get a money-saving subscription to the magazine simply by clicking HERE