Blast from the Past: Norse Irish Ferries’ VOMERO

The Ro-Ro freighter VOMERO was chartered by Norse Irish Ferries in 1995 as a stop-gap following the return of NORSE MERSEY (i) to Stena until the arrival of the brand-new NORSE MERSEY (ii) from Visentini. VOMERO also operated in U.K. waters as IPSWICH PIONEER II and AQUILA.
VOMERO seen in Belfast Lough on 21st May 1995 while operating for Norse Irish Ferries. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

VOMERO seen in Belfast Lough on 21st May 1995 while operating for Norse Irish Ferries. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

The Ro-Ro freighter VOMERO was chartered by Norse Irish Ferries in early 1995 as a stop-gap after the chartered NORSE MERSEY(i) was returned to Stena, until the arrival of the brand-new NORSE MERSEY (ii).  She served the Belfast – Liverpool route between January and May 1995, allowing Norse Irish Ferries to continue to offer daily overnight freight sailings in both directions by operating her opposite NORSE LAGAN.  When NORSE MERSEY (ii) arrived from Visentini in Italy she had the same hull colour as the vessel she was replacing.  VOMERO is perhaps better known in the UK as the former IPSWICH PIONEER II from the Rotterdam to Ipswich ferry route in the early 1970’s, and for covering North Sea Ferries’ Zeebrugge – Middlesbrough and Tor Lines’ Rotterdam – Immingham route as AQUILA in the late 1980’s.

VOMERO seen arriving in Belfast after crossing from Liverpool on 18th March 1995. She was a short term charter for Norse Irish Ferries while they awaited the arrival of the brand new NORSE MERSEY (ii), having already returned the previous NORSE MERSEY (i) to her charterers Stena. Copyright © Alan Geddes.
VOMERO seen arriving in Belfast after crossing from Liverpool on 18th March 1995. She was a short term charter for Norse Irish Ferries while they awaited the arrival of the brand new NORSE MERSEY (ii), having already returned the previous NORSE MERSEY (i) to her charterers Stena. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

VOMERO was completed in 1973 by Krögerwerft G.m.b.H. in Germany as AQUILA for Richard Adler & Söhne, but shortly after completion she was chartered to Rotterdam Ipswich Ferry BV (which like Richard Adler & Söhne was owned by Argo Reederei) and renamed IPSWICH PIONEER II.  She was lengthened as early as 1976 at AG Wesser in Germany, and much of her surplus superstructure appears to have been removed during the 1980’s creating a mostly open upper vehicle deck.  She was scrapped at Aliaga in Turkey during 2004 having served many operators in her career; including P&O North Sea Ferries, DFDS, Cobelfret, DSB, Moby Lines, North Sea Ferries, Suardiaz, Finncarriers, and of course Norse Irish Ferries.

Argo Aquila 1973.jpg
A drawing of how AQUILA looked when she was built, with much more superstructure than she had when in service from Belfast. Copyright © Karsten Kunibert, in public domain.

“Blast from the Past” is a new feature on NI Ferry Site, were every week we pluck something from the archives and share it on this website.  In addition to the items already published on the web, such as information about short-term visitors to our waters, we will be sharing items from the NI Ferry Site archive.  The NI Ferry Site archive consists of a physical collection of hundreds (if not thousands) of items which have been collected and donated – such as photographs, brochures, publicity materials, postcards, and promotional goods – many of which have not been, or are no longer, shared online.  Yet.

VOMERO seen in Belfast Lough on 21st May 1995 while operating for Norse Irish Ferries. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

VOMERO seen in Belfast Lough on 21st May 1995 while operating for Norse Irish Ferries. Copyright © Alan Geddes.Title image: VOMERO seen in Belfast Lough on 21st May 1995 while operating for Norse Irish Ferries. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

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