Denmark based DFDS has this morning announced that they are to sell LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS to La Méridionale for DKK200 million. The sale of the vessel, which was originally Norse Irish Ferries LAGAN VIKING (i), will see DFDS make a DKK100m profit on paper. The sale of the vessel to La Méridionale had been reported in the French press earlier in the year, but had appeared to have fallen through after La Méridionale failed to win a contract for the route between Bastia and Marseille. The sale was subsequently denied by DFDS.
As LAGAN VIKING (i), the ship and her sister MERSEY VIKING (i) (presently STRAIT FERONIA), helped re-establish the Belfast to Liverpool route as a full passenger service. Norse Merchant had previously used the converted former train ferry NORSE LAGAN as their main passenger ship, supported by series of freight vessels of varying passenger capacities. She stayed on the route from her delivery in 1997 until replaced by her namesake, the larger LAGAN VIKING (ii) (the current STENA LAGAN). Along with her sister she was transferred to the Dublin to Liverpool route after replacement, and passed to Norfolk Line then DFDS after what was by then Norse Merchant Ferries was sold.
LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS currently sails DFDS’s Kapellskär (Sweden) -Paldiski (Estonia) route. It is not yet clear which vessel will replace her though it is possible La Méridionale could charter her back to DFDS for a year as it is not thought she will be required on her new owners services until they bid for a concession to takeover a service in 2021. Another option may be BAIE DE SEINE (ex SIRENA SEAWAYS, DANA SIRENA) which is currently on charter to Brittany Ferries but expected to return to DFDS next year.