[Updated] Former Liverpool Ferry to Make Irish Return for DFDS

DFDS is to charter back one of its former ferries from La Méridionale, according to French shipping publication Le Marin. PELAGOS is the former LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS / LIVERPOOL VIKING / LAGAN VIKING (i). The Italian-built Ro-Pax ferry is currently idle at Marseille due to reduced traffic levels accredited to COVID-19.

PELAGOS is expected to take over from Destination Gotland’s DROTTEN on the Rosslare – Dunkerque service. DROTTEN is required back in Sweden in order to fulfil Destination Gotland’s public service commitments from Easter forward.

A Brief History of Pelagos

As Norse Irish Ferries’ LAGAN VIKING, PELAGOS was one of the lead ships in the Visentini series of Ro-Pax ferries. She is a part-sister to one of the other DFDS Ireland to France ferries, KERRY.

The original LAGAN VIKING in her original Norse Irish Ferries colour scheme, 1999. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

As LAGAN VIKING, PELAGOS was delivered in 1997 for Norse Irish Ferries Belfast – Liverpool route. Along with sister-ship MERSEY VIKING (the current STRAIT FERONIA), she was the first new-build ship for the route to be delivered in three decades.

Both sisters continued on the route following the merger of Norse Irish Ferries and Merchant Ferries to form Norse Merchant Ferries. During summer 2002 the English terminal moved to Birkenhead.

During 2005, LAGAN VIKING (i) was renamed LIVERPOOL VIKING in order to free up the name for her replacement LAGAN VIKING (ii). The latter ship later became STENA LAGAN. LIVERPOOL VIKING moved to the Dublin to Liverpool service following the arrival of her replacement.

LIVERPOOL VIKING in Norfolk Line colours. Image: © Scott Mackey.

In late-2005 Norse Merchant Ferries was acquired by Maersk who merged the company into Norfolkline.

DFDS Service

DFDS acquired Norfolk Line during summer 2010. LIVERPOOL VIKING was then renamed LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS in August of the same year. Just months later, Stena Line announced that it was to acquire most of the Irish Sea ferry assets of DFDS. However, the acquisition did not include the Dublin – Liverpool route. As a result, the route closed on January 31, 2012.

LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS. Image: © Scott Mackey.

LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS was transferred to DFDS’s Batic network, mainly on the Paldiski – Kapellskär route. She remained with DFDS until last year. She had been sold to La Méridionale in 2019 and chartered back to DFDS.

Bar area on LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS, April 2019. Image: © Gary Andrews.

Return to The Med

Renamed PELAGOS, the former LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS arrived in Le Havre during September 2020 before making her way to Marseille. During early-2021 she was introduced on the Marseille – Tanger Med route. She was then idle since the Moroccan service was suspended due to COVID-19, apart from a period covering for PAGLIA ORBA on Corsica Linea’s Marseille – Ajaccio service.

Irish Return

Low traffic levels mean that PELAGOS is currently surplus to requirements as only one ship is required to maintain the Marseille – Tanger Med route. As a result, La Méridionale offered her for charter.

The exact date when PELAGOS will start back with DFDS is currently unclear. DROTTEN is timetabled to return to Destination Gotland service on March 30. According to ‘Le Marin‘, the PELAGOS will leave Marseille tomorrow and stay on the Rosslare – Dunkerque route until the end of May or mid-June.

Update 12.03.2021 @ 19:00: PELAGOS is expected to replace DROTTEN from Wednesday March 24 at the latest.

Update 13.03.2021 @ 1330: PELAGOS left Marseille this morning bound for Dunkerque. She is expected to arrive during the morning of March 18.