Former NI Ferries of Townsend Thoresen/ASN/Transport Ferry Service

Townsend Thoresen

The
The “Ionic Ferry” at Larne The “Ionic Ferry” departing Larne with the mid-afternoon sailing to Cairnryan in August 1986. Townsend Thoresen was later acquired by P&O. Albert Bridge [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1987 now renamed GAELIC she was towed with the FLUSHING RANGE (the former ill-fated HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE) for scrapping in Taiwan, however both ships would break free from their tow tug Markusturm during a storm in the Bay of Biscay. Both ships were later retrieved, but GAELIC FERRY broke away again off the coast of South Africa before being retrieved again! GAELIC FERRY and FLUSHING RANGE arrived for scrapping in Taiwan in March 1988. This picture is from 1984 or later as this is when the white Townsend Thoresen funnel logo was introduced. Copyright © Fotoflite. (NIFS Archive).
GAELIC FERRY. Despite her name, GAELIC FERRY would spend most of her life away from Ireland and Scotland on English Channel services to France, Holland, and Belgium. She had two short spells operating Larne to Cairnryan though at the end of 1981 and 1982/early 1983. Her last visit was as refit relief vessel in winter 1984.
In 1987 now renamed GAELIC she was towed with the FLUSHING RANGE (the former ill-fated HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE) for scrapping in Taiwan, however both ships would break free from their tow tug Markusturm during a storm in the Bay of Biscay. Both ships were later retrieved, but GAELIC FERRY broke away again off the coast of South Africa before being retrieved again! GAELIC FERRY and FLUSHING RANGE arrived for scrapping in Taiwan in March 1988. This picture is from 1984 or later as this is when the white Townsend Thoresen funnel logo was introduced. Copyright © Fotoflite. (NIFS Archive).

 

The Free Enterprise IV at Larne. The 1969 built vessel served the Larne to Cairnryan route from May 1976 until July 1986.In this picture she is pictured arriving at Larne in July 1985. © Copyright <a title="View profile" href="http://www.geograph.ie/profile/5835" rel="cc:attributionURL dct:creator">Albert Bridge</a> and licensed for reuse under this <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/" rel="license">Creative Commons Licence</a>.
The Free Enterprise IV at Larne. The 1969 built vessel served the Larne to Cairnryan route from May 1976 until July 1986.In this picture she is pictured arriving at Larne in July 1985. © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 

European Gateway as she would have entered service as a relief vessel on the Cairnryan route in 1981. She returned later that year having been lengthened. © Fotoflite. (NIFS Archive).
European Gateway as she would have entered service as a relief vessel on the Cairnryan route in 1981. She returned later that year having been lengthened. © Fotoflite. (NIFS Archive).

 

After she was lengthened by 15.7m in Amsterdam, European Gateway returned to the Cairnryan route as a permanent addition. Unfortunately whilst she was away from her new home route in December 1982 she collided with Sealink's Speedlink Vanguard in poor visibility. European Gateway had a 20ft gash torn in the side of her hull and quickly started to flood. 3 minutes later the vessel had a list of around 45 degrees and 30 minutes after the collision the vessel was on her side. Unfortunately 6 of the 70 people onboard at the time lost their lives. The vessel would later reappear after she was salvaged and entirely rebuilt from the top of her hull upwards in Greece having been purchased for service there. Copyright © Fotoflite. (NIFS archive).
European Gateway in her lengthened form (note the additional lifeboats compared to the picture above). After she was lengthened by 15.7m in Amsterdam, European Gateway returned to the Cairnryan route as a permanent addition running opposite the popular Free Enterprise IV. Unfortunately, whilst European Gateway was away from her new home route covering the Felixstowe-Europoort service in December 1982, she collided with Sealink’s Speedlink Vanguard in poor visibility near Harwich. European Gateway had a 20ft gash torn in the side of her hull and quickly started to flood. 3 minutes later the vessel had a list of around 45 degrees and just 30 minutes after the collision the vessel was on her side. Unfortunately 6 of the 70 people onboard at the time lost their lives. The vessel would later reappear in service after she was salvaged and entirely rebuilt from the top of her hull upwards in Greece having been purchased for service there. Copyright © Fotoflite. (NIFS archive).

ASN/Transport Ferry Service

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