Ferry News

[Updated] Former Sealink / Stena Line Ferry Beached in Pakistan

Update 03.12.21: ALTAIR (ex BARI, STENA CAMBRIA, ST ANSELM, etc) left Chittagong anchorage this afternoon and appears to be bound towards the nearby beach. Her AIS destination has been changed to “Chittagong Breakyard”.

The former ST COLUMBA and STENA HIBERNIA of Sealink / Stena Line was beached this morning at Gadani, Pakistan.  Until recently known as Namma Shipping Lines MASARRAH, she arrived off the Pakistani port on 29 November.  

MASARRAH had been renamed ASARRAH and moved to the Gabon flag earlier in November.  She was sold for US$535 LDT during October along with fleetmate MAHABBAH.  The latter ferry is currently at anchor off Jeddah having returned to service despite the announcement of her sale.

ASARRAH (ex MASARRAH, EXPRESS APHRODITE, STENA ADVENTURER (i), STENA HIBERNIA, ST COLUMBA) approaches plot 69 on the beach at Gadani for demolition. Image: Gadani Ship Breaking Yard
ASARRAH (ex MASARRAH, EXPRESS APHRODITE, STENA ADVENTURER (i), STENA HIBERNIA, ST COLUMBA) approaches plot 69 on the beach at Gadani for demolition. Image: Gadani Ship Breaking Yard

Scrap metal prices in Pakistan and Bangladesh are up to double those in Turkey, which is the usual final destination for Northern European vessels.

ASSARAH was delivered to British Rail as ST COLUMBA on April 2, 1977, by Aalborg Werft in Denmark.  She entered service a month later on the Holyhead – Dun Laoghaire route.  When introduced, she was famous for having the largest passenger capacity of any Irish Sea ferry, with space for 2,400 passengers.

The Sealink ferry ST COLUMBA as delivered. Image: © Photo Precision Ltd.
The Sealink ferry ST COLUMBA as delivered. Image: © Photo Precision Ltd.

Between 1977 and 2006, the ship was used almost exclusively on the route for which she was built despite several changes of ownership.  She carried three names during that period; ST COLUMBA, STENA HIBERNIA, and STENA ADVENTURER.  

After some relief work and layup at Dun Laoghaire and Belfast, STENA ADVENTURER was sold for further service in Greece in 1997.  The veteran ship had been replaced on the Holyhead route by the futuristic HSS STENA EXPLORER.  

Stena Adventurer (ex Stena Hibernia, ex St Columba) awaits sale while laid up at Albert Quay South, November 1996. © Scott Mackey.
Stena Adventurer (ex Stena Hibernia, ex St Columba) awaits sale while laid up at Albert Quay South, November 1996. © Scott Mackey.

As EXPRESS APHRODITE, the former ST COLUMBA continued to serve Greek waters until 2006.  During 2007 she was purchased by Namma Shipping Lines of Egypt and renamed MASARRAH.

An image of EXPRESS APHRODITE at Piraeus in Hellas Ferries livery.
EXPRESS APHRODITE at Piraeus in 2000. Image: Peter J. Fitzpatrick, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Former St Anselm / Stena Cambria awaits beaching in Bangladesh 

ASSARAH’s former running mate, ALTAIR (ex BARI, STENA CAMBRIA, ST ANSELM, etc), remains at anchor off Chittagong, Bangladesh, awaiting her fate.  The two ships sailed on the Dun Laoghaire route together from 1991 until Autumn 1995.  Prior to that, ST ANSELM had mainly served Sealink routes from Dover and Folkestone. Until earlier this year, ALTAIR was Ventouris Ferries’ BARI.

Steven Tarbox

Steven is a former retail professional and a ferry writer and photographer. He created NI Ferry Site as a web design project in 2014 to be a news and information source for everyone with an interest in ferries, with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. Steven is the editor of the website and looks after all of the technical aspects.
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