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.
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.
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.
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.
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.