Could further service beckon for Ibn Batouta?
The Ibn Batouta (ex St Christopher, Stena Antrim) left the port of Algeciras under the tow of the tug Brucoli on Tuesday, having been helped from the position she was occupying in the port by local tugs VB Twenty and VB Algeciras. Her apparent destination is Durres in Albania. Ibn Batouta had been sold at auction earlier this year for just €1,027,000, having been laid up since Janurary 2012 following the collapse of the COMARIT group (of which her operator COMANAV was a part). It is believed that Ibn Batouta may be the only one of the group of 4 COMARIT group ferries which have left Algeciras in the past few weeks not purchased for breaking, with the purchaser rumoured to have been the owner of the Italy-Albania ferry Red Star 1 (1965). Bari (ex St Anslem, Stena Cambria, Isla de Botafoc), a sister ship of the former Stena Antrim/St Christopher, of course operates for Ventouris Ferries from Durres to the Italian port of Bari having herself been saved from scrapping back in 2008. Should Ibn Batouta be towed to Durres she will be reunited with her former sister and fleet mate.
The Le Rif, previously known as Galloway Princess and Stena Galloway, also left under tow recently, this time on 8th of July. However, Le Rif‘s destination is still unclear at this stage. It is widely presumed she is to be scrapped given she suffered major technical problems before the bankruptcy of her owner/operator, IMTC. Le Rif and Ibn Batouta were of course 2 of the 4 ferries built by Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard for British Rail at the beginning of the 1980’s, a series which were the last passenger ferries built by the famous Belfast yard. The remaining 2 of the series, the aforementioned Bari and the final of the series Port Link (ex St David, Stena Caledonia) continue in service, the latter in Indonesia. Stena Antrim, Stena Galloway, and Stena Caledonia operated together for Stena Line between Larne and Cairnryan, with Stena Galloway built specifically for the link back in 1980, leaving our waters in 1996 following the introduction of HSS Voyager.
If you have any further information (or recent photographs) about the fate of Le Rif or Ibn Batouta, please contact NIFerrySite via the contact page.
Finally, a direct link to the Facebook post of the picture (taken by Nikolas Farianos) of Le Rif (ex Galloway Princess, Stena Galloway) under tow on 8th July this year.
(Title image: Ibn Batouta (ex St David, Stena Antrim) leaving Algericas on 12/8/15 under tow of the Italian registered tug Brucoli. Copyright © Juan Gabriel Mata, used with permission.)