Le Rif, better known locally as the former Stena Galloway and Galloway Princess, has been on the move again. The former Stena and Sealink ferry had been moved from Tangier Med to the Mario Lopez shipyard in Malaga earlier in the year, however it appears that her owners have decided to complete work on the ship elsewhere with the ship having never entered the dry dock at the Spanish yard. It has been rumoured that the owners and the yard could not come to a financial agreement acceptable to both parties. It is said that the ship is seriously deficient in basic areas and that the work required is more extensive than previously thought meaning the original €2.5m budget for the work was inadequate. Le Rif left Malaga under the tow of Sea Dream on 17th of November, arriving in La Spezia (Italy) on the 23rd of November. According to ferrybalear.blogspot.be it is the owners intention to form a new shipping company to operate Le Rif between Algeciras and Tangier Med under the Moroccan flag. Whether they are successful in returning the ship to service remains to be seen though.
Le Rif was purpose built for the Larne to Stranraer route as Galloway Princess by Belfast’s Harland and Wolff for British Rail’s Sealink ferry division in 1980. She later passed to Stena Line when that company took over the Sealink operation, staying with that operator until February 2002 when she was purchased by Moroccan operator IMTC. Click on the thumbnail below for a picture of Le Rif when she was in Malaga.
|© Jose A. Martinez Rodeiro|
Title image: The “Galloway Princess” was built by Harland & Wolff, in 1980, for service on the Larne – Stranraer route. She is seen arriving at Larne with the 12.00 from Stranraer. The “Free Enterprise IV” can be seen (right) at the Continental Quay. © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.