UPDATE [email protected] 20:00: As of this morning LE RIF is in dry dock at Genoa.
Following the surprise revelation by Channel 4 News that Brexit Ferry contract winner Seaborne Freight are apparently in negotiations to use LE RIF (ex GALLOWAY PRINCESS / STENA GALLOWAY) on their planned Ramsgate to Ostend route, NIFS has been investigating what has happened to her since our last updates on the vessel in September 2018 when we reported she had been towed to La Spezia and had engine issues.
At the end of October 2018, LE RIF was the subject of some local headlines in La Spezia after she broke her moorings (link in Italian) at Gruppo Antonini’s Pertusola Yard during a storm, and crushed and sank several small boats after drifting across the bay into the marina at the opposite side. Some 45 small boats were said to have been damaged or destroyed by the incident, with Antonini (who also own the marina) said to be looking up to €2.7m in compensation (link in Italian) from LE RIF‘s owners DWLM. It appears further work was being undertaken to the vessel in La Spezia at the time, and there where crew onboard when the incident happened. Following the incident which happened on October 29th, she was moved to the pier at Fincantieri’s nearby Muggiano yard and seized by the local court following the compensation claim. It is from this pier that LE RIF left under tow of the tug SEA DREAM on the evening of January 7th. She is expected to arrive along the coast in Genoa at around 9am.
There appear to be no further publicly accessible updates online on either the incident or the compensation claims after the end of November, however as LE RIF has now left La Spezia it would appear that any outstanding issues have been resolved. What is not yet clear however is whether she is going to Genoa for further work or layup, or even if reports Seaborne Freight are involved in serious negotiations over this elderly former Sealink ferry which hasn’t seen service since early 2013 are accurate! LE RIF however is understood to be available for sale as her owners DWLM reportedly cannot get a licence to operate her.