Ferry NewsGone but not Forgotten Ferries

Former Larne and Dover Ferry “European Endeavour” beached

According to GMS weekly, the former EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR (i) of P&O (latterly STAR FIGHTER, and also known as TEF’s GARDENIA and Townsend Thoresen’s EUROPEAN ENTERPRISE) was beached at Alang (India) on the 6th of December.

Star Fighter on the beach at Alang. Copyright © Ron DK
Star Fighter on the beach at Alang. Copyright © Ron DK

Originally launched at the end of December 1977 as the 4th (and last) of a series of ships for Townsend Thoresen intended primarily for use as freighters operating on Dover services, she was built by the now defunct Schicau Unterwesser yard in Germany to that shipyards design.  Following the HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE disaster she was renamed EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR during December 1987 following repainting into P&O colours in October that year.  Her first venture into our waters was in 1993 when she provided refit cover at Larne, returning as a permanent vessel in 1995 to provide additional freight capacity on the Cairnryan service.  To make her more suitable for this role her headroom was raised to 5m the following year.

1997 saw the vessel move about the P&O/Pandoro Irish Sea route network, serving Dublin to Fleetwood and Cherbourg, Rosslare to Cherbourg, and Larne to Ardrossan and Fleetwood, Following further modifications in 1998 the vessel again became the Cairnryan freight vessel, staying there until the introduction of  P&O’s second purpose built Ropax for the service, EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER, in 2002.

EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR was quickly purchased by Ostend-Rasgate operator Trans Europa Ferries, though she didn’t enter service with them until mid-January 2003 as GARDENIA.

MV Gardenia R04
Gardenia leaving the harbour of Ostend By Marc Ryckaert (MJJR) (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On 17th April 2013, GARDENIA was laid up in Ostend following the bankruptcy of Trans Europa Ferries.  She would leave for an underwater survey in Zeebrugge during December having been renamed Ardenia the previous month, returning to layup in Ostend immediately after.  She would remain there until the end of April the following year when she left for Piraeus, arriving at the Greek port on 5th May.  By the end of September that year she had been renamed STAR FIGHTER and had internal ramps and a new stern ramp fitted.  It is believed that her bow door was also welded shut.  Her career from this point is somewhat sketchy, as the ship was employed on a series of charters. We do know however that she was repainted at the Adriatic Shipyard in Montenegro in January 2015, and had a short-lived unsuccessful charter with Balearia in May 2015.

Star Fighter on the beach at Alang. Copyright © Ron DK
Star Fighter on the beach at Alang. Copyright © Ron DK

Title image: P&O’s European Endeavour pictured leaving Larne.  © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ .

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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