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Mistral | P&O Ferries

Godby Shipping’s Mistral

MISTRAL is a 1998-built freight ferry owned by Godby Shipping and chartered to Balearia. She was previously time chartered to P&O Ferries for five years, and used as a Ro-Ro on the Dublin to Liverpool route from March 2019 until mid-December 2019. Prior to this she served on P&O’s North Sea freight routes. On the Liverpool route she provided extra capacity to the Ro-Pax sister-ships NORBAY and NORBANK, replacing the Ro-Pax EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR which was sold to become FINBO CARGO.  

During January 2020, Godby Shipping announced that MISTRAL had been long-term chartered by Balearia. She will operate on the Canary Bridge Seaways joint-venture service with Fred Olsen Express between Huelva and the Canary Islands. This is the same service previously operated by CLIPPER PENNANT, the ship which replaced MISTRAL at P&O Ferries.

MISTRAL is one of seven vessels built by experienced freight ferry builder J.J. Sietas KG to their ‘Sietas 163’ Sto-Ro (Stowable Ro-Ro) design. She is powered by a single Wartsila 12-cylinder diesel engine. This turns a single propeller.  All seven ships in the series were ordered for long term charters to Transfennica, though they were built for a few different owners.  

At the time of writing the six other vessels are known as CAROLINE RUSS, ELISABETH RUSS, FREDERICH RUSS, PAULINE RUSS, MIRAMAR EXPRESS, and SEAGARD. CAROLINE RUSS also joined P&O Ferries on charter during 2019 and is used on their new route between Calais and Tilbury. Like the other vessels in the series, MISTRAL only has accommodation for 12 freight drivers and so can only carry a limited amount of accompanied freight.

What IS a Sto-Ro?

The Sietas 163 design is optimised for the transport of paper and forestry products, containers, and conventional Ro-Ro trailers. As well as carrying wheeled cargo such as freight trailers like a conventional Ro-Ro, the Sto-Ro sub-type is also designed to have cargo (in this case paper reels) placed directly on the decks of the ship.  

In addition to wheeled cargo and paper reels, MISTRAL and her sister-ships are designed to carry up to 303 TEU containers. TEU’s can be stacked up to three high on the weather deck.

MISTRAL. © Godby Shipping.
MISTRAL. © Godby Shipping.

P&O Ferries Service

MISTRAL was on charter to P&O Ferries since 2014, operating between Zeebrugge and Teesport or Tilbury until February 2019. A brief exception to this was a sub-charter to Stena Line for temporary cover on the Europoort to Harwich route between June and August 2018.  

Dublin to Liverpool

From March 4th 2019 MISTRAL acted as the third-ship on the Dublin to Liverpool route. This was initially as dry-dock cover for the regular vessels on the route. However, with the sale of the previous “third-ship” on the route EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR complete, MISTRAL would remain on the Dublin to Liverpool route.

End of P&O service

During mid-December 2019, MISTRAL was forced to anchor in Dublin Bay during a routine sailing from Liverpool after she suffered technical difficulties. Adverse weather prevented the vessel being towed to shore, and five passengers and crew were forced to stay onboard with the cargo with no hot running water. Once weather conditions became favourable MISTRAL was towed to shore. She was replaced on the service by Seatruck Ferries CLIPPER PENNANT which had just returned from charter to Canary Bridge Seaways.

P&O Ferries NORBANK and relief vessel MISTRAL seen alongside at Dublin during Storm Gareth. MISTRAL was providing cover for NORBAY which was in dry dock in Poland. Copyright © Gordon Hislip.
P&O Ferries NORBANK and relief vessel MISTRAL seen alongside at Dublin during Storm Gareth. MISTRAL was providing cover for NORBAY which was in dry dock in Poland. Copyright © Gordon Hislip.

Once her passengers and cargo were discharged in Dublin, MISTRAL went back to anchor in Dublin Bay while she awaited further orders. Her charter to P&O Ferries was due to expire during December ’19 anyway. Having arrived in Zeebrugge prior to Christmas, MISTRAL left the Belgian port for Southern Europe during the festive period. In early January ’20, Godby Shipping announced that she had been long-termchartered by Balearia. Initially at least, she will be used on the Canary Bridge Seaways joint-venture with Fred Olsen Express.

Trivia

  • MISTRAL is fitted with fin stabilisers, unlike many freight-only ferries.
  • in addition to her periods spent with P&O Ferries and Stena Line, MISTRAL has also had spells with Faroe Islands-based operator Smyril Line and Estonia’s Tallink.

Technical Data

Godby Shipping have a full technical information document available for MISTRAL on their website here.

Further Reading / References

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