MV STRANGFORD (also known as STRANGFORD FERRY, as that was the name she had painted on her hull) was the smaller of the 2 vehicle carrying vessels operating on the link across Strangford Lough between Strangford and Portaferry until the end of 2016. Until the entry into service of the PORTAFERRY II, STRANGFORD FERRY was the main vessel on the route, having launched the vehicle ferry service in 1969. Following PORTAFERRY II‘s arrival her role changed to provide extra capacity on the service during the summer and to cover maintenance on the larger PORTAFERRY II. STRANGFORD FERRY was originally built for Down County Council in 1969, and was earmarked as far back as 2009 for replacement in 2016, by which stage she was operational for some 47 years.
Life extension and replacement
In order to extend her life until 2016 STRANGFORD FERRY received new vehicle ramps and a full repaint following sand blasting during a dry docking at Harland and Wolff in 2011. Despite the delayed entry into service of the new STRANGFORD II, STRANGFORD was removed from service towards the end of 2016, leaving PORTAFERRY II to maintain the lifeline service on her own.
Prior to the arrival of PORTAFERRY II the support vessel on the service was 1962 built PORTAFERRY (ex CLEDDAU KING). She had operated on the route since November 1975 having been purchased from Pembroke County Council for just £43,000 and modified at Harland and Wolff. In early December 2017 it was reported that STRANGFORD, which was now surplus to requirements after the introduction of the brand-new STRANGFORD II, had been sold to Cara na nOilean, owners of the Arranmore Ferry company, for use on their Burtonport to Arranmore Island service off the west coast of Donegal. She left Strangford the last time in February 2018 painted in the red colour scheme of the Cara na nOilean Arranmore Island and Lough Swilly ferry services, calling at Bangor on the way to her new home. It appears though she only ever made it as far as Greencastle, on the Donegal side of Lough Foyle.
On 1st May 2018 NIFS revealed that STRANGFORD was to be used on the Scenic Lough Foyle Ferry service over the early May bank holiday period in place of FRAZER MARINER, which at the time was relieving AISLING GABRIELLE so the latter vessel could have her engines upgraded. On May the 4th she made her maiden commercial voyage across Lough Foyle, renamed STRANGFORD 1, though not carrying her name or port of registry on her hull. Scenic Lough Foyle ferry have confirmed with NI Ferry Site that Frazer Ferries have now purchased STRANGFORD 1, and intend to use her in future as cover for vessel maintenance and surveys.
(Unless stated otherwise, data is as at the end of Strangford Ferry service)
MV STRANGFORD 1
Verlome Cork Shipyard, Cork Dockyard, Cobh, Ireland
Burness Corlett & Partners, Basingstoke, England.
Frazer Ferries, Limerick, Ireland
Strangford Lough Ferry (until late 2016)
Frazer Ferries (T/A Scenic Lough Foyle Ferry)
15th August 1969
|In service (original)|
|Length overall (inc ramps)|
32 m (50m)
|Life preserving equipment|
935hp (approx. 697 kW)
260 passengers and 18 cars
Single deck accessed by a ramp at either end. Double-ended ferry.
Title image credit: Strangford Ferry in August 2010. Copyright © Ross McDonald.