Ibn Batouta (ex Stena Antrim) update.

STENA ANTRIM arrives in Belfast, 1995, still in Stena Sealink livery. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

Further service (hopefully) beckons for the former North Channel favourite It has been confirmed that the purchasers, at auction, of the former COMANAV ferry Ibn Batouta (better known as the former Stena Antrim and St Christopher) was Albanian operator Red Star Ferries.  Red Star Ferries currently operate from the Italian port of Brindisi to the Albanian ports of Durres and Vlore, with the elderly Red Star 1 (ex, Viking III, originally built 1965).  It is rumoured that Ibn Batouta has been acquired to operate one of the existing Brindisi to Durres or Vlore routes, though it is understood that the Vlore route has less traffic and so it may be more likely she will operate to Durres instead.  It is believed that the vessel is currently (or about to) undergo an intensive refit at Bijela (Montenegro), which will involve her capacity being enhanced, and recertification.  Certainly, an intensive refurbishment will be required, with the long layover in Algercias having … Read more

Bad news about the former Stena Antrim (updated)

In particularly sad news for Belfast and Northern Ireland, one of the final passenger vessels built by Harland and Wolff could soon be headed to a beach somewhere for scrapping.  The Ibn Batouta (ex Stena Antrim, St Christopher) is one of 4 ferries which have been laid up in Algericas for over 2 years following the failure of owners COMARIT.  The port authority is now pushing for them to be declared abandoned so they can be removed and auctioned to the highest bidder.  The most likely destination considering the age and condition of the 4 ships is for scrap.  Between 1991 and 1996 Stena Antrim served to Stranraer, first from Larne and then from Belfast when Stena moved there in 1995.  Of the other veseels (Al Mansour, Banasa, and Boughaz) Al Mansour also served in Irish waters as Stena Nautica for both Sealink and B&I line between Fishguard and Wales. … Read more