Gold Ribbon Banner
Sunday, May 26, 2019

Besiktas 1In view of both the shortness of the journeys undertaken, and particularly as these always follow strictly predetermined routes, ferries may not seem all that interesting compared to the more adventurous realms of world shipping. But that’s not to say a journey by ferry has to be dull, as I found out after taking a trip on the classically proportioned vessels that ply back and forth crossing the choppy waters of the Bosphorus in old Istanbul.

Small ships in their own right with a unique appeal of their own that have provided a most valuable form of transport for millions of people over the years between the neighbouring land masses of Europe and Asia Minor.

 Whether seen from the shoreline, or contemplated from the pulsating deck of an outward bound ferry, what a magnificent sight these vessels make as they cross the Bosphorus. They pass against the unmistakable Istanbul skyline of towering minarets and massive domed mosques. It is a scene that’s even more dramatic against the amber and blood-red glow of approaching sunset!

Steam ferries were first introduced on the Bosphorus in 1837, and the modern day fleet operated by the Şehir Hatlari concern are all of local manufacture. The overall design closely follows that of the last generation of British-built ferries, as supplied by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company of Glasgow in 1961; the last of a long line of Fairfield supplied ferries dating back to the beginning of the last century built at the firm’s Govan shipyard, which later went out of business.

Of the nine ferries that made up the original 1961 order built by Fairfield’s, just two have survived in retirement as permanently docked restaurants; the Turan Emeksiz and the Inkilap.

Turkiye Gemi Sanayii AS, the firm that built the present day ferry fleet in Istanbul, has clearly followed the Fairfield design. For example the ferry named Harbiye built by Fairfield’s to a length of 229' and breadth of 441/2', which is almost perfectly matched to the more recently built Ahmet H Yidirih constructed in Istanbul measuring virtually the same at 220' by 39'; the speed of both vessels being identical at 15 knots.

Visually, the comparison is even more striking. Both the shape of the hull and superstructure of the Turkish built ferries are clearly inspired by the Fairfield built ferries, which in turn smacks of the silhouette of larger ships of the post-war era.

FaneromeniTo facilitate the carriage of motor vehicles over the Bosphorus, small roll-on roll-off ferries such as the Suhulet cross between Eminönü and Kadıköy: Although the amount of vehicular trafficc has declined dramatically since the construction of the two suspension bridges was completed for the Bosphorus Bridge in 1973 and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge in 1988.

Travelling the ferries has become firmly established on the list of many travellers to Istanbul, both for the short hop across the straits from Europe to Asia from beside the Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn at Eminönü, also Kabataş or Beşiktaş, to Üsküdar, Harem, Haydarpaşa or Kadıköy.

Other ferry trips travel a short way along the Bosphorus as far as the Fatih suspension bridge. The best value by far to gain an appreciation of the amount of sea traffic through the straits is to take a full day cruise on the Şehir Hatlar ferryboats, such as the Aykut Barka. These travel a northerly route from Eminönü, which zigzags most of the way from shore to shore arriving at three other landings en route before then reaching the entrance to the Black Sea. It is here that the Bosphorus reaches its widest at a width of 3,700 metres.

The ferry then docks at the small village of Anadolu Hisari for a layover of three hours before heading back south towards Istanbul, following the same zigzag course. All at an amazing cost of only £8 or so for what’s almost a full day trip by the time the ferry arrives back at its point of departure in Istanbul!

As well as the opportunity to admire many luxurious Ottoman palaces seen along the shoreline, the ferry passes beneath the 3,524 feet / 1,074 meter length of the Bosphorus Bridge, also the longer by a close margin 3,576 ft / 1,090 meter span of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge. Other attractions include the Rumeli Hisar castle that once guarded the Bosphorus; and many slow moving ships of many nations travelling in either direction towards the Sea of Marmara or the Black Sea.

Read the rest of this article with additional pictures in Sea Breezes Magazine - August 2013 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Island Princess

Most Popular

  • Port of London Trade at 10-Year High +

  • Ruminations on Rum +

  • Northlink Celebrates Apprentices +

  • Special Place for Tanker in Port History +

  • US Navy Seeks Faster Ship Delivery +

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • South Atlantic Repair Yard Plans +

    BBDC Ship Repair Yard What will be the largest purpose-built shiprepair yard in the South Atlantic Basin is being developed in the state of Read More
  • Move to Enlarge River Terminal +

    Grimsby River Terminal Associated British Ports (ABP) plans to expand its Grimsby River Terminal to enable it to handle the world’s largest car Read More
  • At the Helm of the RNLI +

    Mark Dowie A new Chief Executive has been appointed by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to succeed Paul Boissier, who has held Read More
  • Keeping the Tyne Clean +

    Clearwater Each year, the Clean Tyne project removes around 400 tonnes of debris from the River Tyne between Blaydon and the Read More
  • First Part of Huge Port Investment Completed +

    Sheerness Port The 20-year Master Plan for boosting trade through the Kent port of Sheerness has reached a significant milestone with the Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Houston Ship Canal Closed After Major Fire +

    Houston Fire The Houston Ship Canal reopened to daylight traffic after being closed for nearly a week due to a serious fire Read More
  • Back Home After Eventful Antarctic Season +

    Polar Star The US Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star arrived back at her homeport of Seattle, Washington on Mar 11 after an Read More
  • Four More Giant Cranes Arrive from China +

    Zhen Hua 31 Four new Super-Post-Panamax container cranes arrived at Tacoma, Washington, from China in early March, just over a year after the Read More
  • Two Hurt as Lifeboat Falls Overboard +

    USCG Reliance Two crew members of the tanker Chemtrans Nova, 73,870dwt, had to be flown ashore for treatment after the lifeboat they Read More
  • Cutters Seize $466mn of Drugs on Patrols +

    USCG Forward At Port Everglades, Florida, on Feb 5, some 34,780lbs of cocaine with a street value of $466mn was unloaded from Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3


  • Three Main Courses Being Plotted for MOL +

    MOL Triumph The major Japanese shipping line Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has unveiled a number of new objectives aimed at improving its Read More
  • Cargo Ships for Bass Strait Service +

    Tasmanian Achiever II The first of two 700 teu cargo ship for the Bass Strait route between the Tasmanian port of Burnie and Read More
  • Race to Save Coral Reef After Grounding +

    Solomon Trader A major anti-pollution operation was launched in the Solomon Islands after the bulk carrier Solomon Trader, 73,592dwt, with a cargo Read More
  • Special Place for Tanker in Port History +

    Pro Alliance The largest fuel tanker in the 220 year history of the Australian port of Newcastle, NSW, arrived on Mar 18 Read More
  • Data Recorder Recovered From Ore Carrier Wreck +

    Seabed Constructor The Stellar Daisy, owned by Polaris Shipping, of South Korea, was carrying a cargo of iron ore from Brazil to Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • US Navy Orders Flight II Landing Platform Dock +

    LDP30 American News The contract for the construction of LPD30, the first Flight II Landing Platform Dock of the San Antonio Read More
  • US Navy Seeks Faster Ship Delivery +

    FFGX Rendering American News The future frigate program for the US Navy is getting fully underway and some idea of the urgency Read More
  • HMS “Dragon” in £75 Million Narcotics Seizure +

    HMS Dragon British News Whilst on patrol in the Gulf, the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon seized and destroyed ten tonnes of Read More
  • New Generation of Enterprise Confirmed +

    USS Enterprise American News On 31 January, the US Department of Defense announced the awarding of a block buy contract with Huntington Read More
  • Brazil to Take Over HMS Clyde +

    HMS Clyde British News It has been announced by the Brazilian Government in early December that the Falklands Patrol ship HMS Clyde Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Further Delay for LNG Powered Glen Sannox +

    Glen Sannox The drama surrounding the much delayed new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne continues to rumble on with the latest, not unsurprising, Read More
  • Favourite Claymore +

    Claymore A poster of Llandudno pier prompted a memory from ex Calmac chief engineer Charlie McCurdy as he took another trip Read More
  • Baltic Battery Power +

    Aurora Scandinavian and Baltic operators seem to be leading the way in reducing ferry reliance on fossil fuels. Read More
  • Electric Solutions +

    Polarkunsult Ferry A new ferry will replace the 1992-built MF Herjólfur to the Westmann Islands and will be in line with Iceland’s Read More
  • Variety of New Builds +

    Red Kestrel I am gratified to hear at Cammell Lairds and Red Funnel have a particularly good record in ordering from UK Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • Thames Tributary Barges +

    Lady of the Lea Most of the rivers flowing into the Thames had their own barge type. Read More
  • Dry Rot and Dry Dock +

    HMS Victory For some time Victory, the 110gun ship of the line, has had trouble with dry rot and is in danger Read More
  • Everards Eulogy +

    Greenhithe Scottish maritime interests particularly may mourn the loss of Geo Gibson. Read More
  • Welsh Port Gentrification +

    Penarth In the Victorian era, there were many coastal places where craft worked off open beaches. Read More
  • Sussex Sterns +

    Edward and Mary and Valiant In the Victorian era, there were many coastal places where craft worked off open beaches. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Red Funnel’s New Ferry Arrives +

    Red Kestrel Red Kestrel, the newest addition to Red Funnel’s fleet, arrived at her new home in Southampton on 18 April. Read More
  • Keeping an Eye on the Weather +

    Royal Charter storm I was intrigued to read recently about the career of Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy (1805-65). Read More
  • Port of London Trade at 10-Year High +

    DP World London Gateway Trade through the Port of London reached 53.2 million tonnes last year, a level last seen over a decade ago. Read More
  • Northlink Celebrates Apprentices +

    Paul Wheelhouse NorthLink Serco Northlink Ferries has been commended by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, for developing young Read More
  • An Auction with no Buyer +

    Falls of Clyde I was reading recently about the unsuccessful auction to find a buyer for the Falls of Clyde, the last remaining Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Two Distinctive Ships Headed for Chinese Market +

    Spectrum of the Seas and Costa Venezia The Spectrum of the Seas (169,379 GT), Royal Caribbean International’s first ship in the Quantum Ultra Class, embarked on the Read More
  • Seadream Yacht Club to Build New Ship +

    SeaDream Innovation For over fifteen years, the SeaDream Yacht Club has operated two yachtlike ships, on 7 to 15-day voyages. Read More
  • Tradition Plays Its Part +

    Prana by Atzaro If ever proof was needed that traditionally built craft can still play a part in the luxury charter market in Read More
  • MV "Magellan Explorer" +

    MV Yet another new and modern expedition vessel custom built for Antarctic air-cruises will make her debut in 2019. Read More
  • The Saga Continues +

    Saga Discovery Saga Adventure SAGA Cruises has announced it is taking up an option for it’s second new ship to be built at the Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

San Juan

A Truly Different Shipyard

The entrance to the port of Pasaia on the Spanish coast of Biscay is one of Europe’s most picturesque. At Read More

Victoria High and Dry

Five-hundred years ago, Ferdinand Magellan sailed out of Seville, Spain, on one of the most memorable discovery voyages ever made, Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

SS Eastern (2)

MT Arthur Foss

“The last vessel to escape Wake Island before Japanese forces captured the island” Read More
SS Eastern (2)

Rescue of Crew Member From Tanker Avanti

Captain A J Murdoch served with Eastern & Australian Steamship Company until he retired in 1982. Hailing from Melbourne, during Read More
  • 1
  • 2