I was impressed by this business like view of the Snav Adriatico returning to Barcelona from Port Mahon, Menorca, in August.
Especially when I realised she was the former Koningin Beatrix the climax of the Zeeland SS Co’s presence on the North Sea. She was delivered from Van Der Giessen de Noord in ’86 for the Harwich-Hook flagship route.
When Stena took over the route and vessel, she continued on the service she was built for until ’97 when Stena found use for her between Pembroke Dock and then Fishguard to Rosslare with the odd trip to Roscoff. Then named Stena Baltica, she moved to the Baltic where I’ve always thought she looked more at home.
There she served Gdynia-Karskrona for another nine years until, after a long lay-up, she reappeared based in Naples as another member of that fleet of big ex North European ferries owned by SNAV (Società Navigazione Alta Velocità). Initially, she worked Ancona-Split, hence the name, but was soon chartered out to Central America between Colon Panama and Cartagena Colombia, but she was soon back in the Med and on charter to Spain’s Trasmediterranea and she has served Barcelona-Menorca now for nearly two years.
She has had her share of bumps in her time and I wonder if the great windage of her superstructure means she is a handful in close quarters and the more frequently balmy Med might suit her more than British and Baltic waters. This Italian-Spanish cooperation is an example of just how fluid and integrated the ferry scene is becoming as regards to ownership and chartering and how it seems the centre of gravity of the ferry business is moving signifi cantly southward in Europe.