M/V Normandie Shipper

Normandie Shipper. Rights Reserved.
Normandie Shipper. Rights Reserved.

Normandie Shipper is a vessel chartered in 1989 by Truckline to provide additional freight capacity on the Ouistreham - Portsmouth route. She has also served several times the Cherbourg-en-Cotentin - Poole service.

Her names comes from her previous one, Stena Shipper, with Stena replaced by Normandie since she has operated for Truckline services from Normandy.


Technical Specifications of M/V Normandie Shipper
The Ship
Launch 1973
Rebuilt 1976 (Jumboisation); 1981 (Addition of sponsons)
Shipyard A. Vuyk & Zonens, Capelle a/d IJssel, The Netherlands
Owner Stena Ab
Operator Truckline
Routes Portsmouth - Ouistreham; Poole - Cherbourg-en-Cotentin
IMO 7325241
Port of Registry  Nassau, The Bahamas
Technical Datas
Length 142.27 m
Breadth 18.60 m
Draught 5.90 m
Gross Tonnage 3,514 GT
Net Tonnage 1,296 NT
Deadweight 5,555 DWT
Engines specifications
Engines Two Werkspoor-Amsterdam 6TM410
Power 5,296 kW
Maximum Speed 18 knots
Passengers & Cargo
Passengers  36 passengers and 28 crew members
Garage 56 railway wagons; 1,050 lane meters

Service History

Stena Shipper's early years

Stena Shipper was built in 1973, before being delivered to Stena Ab on 24th September 1973, to be chartered out to other operators. She is a sistership of Stena Seatrader that has been chartered by Brittany Ferries between 1986 and 1987. On completion, Stena Shipper was chartered to a New Zeland operator as Union Wellington. She came back in Europe in 1975 at the end of her charter. The following year, in 1976, Stena Shipper was lengthen by 27m in Howaldtswerke-Deutsche shipyard, in Kiel. On 27th January 1977, following the sea trials of the jumboised-ship, Stena Shipper was chartered to Greek operator Aghiris Lines and renamed Alpha Express. This operator faced bankruptcy in 1979 and the vessel was laid up.

In May 1981, Alpha Express was sent in Smith's Dock shipard in Middelsbrough to be turned into a train-carrier ferry, prior to her charter to Sealink in August. Renamed by Sealink Speedlink Vanguard, former-Stena Shipper was introduced on delivery on the Harwich and Zeebruge route. However, on 19th December 1982, Speedlink Vanguard collided in Harwich with European Gateway. European Gateway capsized following the collision, killing 6 peoples out of the 70 people that were on board at the time. There were no casualties among Speedlink Vanguard crew. Both captains were later blamed for the collision by the Court.

Speedlink Vanguard's charter to Sealink ended on 30th January 1987. Speedlink Vanguard's name reverted to Stena Shipper in 1988, before being renamed a few months later Kirk Shipper. Meanwhile, she has operated services for Northern Marine and for Stena Ferries.

Normandie Shipper on the Ouistreham - Portsmouth service

Between April and June 1989, Kirk Shipper was rebuilt in Lloyd Werft, Bremerhaven (Germany) to revert to a RoRo ferry, prior to her charter to Truckline for service between Ouistreham and Portsmouth. She has also served on the Cherbourg-en-Cotentin - Poole service, replacing either Coutances or Purbeck.

Normandie Shipper has been operated on a Brittany Ferries' service by its subsidiary Truckline to provide additional freight capacity to cope with the growing freight traffic on the popular Ouistreham - Portsmouth service, established in 1986. Normandie Shipper was to operate this route until the delivery of the much larger Normandie scheduled in 1992. Indeed, both Duc de Normandie and Reine Mathilde were to small to carry enough passengers and lorries to satisfy the entire demand. Therefore, the charter of Normandie Shipper was to propose freight-focused services only, alongside passengers-focused services.

However, in 1990, Normandie Shipper was black-listed by the British Department of Transport as a vessel that would need modifications to meet the newly-established SOLAS-90 standard, a standard that ensures the suitability of a ship for commercial service.

Normandie Shipper's charter ended in October 1995, although Normandie has been delivered three years before, and she remained laid-up in Caen.

Boa Vista in her last twenty years

In 1999, Normandie Shipper was sold to Adecon Shipping Ltd after having spent 4 years laid-up in Caen. Normandie Shipper was then rebuilt in Poland prior to an expected charter to Falcon Seafreight as Bonavista. However, this charter has never been concluded and Bonavista remained laid up in Poland in the shipyard that has rebuilt her until July 2001. She was then sold to a Bahamas-registered company and renamed Boa Vista. She began operating a Brevik (NOR) - Homelstrand (NOR) - Hirtshals (DNK) service before being transferred to a Hirtshals (DNK) - Langesund (NOR) route.

On 26th March 2003, Boa Vista collided with Hirtshals' pier, and was sold two days later to Tronk A Kittelsen Shipping A/S, whilst remaining on the Langesung - Hirtshals route. She was sold again in 2004, and then in 2007. In December 2007, Boa Vista was sold again to Birlik RoRo Isletmeleri AS for service between Zonguldak (TUR) and Skadovsk (UKR), and renamed Birlik (1). Birlik (1) was eventually beached prior to scrapping in Aliaga on 1st June 2013.


  • "M/S Stena Shipper (1973)". In Faktamom Fartyg, Tabort M., 2015. [retrieved 31st August 2016]. Available at www.faktaomfartyg.se ;
  • "M/F Birlik 1". In The Ferry Site, Koefoed-Hansen, M., 2015. [retrieved 31st August 2016]. Available at www.ferry-site.dk ;
  • "MV Speedlink Vanguard". In Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation and its writers, 2015. [retrieved 31st August 2016]. Available at en.wikipedia.org.