Classic ocean liners
The Dutch ferry boat MV Artevelde was launched and delivered to the Belgian Maritime Transport Authority in 1958, immediately commencing service between
Ostend and Dover. In November 1967 she suffered a collision against the Danish motor vessel Alameda during thick fog conditions, suffering heavy damage
in the fore section. After one month, she retook service in the route Ostend-Dover. In October 1970 she rammed and sank the 200-ton coaster ship
Seacon; damage took six weeks to repair. In August 1974 she collided with a ramp at Dover Eastern Docks, temporarily rendering it unusable.
In 1976 she was sold to a Greek businessman, being renamed Aigaion and commencing service on a number different routes, which started on Piraeus and went
along several of the numerous isles on the Aegean Sea. In 1983 she ran aground near Paros, suffering the flooding of the engine room. In 1993 she was
retired from service and laid up. Intended to be rebuilt as a cruising ship named Kallisti, during the reconstruction works effectuated in Piraeus in
February 1996 she caught fire and was towed from the dock to the Island of Atalanti, being the ship mysteriously sank while in route.
The MV Artevelde had a length of 116.85 meters, a beam of 15.96 meters and a draught of 3.9 meters, being the tonnage 2812 gross, 1417 net and 775 deadweight.
The propulsion was given by two 12-cylinder two-cycle single-acting Diesel engines, with a total output of 9600 horsepower, which gave a top speed of 21 knots. This rather
large ferry boat had capacity for 1000 passengers, 160 cars and seven coaches or caravans.
Other contemporary ships of similar size operated by Regie voor Maritiem Transport included Princess Josephine Charlotte (1949-1984) and Roi Baudoin (1965-2009).
The first one had capacity for 700 passengers, a gross tonnage of 2572 tonnes and a top speed of 22 knots, while the second one had capacity for 850
passengers, a gross tonnage of 3241 tonnes and a top speed of 21 knots.
Launched in 1958, the MV Compiegne was the first French ferry boat to cover the route between Dover and Calais, and also the first of her type to be
built in France. She was as well one of the first to be fitted with variable-pitch propellers and bow thrusters controlled from the bridge. She had also
a second bridge placed astern, greatly facilitating the maneuver of directing the ship towards the link-span (element which lowered onto the ship's vehicle
deck allows to disembark the vehicles). The bow thrusters allowed for an easier berthing, giving the possibility of gently pushing the ship away from or
towards the quayside. Another innovation introduced by this ship in the English Channel was the all-welded construction, allowing for a
greater degree of prefabrication.
During 1969-1970 the car deck was raised by 50 centimeters to allow accommodation for vehicle trailers. Her final service between Calais and Dover was
effectuated in 1981. The following year, renamed Ionian Glory, she would enter service with her new owners in Greece to effectuate the route between Brindisi, Korfu, Igoumenitsa
and Patras. She would perform different routes between Italy and Greece until 1989, when she was sold to Cyprus where, renamed Queen Vergina, she would operate
between Pireus and Haifa. Just one year later she was sold again, this time to a Maltese company, being renamed Freedom I.
Substantially altered since her sale to Greece, the ship was still recognizable, but her future would be sad. Passing from one country to another
(Malta, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Egypt) and being renamed nearly each time she was sold, she would be eventually scrapped in Alexandria in 2012,
where she had remained inactive since 1995. Since 1991 her only reason to exist seemed to be the expectation of her owners of a rise in the price
of scrap metal, and because of that the ship would be kept in inoperative existence during so long time.
The MV Compiegne had an overall length of 115 meters, a beam of 18.35 meters and a draught of about 4 meters, being the tonnage 3467 gross, 1692 net and 700 deadweight.
The propulsion was given by two 16-cylinder four-stroke single-acting Diesel engines, giving a total output of 9000 horsepower and a top speed of 20 knots.
This ship was similar in size to the MV Artevelde, having capacity for 1000 passengers and 164 cars. The diagram below shows the many areas present in the ship: machinery and
accommodation for the crew in the lower section, accommodation for vehicles in the middle section, and leisure and accommodation for passengers in the upper section.
SS Bore III
The Finnish passenger liner Bore III, built in 1952 in Sweden for the Finnish ferry company Bore Ab, initially operated on the routes
Abo-Stockholm, Helsinki-Stockholm and Stockholm-Mariehamn. This ship had been built, along with two sisters, to upgrade the ferry traffic for the Summer Olympics
held in Helsinki in 1952. In 1971 she operated between Helsinki and Leningrad. In 1972 she was chartered to the Finnish
ferry company Jakob Lines for the route Jakobstad-Skelleftea. After being sold in 1976 to Panama she was transferred in 1977 to Montreal where she served
with the name Lowell Thomas Explorer. Here is a text from The Milwaukee Journal of the 19th February 1977:
"For the first time in years, a luxury cruise ship will sail a regular schedule on the upper Great Lakes this summer.
The 250 passenger
liner Lowell Thomas Explorer will make its maiden voyage May 28, according to Othmar Grueninger, president of Midwest Cruises, Inc., of
Indianapolis. The vessel is scheduled to cruise Lake Superior, as well as make trips to Georgian Bay, Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula, the
St. Lawrence Seaway and Niagara Falls. The Explorer, built in 1952 in Sweden, once sailed a Helsinki to Leningrad run on the Baltic Sea.
Last fall it was purchased by Midwest Cruises to replace a similar vessel, the Lowell Thomas Discoverer, which the firm operated on limited
Great Lakes tours in 1975. The year before, the firm operated a leased Norwegian vessel, the Stella Maris. Cruise ships last sailed the
northern Great Lakes regularly in the early 1960s, when vessels such as the Keewatin and the South American ran summerlong schedules.
The May 28 trip will be the first of five scheduled cruises from Detroit-Windsor into Lake superior, with stops in Duluth; Thunder Bay, Ontario;
Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac Island."
A certain photograph shows the Lowell Thomas Explorer arriving to Montreal the 10th May 1977, while displaying a good amount of rust. The ship had been
modified in 1973 by replacing the fore funnel with additional passenger cabins. Due to financial difficulties the ship ended being
auctioned in Liberia and renamed Royal Clipper the following year.
But she would never effectuate a single cruise with such name, for an explosion in the engine room sank her in December 1977, being finally scrapped
in 1982. This was the fate of the "luxury cruiser" that was going to inaugurate a new period on the Great Lakes routes.
The Bore III had a length of 91 meters, a beam of 14.15 meters, a draught of 5 meters and a gross register tonnage of 3007 tonnes. She could accommodate
65 passengers in first class, 185 in second class and 169 in third class. Propelled by a 3300-horsepower steam engine, she could travel at a maximum
speed of 15 knots and her prow was reinforced to be able to break moderately thick ice layers. The illustration shows the ship in her original form.