North Adriatic


In 1992 there weren’t many news in North Adriatic seas; Adriatica remained on Venice – BariPatrasHeraklion – Alexandria – Heraklion – Piraeus – Bari – Venice with “Egitto Express”, while Anek Lines confirmed the “Kydon” on Trieste – IgoumenitsaPatras line. According to some sources, it seems that in 1992 Trieste already knew the new ANEK flagship “El. Venizelos”, anyway I can’t confirm it. My opinion is sustained by the fact that in 1993 the “El Venizelos” was still represented in ANEK brochures as an edited “Stena Danica” , and I think that it’s strange that ANEK didn’t fhotographed her ferry, on that moment the biggest of Mediterranean sea and the fifth ferry in the world. 







ANCONA - Ortona


At Ancona, instead of other sceneries, we saw a lot of news. Starring on this scenery is Minoan Lines, with new lines and some changes of ferries operating its services. On AnconaIgoumenitsaCorfuPatras line the “King Minos” left her place to the “El Greco”, sailing along “Daedalus” and “Fedra”. The “El Greco” was replaced on her Ancona – Corfu – Cephalonia – Piraeus – ParosHeraklion service by the “Festos”, coming to Ancona after eight years between Piraeus and Heraklion , replaced by the “King Minos” which closed this “ring” of ferries. The “Ariadne” is confirmed on PiraeusTurkey service, while the “bomb” of Minoan Lines is, without any doubt, the “Erotokritos”. The ferry, sister ship of ANEK’sLato”, was brought to Greece by Strintzis Lines, but soon resold to Heraklion-based company. It would be very interesting to debate for hours if Minoan, with this ferry, lost the chance to rebuilt a splendid cruise-ferry, even better of her sister, or if they had the fantastic intuition of the first Greek ro-pax serving from Ancona. I think that the Hystory supports the latest theory, but my heart is for the first one, which deserves also another question: “How the Erotokritos would have been if Strintzis retained her in its fleet?”. Anyway, coming back to our “Erotokritos”, her rebuilding work was very light, the upper trailer deck was maintained and, for the first time at Ancona, the “camping aboard” was advertised and the accommodations were very reduced, even if the facilities were provided. The timetable of the ferry was revolutionary, with a direct connection between Ancona and Patras completed in 24 hours, with an average speed of 21 knots. Two sailings per week, on Tuesday and Saturday from Ancona at 14.00, back from Patras on Thursday and Sunday at 24.00, with a 33-hour trip at the average speed of 15 knots, maybe wit the intention to make the couple of MAN engines to rest! This timetable didn’t made shame neither to Karageorgis’s stalwarts “Mediterranean Sea” and “Mediterranean Sky”, which attempted to fight the other operators until September, when they ceased 21 years of glorious service to Italy. Strintzis Lines instead continued to sail only with two ferries, the “Ionian Galaxy” and “Ionian Island”, engaged on the same timetable as ever; Anek lines did the same with “Lato” and “Lissos” with sometimes callings of the “Kydon”. The last operator out of Ancona was Marlines, with “Crown M” on AnconaIgoumenitsaPatrasHeraklion – Rhodes – Limassol line, and “Countess M” on AnconaIgoumenitsaPatras. The timetable of Marlines provided also the “Grace M”, on an identical timetable of those of “Ionian Island”, leaving Ancona on Monday and Thursday evening and Patras on Wednesday afternoon and Saturday evening. One wonder how Marlines intended to sail with “Grace M” on summer of 1992 while the rebuilding work didn’t started yet at the publication of brochures, anyway Ancona saw instead the “Viscountess M”, sister of “Countess M”, even if not so heavily rebuilt and obviously inadequate to the service she was engaged on. At Ortona we can see again HML and its “Lydia”, but the most interesting feature was the appearance of Ventouris Ferries, which offered a 24-hour crossing to Patras with its new ferry “Polaris”, emerged as one of the best ro-paxes of Adriatic Sea (if we consider only the “ro” feature). Anyway the “Polarisdidn’t used her remarkable 22-knot speed.





Bari follows Ancona in the various news of this year; against the most successful operator of Bari, Ventouris Ferries and its “Athens Express”, “Venus”, “Vega”, “Grecia Express”, “Saturnus”, confirmed on the same services of last year, we find four operators. The first one was Adriatica and “Egitto Express”, even id not on a regular basis, then the “Ionian Sea” of Strintzis Lines, displaced from Ancona to operate four times a-week to Corfu and Igoumenitsa giving also the chance to sail to Patras after a stop-over in Corfu. On the same route we find also the emergent company Poseidon Lines with two very different ferries, the small “Sea Wave” and the bigger former Japanese train-ferry “Sea Serenade” a ferry with a good cargo capacity and a quite relevant speed assured by eight Daihatsu engines! On another hand, Arkadia Lines sailed also to Patras with “Paloma” and the newly-bought “Dimitrios Express”.




BRINDISIOtranto - Messina


After four years serving with the same three ferries, this year Adriatica introduced three newcomers on its Greek service: the sisters “Palladio” and “Sansovino”, engaged in the three previous seasons between Italy and Yugoslavia, plus the newly-delivered sister “Laurana”. The deployment for these ferries was respectively Brindisi – Corfu – Igoumenitsa, BrindisiPatras and BrindisiCorfuIgoumenitsaPatras. The relevant fact was the timetable, which was exceptionally uncomfortable due to the very low cruise-speed of the three vessels; this feature, which was unrelevant on cross-Adriatic short routes, was the fact which killed the Ionian services of the Italian company. Also HML had a lot of new facts that year: the “Neptunia” chartered the previous season was bought and named “Media II”, being deployed on the BrindisiPatras Link departing at 20.00 from Italy and at 17.00 from Greece along the “Poseidonia”; the other BrindisiPatras line was performed by the “Egnatia” and the “Corinthia”. This latter ferry on May was also engaged in an heavily-advertised “third Italian ferry connection” of HML, which had a very bad success: in fact Sicily is a very beautiful land as Greece is, and it’s rather difficult that one which lives in Northern Italy could go till Messina to take a ferry to Greece, so I think that only a month of service was far enough. Another new fact is introduced by Marlines, which added also the call at Ithaki island on its BrindisiCorfuIgoumenitsaPatras link performed by “Duchess M” and “Baroness M”. Fragline confirmed its “Eolos” and “Ouranos”, even if the first ferry stopped calling at Patras. Then, Mediterranean Lines sailed again between Brindisn, Igoumenitsa and Patras with “Raffaello” and “Valentino”, while a new Italian operator started a service from Otranto to Corfu and Igoumenitsa, Linee Lauro with their “Annamaria Lauro”. Dopo quattro anni di “solite navi” in una stagione Adriatica introduce ben tre nuovi traghetti: le gemelle “Palladio” e “Sansovino”, reduci da tre anni di utilizzo sulle linee della Jugoslavia, chiuse per la guerra nei Balcani; ad esse si aggiunge la terza gemella, appena varata dai cantieri di Palermo, la “Laurana”. Per le tre navi rispettivamente la rotta assegnata è Brindisi – CorfuIgoumenitsa, BrindisiPatrasso, Brindisi – CorfuIgoumenitsaPatrasso. Quello che colpisce è l’orario “impossibile” per l’eccessiva lentezza delle tre navi Adriatica, non un handicap nelle corte rotte attraverso l’Adriatico, ma che penalizzerà in paniera enorme nello Ionio la compagnia di bandiera. Piuttosto pirotecnica invece l’annata per HML: la “Neptunia”, noleggiata l’anno prima, viene poi acquistata e denominata “Media II”: affiancherà la “Poseidonia” sulla linea per Patrasso con partenza alle 20 dall’Italia e alle 17 dalla Grecia, mentre sulla linea principale rimane “Egnatia” con “Corinthia”. Quest’ultima tuttavia nel mese di maggio offrirà una linea tanto strombazzata come “il terzo porto italiano di HML” ed altrettanto effimera, la MessinaPatrasso. In effetti, pur essendoci in Grecia un mare bellissimo e molta arte, la Sicilia non ha molto da invidiare, e ritenendo alquanto improbabile che per andare in Grecia un milanese sia disposto a recarsi fino a Messina per prendere la nave, la linea è durata lo spazio di un mese, che forse è anche stato troppo. Introduce novità nel suo orario anche Marlines, che con “Duchess M” e “Baroness M” agli scali intermedi tra Brindisi e Patrasso, i classici Corfu ed Igoumenitsa, aggiunge anche Itaca. Nell’orario di Fragline troviamo invece la novità di “Eolos” che non prosegue più per Patrasso, fermandosi ad Igoumenitsa e lasciando sola a PatrassoOuranos”. Continuiamo con Mediterranean Lines, che riproponeRaffaello” e “Valentino”, quindi a Otranto troviamo un nuovo operatore per Corfu ed Igoumenitsa, l’italiana Linee Lauro con “Annamaria Lauro”.


Photos in this page are courtesy of Matteo Fasce, Pieter Inpijn, Fleet File Rotterdam, Kurth Warth, Emilio Barenghi, Michele Lulurgas, Stefanos Antoniadis,  plus some official shots.


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