Traduction by Davide Tognolini


NorTHERN Adriatic SEA



In 1996, the ferry operators in the Northern Adriatic Sea are the same of the previous year. In Trieste, Anek Lines (with “El Venizelos”)  offers the same timetable used in previous years and proves to be a historic protagonist in the Northern Adriatic ferry sector. In Venice, the partnership Minoan Lines – Strintzis Lines is always operative, but one ferry is missing: "El Greco". This memorable Minoan ship has sailed back to the Aegean Sea, where it operates the Salonika to Crete route. The ferries now servicing the Venice to Patras route are “Daedalus”, “Fedra” and “Ionian Island”; every week there are five departures from Patras and Venice, the hour of departure is the same in both ports.






Superfast Ferries services Ancona to Patras for the second year in its history. The competition probably underestimated the great impact that the two Superfast ro-pax vessels  made on the market, that is why the reactions are late in coming. So, for the second year in a row “Superfast I” and “Superfast II” rule between Ancona and Patras, with their twenty-hour journey. The only ferry able to rival the two red vessels is Minoan Lines – Strintzis Lines “Aretousa”, with a new timetable, more consistent with her means since she no longer needs to travel at the same speed of “Erotokritos”. “Ionian Star” stops servicing the Ancona-Patrs direct route and calls at Igoumenitsa; she leaves from Ancona on Tuesdays and Fridays at 1 pm and sails back to Ancona from Patras in the evening. In Ancona, the Minoan - Strintzis partnership also offers more traditional services with their cruise ferries: five departures a week with “Ionian Galaxy”, “Festos” and a new entry, “Knossos”, which replaces "Ariadne" -- the latter servicing a new route for the Cyclades. Anek Lines keeps on employing “Lato” and “Talos” between Ancona and Patras, but reverses their route. “Talos” no longer calls at Corfu, reducing the length of her journey. So, “Lato” leaves from Ancona on Mondays at 9 pm and on Fridays at 2 pm, while “Talos” leaves on Tuesdays at 9 pm and on Saturdays at 5 pm. In Ancona there is also Marlines, now operating with three ships and offering three departures on schedule on Saturdays. “Dame M” used to leave from Ancona on Wednesdays and on Saturdays at 1 pm and arrive at Patras at 11 pm the day after; she left again towards Italy a few hours later. However, in 1996, “Dame M” was probably chartered to Cotunav. “Crown M”, the second ship servicing this route, had a timetable which was beneath her potential: she left from Ancona on Saturdays at 9 pm, from Patras on Mondays at 10 pm, and on Thursdays at 1 pm to Igoumenitsa sailing back on Friday at 5 pm. “Charm M” serviced the Ancona – Heraklion – Kusadasi – Heraklion – Patras – Ancona route: a never-ending journey. In 1996, “Charm M” became famous for having been stopped in Ancona by the authorities -- she didn't obey the basic sanitary and safety regulations.







The “Superfast effect” no doubt roused a great deal of interest among the ferry operators, not only in Ancona but also in Bari. As a consequence, many changes take place in this port too. It was unlikely that passengers would prefer Superfast rather than Marlines (with “Charm M”); the latter servicing the Patras-Bari route in 23 hours (via Igoumenitsa), the former servicing the Patras-Ancona route in 20 hours but hundreds of kilometres north of Bari. Marlines, however, chucks in the towel and decides to use its ferries “Baroness M” and “Duchess M” between Bari and Igoumenitsa, avoiding calling at Corfu. Ventouris Ferries keeps on working with its four usual ferries: “Polaris”, “Venus”, “Athens Express” and “Vega”. The many ferry operators in Bari, operating from Italy to Greece, have disappeared: Anek Lines and Poseidon Lines sell or charter their vessels. Arkadia Lines, with “Dimitrios Express” and “Megistanas”, should service the Corfu-Igoumenitsa route; however, after the accident happened to the “Poseidon Express”, “Dimitrios Express” sails back to the Aegean Sea and the company decides not to use “Megistanas” and lays it up (for ever). And so, in 1996 there are only two operators in Bari. Perhaps, the “Superfast effect” caused more damages in Bari than in Ancona.




BRINDISI – Otranto


In Brindisi, “Ionian Sun” (a Minoan Lines – Strintzis Lines ferry) captures the headlines, since she's becoming a leader between Brindisi, Corfu and Igoumenitsa. In the meantime, the decline of Adriatica is beginning. The only Italian operator from Italy to Greece decides to send “Sansovino” to Ancona, where she would operate the routes to Albania, Croatia and Yugoslavia; the only Adriatica ferries in Brindisi are now “Egitto Express” and “Laurana”. Adriatica's main historic competitor, HML, according to the Greek laws, lays up the memorable flagship “Egnatia”. The ferries now servicing the Brindisi to Patras route are “Media II”, and “Poseidonia” and her recently bought sistership: “Panther”. “Apollonia II” keeps on servicing from Brindisi to Igoumenitsa. Then, there are two other ships, “Saturnus” (Ventouris Ferries) and  “Ouranos” (Fragline), which operate from Brindisi to Corfu and Igoumenitsa. The route to Patras is serviced by Vergina Ferries with  “Brindisi”, “Valentino” and “Queen Vergina” -- the latter mainly used on the route to Igoumenitsa -- amd Med Link Lines with “Afrodite II”, “Agios Andreas” and “Poseidon”, mainly used on the route to Turkey. During the summer, “Mar Julia”, a sistership of “Media II”, services the Brindisi–Igoumenitsa route for P&L Ferries and the first Greek HSC is commissioned. The HSC is “Captain George”, owned by Catamaran Ferry Lines; it is a Dutch catamaran with a capacity of 720 passengers and 152 cars and services the Brindisi - Corfu - Igoumenitsa route in 3 hours and 15 minutes. Very innovative (but unsuccessful) idea.


Photos taken by Matteo Fasce, Pieter Inpijn, Fleet File Rotterdam, Kurth Warth, Emilio Barenghi, Michele Lulurgas, Stefanos Antoniadis; other images are official photographs and postcards.


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