Photo © Kurt Warth



Ionian Galaxy (1987)

Building Spec.

1972 at Setoda Zosensho Yards, Setoda, Japan N° 249

Call Sign


IMO Number







167,24 x 24,01 x 6,3


2 Hitachi - B& W, 13.827 kW


19 knots




693 in 220 cabins



Lane Metres


Sister ships

Merdif 1

Registry Port




Former Names/Own

Arkas – Taiheiyo Ferry 1972-87

New Names/Own

Ionian Galaxy – Lybian State Company 1998 (charter)

Blue Galaxy – Blue Star Ferries 2000-01

Çeşme 2 – Turkish Marmara Lines 2001 (charter)

Çeşme 2 – Blue Star Ferries 2001-03

Merdif 2 – Marco Shipping 2003ŕ





Probably if we look at a photo of “Arkas”, the name of this ship when served Nagoya, Sendai and Tomakomai in Japan under Taiheiyo Ferry colours and Ionian Galaxy, is not so difficult to understand that is the same ship, but  the alterations made in Greece after the purchase by Strintzis lines in 1987 were very important. Refitted expensively with the target to consider the sea-crossing aboard her enjoyable as a part of the vacation, the work was well done: before travelling the first time aboard “Ionian Galaxy” I travelled aboard “Ionian Star” (the one of 1976 of course!) and “Ionian Sun”, but the “Galaxy” was really another thing. Externally she got a new funnel which replaced the original one similar in shape to the one of “Erotokritos” and “Lato”, a different shape to the stern and a new bridge between the wheelhouse and the funnel. From 1987 to 1996 was always employed on Ancona - Corfu - Igoumenitsa - Patras line: on Strintzis Lines’s service she sailed from Ancona to Patras on Tuesday at 23.00 (Wednesday at 13.00 in 1994) and on Saturday at 21.00, coming back from Patras on Monday at 13.00 (22.00 in 1994) and Thursday at 22.00 (23.30 in 1994); then in 1995 and 1996 was engaged in the three-ship service from Ancona of Minoan – Strintzis alliance: the first year sailing from Ancona on Wednesday and Saturday at 14.00 and from Patras on Monday and Thursday at 23.00, the second year, also due to the low speed of Minoan’s “Festos” and “Knossos”, the classic ferry sailings Ancona – Patras were reduced to five every week, departing in the evening both from Italy and Greece. She sailed the first time regularly to Venice in 1997, after the end of the Joint venture with Minoan Lines, sailing from Ancona on Monday at 12.00, from Venice on Thursday at 17.00, coming back to Italy on Tuesday to Venice and Saturday to Ancona. In 1998 was chartered and returned to Strintzis in 1999, always linking Ancona and Venice to Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patras. She was renamed “Blue Galaxy” in 2000 and put on the Venice line, connecting the Italian port also with Heraklion. For 2001, instead, was intended to be on a direct service between Brindisi and Patras; however the unsatisfactory results of the first months of service by the twin “Blue Island”, convinced Strintzis to give up and this ship was chartered to “Turkish Marmara Lines” for connecting Brindisi and Cesme. Anchored for all the 2002 season, in January 2003 was sold to Arab Interests. So we must farewell the mother of Greek “cruise – ferries”, a family which is very close to disappear in Aegean and Adriatic Seas. What a pity….


TAIHEIYO FERRY F/B Arkas photo by courtesy of Murase


The “First Edition” of Ionian Galaxy, official Strintzis Lines’s postcard


Photo © Michele Lulurgas, Patras Port, 19/06/95


Photo © Alessandro Bertolini


BLUE FERRIES FB Blue Galaxy Photo © Daniele Miglio


BLUE FERRIES F/B Cesme 2 photo by courtesy of EFOPLISTIS magazine


TURKISH MARMARA LINES F/B Cesme 2 – Photo © Spiridon E. Zervos, Syros sea, August 2001


MARCO SHIPPING COMPANY F/B Merdif 2 – Photo by coutesy of EFOPLISTIS magazine


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