The end of the line.

By Andy Gilbert

Photo:Senlac when new in 1973

Senlac when new in 1973

Andy Gilbert collection

Photo:Apollon, ex Senlac. 2010: At Aliaga for scrapping.

Apollon, ex Senlac. 2010: At Aliaga for scrapping.

Kind permission of Selim San

It is with some sadness that I must report that I have just heard, from a fellow ferry enthusiast friend in Greece, that our much loved ferry Senlac has recently made her final voyage. She sailed from Salamis on 30th September, bound for the Turkish port of Aliaga to be broken up.

Delivered in 1973 as the third of a trio of sisterships - the others being Hengist and Horsa, based at Folkestone - Senlac was the last of the British car ferries to operate the Newhaven-Dieppe service in the British Rail/Sealink era and was something of a survivor. She served the route well through thick and thin, and I'm sure that many local people will have travelled across the channel on her. Many more Newhaveners will no doubt remember the crew sit-in and the successful 'Save Our Senlac' campaign of 1982. When the route was finally handed over to the French in 1985, she changed colours, crews and nationality but still ran here until she was determined to be too small and replaced with larger vessels such as the Versailles and Champs Elysees.

Like so many of her forerunners on the service, she then made the move to Greek waters and, with the usual sun deck extensions and modifications to the stern loading ramp, served her new owners well in those sunny climes under the names Express Apollon and Apollon. However, she latterly proved to be the least reliable of the three sisters and I'm not suprised to hear that she is the first to go.

Still, she had a good working life of over 37 years, rather longer than some of our previous Newhaven ships. Falaise lasted from 1946 to 1974 and Brighton (VI) from just 1950 to 1969.

So farewell Senlac, you leave behind many fond memories and stories

This page was added by Andy Gilbert on 04/10/2010.
Comments about this page

Sad to hear that MV Senlac has reached the end of her service years and has arrived in Turkey for scrapping.  I have fond memories of crossing on her to Dieppe, on numerous occasions. I'm sure that many locals will feel that this is the final closure on the old Newhaven / Dieppe dual operatives system of that era. I know a friend of mine, (Capt) Paul Levesley Rt'd, will be sorry to hear of her of withdrawal and pending break up, as he was one of her service Captains, on the Newhaven to Dieppe run.  Your last photo shows her looking amazingly 'smart' externally, but due to unreliabilty she has been decommisioned.  The vessel alongside her in this photo looks a very 'sinister' looking ship, being painted all in black, unusual for a passenger vessel - I wonder why!!!

By Chris Young
On 11/10/2010

Breaking up is going very fast indeed, they're back to the funnel already. For those who want to see what's happening, here's a link to the Dover Ferry Forum page on her fate. http://www.doverferryphotosforums.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1277&p=8524#p8524 Andy

By Andy Gilbert
On 12/11/2010

Dear friends, The ship next to Senlac, is the ex F. Diamond, Ouranos, Ariadne, Tor Hollandia. Built in 1966-1967 with the name Tor Hollandia, sold later in Greece and operated there with the name Ariadne for Minoan Lines and then with the name Ouranos for Fragline Shipping Co. Later she was sold to Fashion TV, F. Diamond to make cruises and Fashion shows all over the world. It was that time, when she painted, not actually black but the colour of dark grey, something like coal. Some months ago she was sold for scrap. I am very sorry too, for the loss of Senlac. I had the good luck to serve on Senlac when she was called Express Apollon, as a chief officer. At the moment I am still serving as a captain to ex Chartres, now Express Santorini, still making voyages in Greece for the winter time and to the Azores for the summer time. Best regards, Cpt Stefanos Papadopoulos.

By Stefanos Papadopoulos
On 03/02/2011

I remember going on the Senlac as a school child on two French trips, we had a great time.  The weather was very rough and that made it all the better. The service on Sealink was always great and they are really missed on the French routes and also on the Channel Islands route...come on back Sealink .

By Lord Fuller of Glencoe
On 24/06/2013

I came across this article whilst searching for information on the Hengist. I well remember the Senlac as I worked for what was then Chrysler UK Ltd in Newhaven (from 1975 to 1977) importing cars from France. I travelled on her on many occasions and used to watch her arriving and departing from my flat in Seaford. Other ferries at the time were the Valancay, Villandray and the Capt LeGoff.

By Martyn Gulliver
On 25/10/2013

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.