Vessel Liveries

Over recent decades there has been an incredible array of colour schemes used to adorn Cross Channel ferries. Until the 1960’s, liveries were invariably black hulls, white upperworks, and either red or buff funnels. It was pioneering Thoresen Car Ferries in 1964 who initiated the trend of displaying the trading name in lettering along the sides of the hull. Motifs on the funnels also started to become common. Nowadays, vessel livery is considered a vital part of the ‘corporate identity’ of the ferry companies, availing the opportunities of free advertising in huge proportions on their ships. However, it is amazing how inconsistent the application of current logos and liveries can be! Maybe this goes unnoticed by the majority of travellers, who are far more concerned with the facilities found on board. Indeed, some are blissfully ignorant of the identity of their carrier, yet alone the name of the ferry! The most unattractive recent phenomenon is the display of ferry company internet addresses on their ships, thus reinforcing the idea that ships are glorified floating advertisement hoardings.

A. L. A.

The Angleterre-Loraine-Alsace Société Anonyme de Navigation, abbreviated to A. L. A. was a French subsidiary of British Rail and operated the train ferry, Twickenham Ferry on the Dover/Dunkerque route. Her livery was in line with that of S. N. C. F., except the red funnels, which latterly featured the A. L. A. acronym in a stylised oval shaped monogram in white.

Belgian Marine

From it inception, the Dover/Oostende route had always been served by Belgian flagged vessels bearing black hulls, white superstructures, with buff funnels and masts.

British Ferries

For the year of 1986, Sealink vessels operating to the Channel Islands featured a non-standard application of the Sealink British Ferries livery. The ‘SEALINK’ name was erased and the remaining ‘BRITISH FERRIES’ part of the title was enlarged. Earl Godwin, Earl Granville, Earl Harold, and Earl William all reverted back to ‘SEALINK BRITISH FERRIES’ markings the following year when their Channel Islands services were abandoned.

British Rail

The railway owned fleet of Britain had a transition from the traditional black hull with buff funnel to dark blue hull and red funnel in the 1960’s. With the birth of the ‘British Rail’ brand in 1965, the famous ‘double arrow’ symbol appeared on funnels in white, either painted on, or as a piece of signage bolted on. It tended to be reversed on the starboard side (the ‘double arrow’ denoted the backwards and forwards nature of transportation). B. R. created unnecessary problems for itself by experimenting with ‘pearl grey’ superstructures. Officers complained that this made their ships poorly visible in misty conditions, and so this scheme was soon reversed to white. The masts remained grey, however.

Brittany Ferries

This company has always opted for an all white ‘cruising’ colour scheme, although it has included its trade marks on the hulls and funnels. The first purpose built vessel, Penn-Ar-Bed of 1974 entered service with just a navy blue band wrapping around her hull. This was latterly augmented by an orange band immediately below it. Her funnels received a wide blue band within which a stylised orange Breton symbol was applied. The legend ‘brittany ferries’ was featured in navy on the hulls of Armorique in 1976 in the company of the funnel logo either side. 1984 saw refinements made to the scheme with the brand name being redesigned in a different typeface and a navy and orange stylised flag being implemented to sit above the lettering on the hull, and between a navy and orange band on the funnel. This remained unchanged for two decades until the Company commissioned another restyling of its logotype which has been drawn in an italic typeface. The flag symbol has also been modified. Each unit in the fleet features a variation in navy blue stripes around the superstructure.

Channel Island Ferries

This company opted for the ‘cruising’ white scheme utilised by its parent, Brittany Ferries. A navy and red flag symbol very match resembling Brittany Ferries’ own logo appeared on the all white funnel of Corbiére in 1985 while the title ‘CHANNEL ISLAND FERRIES’ was applied to her hull in navy (with a very fine red outline) on top of a navy and red band wrapping around. When the company adopted the prefix ‘British’ in 1987, this was reflected in a slight modification to the livery.

Condor Ferries

This firm’s first car ferry, Condor 10, entered service with a colour scheme that seems to have been popular with various ferry companies on the Channel in recent years. The ubiquitous navy and blue colours adorned this catamaran in the form of a stylised italic logotype displaying the brand ‘CONDOR’ along the white hulls, linked with navy and red bands. The logotype was latterly modified to feature the suffix ‘Ferries’ in red and the whole brand name was located above the navy and red bands. Another redesign saw the internet address ‘’ used in place of just the company name.

Holyman Sally Ferries

With the demise of Oostende Lines, and the Ramsgate/Dunkerque in serious danger of closure, Sally Line gained an ally in the form of the Australian owned Holyman Group. A joint service using the former Sally Sky, Eurotraveller, and three catamarans was established under the brand ‘Holyman Sally Ferries’. Eurotraveller’s livery was half blue hull, with a blue and red ‘Holyman Sally Ferries’ logotype applied to her superstructure. Her funnels were plain white. Holyman Diamant and Holyman Rapide featured a largely white livery with the logotype and a stylised blue band ‘sweeping’ up to their bow ends.


The first car carrying hovercraft for this company wore a livery of a mainly red superstructure, red cockpit, and red propeller pylons. The white tail end ‘fins’ featured the motif of the company which was not dissimilar to a pair of opened and closed brackets: {} The logotype ‘HOVERLLOYD’ was applied in black either side of the bow door on the upper superstructure.


When the aforementioned hovercraft services merged to form Hoverspeed in 1981, a rather successful livery was conceived: Seaspeed’s blue and red bands were retained, but swapped around. The propeller pylons and tail end ‘fins’ were painted white with an intricate application of red bands, reducing in width, whilst the corporate identity ‘HOVERSPEED’ was featured in blue and red sans serif lettering along the upper superstructure in three positions either side. The service routes ‘Dover/Ramsgate/Calais/Boulogne’ were also added in black (Ramsgate was erased after 1982). An abbreviated version of the logo; ‘HS’, also appeared on the tail end ‘fins’. This was later substituted with the ‘BRITISH FERRIES’ markings seen on, then, sister company, Sealink British Ferries.

The Seacat made its debut with an elegant all white scheme, featuring the brand ‘SeaCat’ in navy blue sans serif lettering along its hulls. A thin navy blue and red band was applied along the superstructure, whilst the dummy funnel was adorned with red bands. The surviving hovercraft were overhauled in all white with a revised scheme mirroring the thin red and blue bands seen on the Seacat. The next alterations came when Seacats received all navy blue hulls, all red dummy funnels, and the restyled logotype ‘seacat’ in navy and red Futura typeface lettering along their superstructures. The hovercraft went on to have all red ‘fins’, then all red propeller pylons, navy rims around the superstructure, which were later changed to red!

The title ‘HOVERCRAFT’ adorned the bow and stern doors in huge proportions, supposedly for the benefit of those who were unsure what they were looking at! The final livery carried by the hovercraft was the most sober, with all white superstructure, red pylons, white ‘fins’ sporting the redesigned blue and red ‘hoverspeed’ Futura logotype at an acute angle. The brand ‘hovercraft’ appeared in the same font on the bow and stern doors.

The Superseacats have always operated in all white, with red funnels. The brand ‘superseacat’ was applied in red and blue along the hull. For a while, ‘’ appeared in its place on just one side! The Seacats operating on the Channel then reverted to all white, with ‘seacat’ painted on the hull in non-standard lettering. With the constant reshuffling of fleet units, Hoverspeed, and its parent company, Sea Containers, have failed to maintain a consistent corporate identity across its vessels.


The three freighters operating on the Dover/Dunkerque (Ouest) route have retained the black hull colourings of their owners, Norse Merchant Ferries. The funnels, however, feature the white seven pointed star of Norfolkline, against their pale blue background. The title ‘NORFOLK LINE’ has been added in black to the superstructure. This is not consistent in design with the ‘norfolkline’ corporate identity used on printed material.

Normandy Ferries

When this service opened in 1967, the twins Dragon and Leopard featured a pleasing all white ‘cruising’ scheme with pale blue funnels and a crest motif. The brand ‘Normandy Ferries’ later appeared in dark Plantin typeface lettering in small proportions along the hull. When Lion started on the Dover/Boulogne route in 1976 she kept the black hull she had operated with across the Irish Sea. Her red funnels were repainted in line with the Southampton vessels, though. All change occurred when all members of the fleet received pale blue hulls with the ‘Normandy Ferries’ legend in large white Plantin lettering.

Oostende Lines

After R. M. T. severed its partnership with Sealink British Ferries on the Dover/Oostende route, its fleet received Townsend Thoresen hull markings as a result of a new pooling agreement with that company. When P. & O. European Ferries was established, R. M. T. chose not to feature the ‘P&O’ logotype in their livery. The Belgian ships were, however, repainted with navy blue hulls. The funnels became pale blue, whilst the ‘RMT’ monogram’s outline became white. A pale blue band also appeared around the hulls. A radical shift occurred in 1991 when the organisation adopted the brand ‘Oostende Dover Line’. The ships kept their blue hulls, whilst the legend ‘OOSTENDE DOVER’ was applied to the superstructure with a stylised crown motif inserted between the names of the two ports. The brand was reversed to ‘DOVER OOSTENDE’ on the port side of certain vessels, and the starboard on others! The crown logo was applied to all white funnels, except on Prins Filip. When P. & O. withdrew from the pooling arrangement, R. M. T. concluded a new deal with Sally Line whereby the Oostende service switched to Ramsgate under the brand ‘Oostende Lines’. The livery was adjusted to reflect this.

P. & O. European Ferries

Former Townsend Thoresen ferries were seen operating with plain orange hulls towards the end of 1987. The funnels had become dark blue and retained the P. & O. flag signage that had been bolted on earlier. During overhaul, the orange hulls became dark blue in line with the funnels and featured the ‘P&O’ Plantin typeface logotype in white. This tended to be positioned parallel to the location of the funnels. A smaller logotype was applied in dark blue to the forward ends of the superstructure. An additional aspect of the livery was not carried by all vessels in the fleet: This was a thin dark blue line painted along the white superstructure which tailed off where it met the smaller logotype. When Pride of Bilbao made her debut, she received a dark blue band that wrapped all around her superstructure below the boat deck. Pride of Le Havre (II) and Pride of Portsmouth followed suit.

P. & O. Ferries (1980 – 1985)

From 1980, the ‘Normandy Ferries’ brand was abandoned in favour of ‘P&O Ferries’. This saw the P. & O. Group’s now well established quartered blue, white, red, and yellow flag motif bolted on to the funnels as custom made pieces of signage. The design of the flag was too complex to advocate satisfactory hand painting and therefore the Company had the sense to have the signage manufactured so that a consistent application to vessels was maintained. In an interesting quirk, the flag was reversed on the starboard side of the funnels so that the blue quarter was always at the bow end. The funnels of the Dragon and Leopard proved problematic due to their small size and the positioning of lifeboats in their way. This necessitated smaller flag emblems. The Plantin typeface was used to adorn the hulls with the title ‘P&O Ferries’ in white. It was an attractive scheme, complemented by a black cap to the funnels and black ‘underworks’ or ‘boot topping’ as it is termed in shipping vernacular.

P. & O. Ferries (2002 -)

Once Stena’s interest in the joint service with P. & O. had been disposed of, the latter took the opportunity to bring all of its United Kingdom based ferry operations under one single identity, resurrecting the P. & O. Ferries brand previously used for its Dover/Boulogne and Southampton/Le Havre routes in the 1980’s. From the autumn of 2002, the Dover based fleet had the Stena half of their joint service markings hastily painted out. After winter overhauls, they emerged with navy blue paintwork halfway up their hulls. The Plantin ‘P&O’ title reappeared, this time in navy blue, on the white superstructure. The quartered flag was reinstated on funnels, but strangely, it was not reversed on the starboard side this time, and appeared a little awkward. The flag also appeared at the forward end of superstructures, in place of the ‘P&O Stena Line’ logo. The internet address was changed to ‘’. The Portsmouth based vessels were brought into line, however the flags on the starboard sides of their funnels remained reversed; yet another oversight on the part of the contractors who carried out the overhauls. Freight only ships in the fleet have kept their all navy blue hulls with ‘P&O’ markings applied in white. The integration of the P. & O. Irish Sea division into the P. & O. Ferries fleet was deferred until a later stage.

P. & O. Stena Line

From March 1998, Stena Line vessels at Dover and Newhaven featured a new livery that very much leant towards the P. & O. colour scheme: No coincidence, perhaps, that P. & O. held the lion’s share of the joint P. & O. Stena Line venture. The hulls were painted navy blue, with Stena’s red band resting directly on top. The white title ‘P&O Stena’ was applied in Garamond typeface to the hulls. The funnels were navy blue too, of course. An intricate motif was emblazoned, with P. & O.’s flag juxtaposed against Stena Line’s stylised ‘S’ on a red flag, bordered with white and blue bands. This double flag emblem obviously could not be reversed. The joint company corporate identity, ‘P&O Stena LINE’, was also applied to the forward sides of the superstructures. Latterly the internet address, ‘’ also appeared in navy blue on the superstructure. What a complicated scheme it was!

R. M. T.

With the reorganisation of Belgian Marine into Regie voor Maritiem Transport in 1972, the fleet went on to adopt yellow funnels featuring a stylised ‘RMT’ logotype painted in pale blue, with a dark blue outline. With the participation of the Dover/Oostende services in the Sealink consortium, this brand was applied in white on the black hulls. Prins Philippe entered service in 1973 with a completely black hull, though oddly, she was overhauled for the following season with the paint line dropped halfway down. This required the ‘Sealink’ legend to be repainted in much smaller proportions, which also didn’t happen to match the correct typeface seen on British Rail’s Hengist and Horsa. Other new Belgian vessels that appeared also featured this quirk in livery.

When Stena Nautica was chartered, R. M. T. didn’t waste any money painting her white hull black. Instead she just had the ‘Sealink’ logotype painted in black on her superstructure, above the gold Stena Line stripe that was retained. When Prinses Maria-Esmeralda, Princesse Marie-Christine, and Prins Albert were ‘stretched’ vertically between 1985-6, the black hull paint was heightened to the correct level and thus the ‘Sealink’ logotype was enlarged.

Sally Line

As Sally Line was part of the Scandinavian Viking Line empire, and it inherited its first vessel from the Baltic, it was not surprising that the livery carried by The Viking was essentially that of Viking Line, with minor modifications. The all red hull sported the title ‘VIKING LINE’ in white serif typeface, accompanied by a very amateurish ‘sally’ logotype painted in ‘bubble’ lettering. This was also featured on the funnel which was red and white. The ‘VIKING LINE’ markings were later dropped in favour of ‘SALLY LINE’. The arrival of Sally Star in 1988 heralded a new scheme with all red hull and the legend ‘SALLY’ painted along the superstructure in red. The funnel became all white with two thin red bands. A black band then appeared below the boat deck. When Sally’s owners were absorbed by the Finnish Silja Line, their stylised ‘seal’s head’ motif was applied to funnels, whilst the ‘Sally’ logotype was modified again, becoming blue.


With the disappearance of the ‘Sealink’ brand in Britain and the divorce between Stena Line and S. N. A. T. on the Dover/Calais route, the French coined the brand ‘Seafrance’ for their new independent operation. As part of the deal, Stena Line had exclusive rights to the ‘Sealink’ name in the United Kingdom and chose to bury it. Seafrance was free to exploit the ‘Sealink’ brand in France, hence the shore side facilities at Calais featured ‘Seafrance Sealink’ signage. Carrier bags issued in on board shops also featured this dual identity. Evidently the French felt that it would be foolish to dispose of a brand as well recognised as ‘Sealink’ in their country, and it was therefore retained whilst Seafrance was getting established. The livery carried by the Seafrance fleet was a progression of the previous S. N. A. T. scheme. The stylised ‘S’ motif was modified so that it slanted rather awkwardly. The navy blue title ‘SEAFRANCE’ appeared, in place of ‘SEALINK’, in an elegant serif typeface. The red band around the superstructure was repositioned to rest just above the navy blue ‘boot topping’. The corporate identity was also applied to the forward face of superstructures. Altogether it was a quite pleasing livery, but remarkably similar to Stena Line’s. Why the two companies didn’t seek to differentiate themselves visually in a stronger way is a mystery. Perhaps it was sheer coincidence that they both arrived at a decision to have all white, with red band and blue lowerworks!


1972 saw the emergence of the ‘Sealink’ brand to represent the railway owned fleets of Britain and France, as well as Belgium’s newly founded R. M. T., and the Dutch S. M. Z. This was an inspired choice of name; simple, meaningful, and easily remembered. It was to survive some twenty four years of use in the United Kingdom. Hengist and Horsa were the first British Rail vessels to feature the ‘Sealink’ legend painted along their dark blue hulls in tall white sans serif lettering. This was applied consistently on most B. R. ships, however there were some deviations from the intended design.

The French vessels received the ‘Sealink’ logotype in dark blue sans serif lettering in the white portion of the hulls. The red funnels received the white ‘SNCF’ logotype some years later. The train ferry, Saint Germain, featured a particularly blatent discrepancy in her hand-drawn ‘Sealink’ logotypes. The letter ‘a’ painted on her starboard side was quite different to the one on her port side! In the 1980’s, Cote d’ Azur and Champs Elysées featured completely blue hulls with white ‘Sealink’ lettering which appeared further spaced apart than it should have done!

The jointly owned British Rail/S. N. C. F. Newhaven/Dieppe service featured a non-standard funnel livery of buff funnel with a stylised emblem which was supposed to be hybrid of the Anglo and French flags. The British operated Senlac deviated from the half white and half dark blue hull scheme of the French owned Valencay and Villandry, by mirroring her sisters, Hengist and Horsa, with a completely blue hull with white ‘Sealink’ logotype along it.

The A. L. A. operated Saint Eloi on the Dover/Dunkerque train ferry service entered service with a non-standard application of dark blue paint on her hull, significantly lower than the superstructure. This was corrected at a later stage, though the ‘Sealink’ markings in white remained unchanged in proportions.

Sealink British Ferries

In 1984, before the sale of Sealink U. K. Limited to Sea Containers, the British flagged fleet lost their British Rail ‘double arrow’ markings, leaving plain red funnels. Some vessels, including Hengist and Horsa, were overhauled in the new Sealink corporate identity featuring all white hull and superstructure. The new navy blue funnels featured two gold bands, the uppermost one forming a loop which resembled the letter ‘S’ reflected. Along the hull, the pale blue legend, ‘SEALINK’, was applied in a custom designed modern typeface. This was bordered by a smart pale blue band around the hull. The ‘boot topping’ was completed in navy blue. The overall result was a fresh, modern look for the British fleet. After the acquisition by Sea Containers, the livery was slightly revised to include the brand ‘BRITISH FERRIES’ juxtaposed against the ‘SEALINK’ logotype in the same font. The title also appeared on the forward face of the superstructures. One vessel that deviated from this scheme quite drastically was Fantasia. Her funnel markings were originally painted down to the waterline! The lower gold band was continued along her hull, whilst the trading name appeared on the superstructure in navy blue. It was partly obscured by the ramp for foot passengers on her starboard side!

Sealink Dieppe Ferries

The Newhaven/Dieppe service came under complete French control in 1985 and the white ‘SEALINK DIEPPE FERRIES’ legend was to applied to the blue hull in the same font used by Sealink British Ferries. The red funnels featured the newly revised ‘SNCF’ logotype in white outline lettering.

Sealink Ferries S. N. C. F.

This was the brand adopted by S. N. C. F. for its Dover/Calais services in conjunction with Sealink British Ferries. Côte d’ Azur and Champs Elysées received the modified S. N. C. F. logotype on their funnels, mirroring that seen on Sealink Dieppe Ferries. They later had the old white ‘Sealink’ legend replaced by ‘SEALINK’ in Sealink British Ferries style lettering. In 1987, the French opted to conform to the British all white hull scheme, but the ‘SEALINK’ logotype was navy blue and bordered by a red band, rather than pale blue. This was also implemented by Sealink Dieppe Ferries. A further modification occurred when white bands appeared above and below the ‘SNCF’ logo on the funnels.

Sealink S. N. A. T.

From 1990, S. N. C. F. markings disappeared, marking the incarnation of S. N. A. T. as the French partner of Sealink British Ferries. The Company commissioned a stylised ‘S’ symbol that was designed as a red and navy blue inter-linking motif. This appeared on all white funnels, and also the superstructure in the case of Côte d’ Azur, Champs Elysées and Versailles. The funnels featured a red band around the top end. The navy blue ‘SEALINK’ logotype was repositioned on to the superstructure, with a continuous red band placed below it. The lettering was subtly modified with softer edges; the French wishing to further differentiate themselves from their British partner. Chartres carried the new S. N. A. T. scheme, although her funnel received the A. L. A. oval shaped monogram in red, reflecting the fact she was chartered to that particular subsidiary of Sealink British Ferries.

Sealink Stena Line

After the sale of Sealink British Ferries to Stena Line, the ‘BRITISH FERRIES’ element of the corporate identity was erased and substituted with ‘STENA LINE’ in a matching typeface.


The original livery for British Rail’s Cross Channel hovercraft service was all white superstructure, with a pale blue band painted between the passenger cabin windows, as well as the cockpit windows. The British Rail ‘double arrow’ symbol was applied in pale blue to the tail end ‘fins’. The ‘Seaspeed’ logotype appeared either side of the bow door on the upper superstructure. From 1978-9, having been lengthened, The Princess Anne and The Princess Margaret received a stark change in livery, with the paintwork around the passenger cabin windows becoming navy blue and complemented by a red band beneath. This styling was continued up the tail end ‘fins’. The propeller pylons became all navy blue, whilst the cockpit was painted all white. The French Ingénieur Jean Bertin craft reflected this colour scheme, although her layout was completely different. The ‘Seaspeed’ logotype was hand-drawn in large proportions along her superstructure in grey, rather than navy blue. It looked badly applied.

S. N. C. F.

The French fleet mirrored their Anglo counterpart’s colour scheme until the 1960’s. S. N. C. F.’s first car ferries, such as Compiegne and Chantilly, had their blue hull paintwork applied halfway down for most of their length, only ascending abruptly towards the bow end.

Stena Line

All change occurred when all trace of the ‘Sealink’ brand in the United Kingdom was removed at the beginning of 1996. Stena Line’s Scandinavian fleet had previously carried the title ‘STENA LINE’ in gold lettering along the hull, with a gold stripe painted along the superstructure. A new corporate identity was devised to be introduced to all spheres of Company’s operations. Stena’s original red funnel featuring a stylised ‘S’ symbol in white was retained, largely unchanged, and introduced to former Sealink vessels. The funnels also featured a white band above and below the ‘S’ logo, with navy blue either side. The ‘Stena Line’ logotype appeared along the hulls in navy blue, above a continuous red band. The paintwork around the waterline remained navy blue on the old Sealink ships. Overall, it was a rather effective result. However, the ‘Stena Line’ logotype was clearly hand drawn on some vessels such as Stena Antrim, which featured very unprofessional lettering on her hull.

Stena Sealink Line

When the Sealink Stena Line fleet name was reversed as of 1993, a newly designed ‘Stena Sealink’ logotype appeared in pale blue along the hull, above a navy blue band interrupted by the ‘LINE’ part of the brand.

Thoresen Car Ferries

The Norwegian owned Viking series introduced a colour scheme even more revolting than rival Townsend! Hulls were daubed with bright orange, whilst the twin funnels, wheelhouse and boat decks were applied with pea green. The lower part of the superstructure was kept white. The name ‘THORESEN CAR FERRIES’ was painted in modest proportions along the sides of the hull in white. A stylised flag motif with the initial ‘T’ in the centre appeared on the outer sides of the twin funnels and also on the tip of the prow.

Townsend Car Ferries

The original colour scheme carried by Captain Stuart Townsend’s Forde was black lowerworks, white superstructure, and buff funnel, which later became red. The arrival of Free Enterprise saw the adoption of a garish pea green hull, with a red pin stripe bordering white upperworks. Funnels were red and capped with black. This colour scheme was apparently inspired by the Cunard liner, Caronia. When Free Enterprise II came along, the legend ‘TOWNSEND’ appeared in sans serif red lettering, and the letter ‘T’ appeared on the bow visor.

Townsend Thoresen

For some years the fleets at Dover and Southampton operated in disparate colour schemes. A gradual shift towards Thoresen’s original combination of colours was adopted by Townsend vessels over some years. The title ‘TOWNSEND THORESEN’ was applied in white to all ships, though Townsend’s ‘Free Enterprise’ vessels kept their pea green hulls. These became a darker, almost turquoise colour, before finally conforming to Thoresen’s orange. They retained their red funnels even longer, although a ‘TTF’ emblem had appeared. This was applied in orange with a black outline.

‘Free Enterprise’ ferries eventually ended up with the green funnels that had been a feature at Southampton since 1964. However, it was evident that the hue used was darker. In 1984 the ‘TTF’ logo (presumably the ‘F’ denoted ‘Ferries’) was replaced by a stronger ‘TT’ white outline design. On Free Enterprise IV, for example, the ‘TT’ logo was implemented as an illuminated piece of signage which was very effective at night! On other units, it was simply painted on instead.
Whilst the consistency of the ‘TT’ logo was usually very tight, the manner in which the ‘TOWNSEND THORESEN’ legend on the hulls was applied left a lot to be desired: The typeface used never actually mirrored the official logotype used on Company stationary and shore based facilities. Instead, a very utilitarian looking font was used in varying proportions. It was possible to decipher sister ships through the inaccurate, and rather individual styles of the hull lettering! For example, Panther featured thinner, taller characters, whilst her twin, Tiger, had a fatter, squarer lettering.

In the aftermath of the loss of Herald of Free Enterprise in 1987, parent Company, P. & O. ordered the immediate removal of ‘TT’ from the funnels of the fleet: The logo had become the symbol of that catastrophic event in the history of Townsend Thoresen, having been very prominent in the pictures of the wreck that were broadcast all over the world. In its place came the return of the venerable P. & O. flag against pale blue (which had last been seen on the Channel less than two years previously when P. & O. Ferries had been sold to Townsend Thoresen!).

Trans-Europa Ferries

This firm has phased out its previous red hull colourings in favour of an all white scheme. Funnels are yellow and feature any one of various stylised monograms used by the company featuring the initials ‘TE’. The title ‘TRANS-EUROPA FERRIES’ is applied in a navy and red serif typeface to the superstructure or hull.

Transmanche Ferries

This small operator has an interesting colour scheme for its two Newhaven/Dieppe ships: An all yellow hull is bordered with the white superstructure by a navy band which is flat on Dieppe, whilst stylised into wave like patterns on Sardinia Vera. The title ‘TRANSMANCHE FERRIES’ is applied in navy in small proportions to the hull. A large circular motif featuring the letter ‘T’ in turquoise is applied across the hull and superstructure towards to bow end. A much smaller version appears on the yellow funnels.

Truckline Ferries

The original livery of this operator was all grey hull and funnels, with the legend ‘Truckline’ applied to the hull in yellow, bordered by a thick yellow stripe. A simplistic circular emblem was featured on the funnels in yellow too. When Brittany Ferries acquired the Poole/Cherbourg service in the 1980’s, it replaced the funnel markings with a bastardised version of its own: The circle motif was placed against a background of Brittany Ferries flag emblem in all yellow. The funnels were painted white. Three years after passenger sailings were opened in 1986, Tregastel introduced an all white hull in place of grey. The title ‘Truckline Ferries’ was applied in black with the yellow stripe. The Truckline Ferries livery was abandoned in 1999 in favour of the Brittany Ferries scheme.