A tranquil scene featuring Penn-Ar-Bed in the Solent.
Image: © Rik Furnival.

This was Brittany Ferries’ first purpose built ferry and indicated how little tourist traffic was anticipated by the Company at that time. She entered service on Plymouth/Roscoff in 1974 and carried just 250 passengers. It was soon realised how inadequate she was to cope with the amount of holidaymakers wishing to use the service. The emphasis had remained on the original concept of carrying freight. Even the next new building that followed her, Cornouailles, was woefully short of passenger capacity and it has been interesting to see that all subsequent vessels on the route have been second hand, such was the inability to build to demand. Penn-Ar-Bed was sold after ten years on the Channel and headed to Greek Waters under the new name of Princess M. She has since changed hands several times and was last recorded in Saudi Arabian ownership.

M. S. Penn-Ar-Bed
Builder: Soc. Nouvelle des At. & Ch. de la Rochelle-Pallice, France.
Yard number: 1,212
Dimensions (length, breadth, depth): 103.85 x 17.51 x 4.45 metres.
Tonnages (gross, net, dead weight): 2,891, 2,642.
Engines: Two 12 cylinder, Pielstick diesel.
Power: 5,884 kW.
Speed (knots): 18.5.
Passenger certificate: 250.
Car capacity: 235.

17.5.1973: Launched.
19.1.1974: Delivered to Brittany Ferries S. A., Morlaix.
24.1.1974: Entered service Roscoff/Plymouth.
27.8.1975: St. Malo/Plymouth summer service.
4.1984: Sold to Rolf Erikson, Strömstad. Renamed Sveno Marina.
10.1984: Sold to Marlines, Piraeus, Greece. Renamed Princess M.
12.1989: Sold to Alimar S. R. L. Naples, Italy. Renamed Lilly R.
1995: Sold to Spatalisano, Italy. Chartered to Italferries.
5.1996: Renamed Princess.
3.1998: Sold to Naif Marine Services, Dubai. Renamed Jebel Ali.
2000: Sold to Mohamed Hamdan Abdulla, Dubai. Renamed Jabal Ali 1.