Ferries and High Speed Craft in Ios on 24-26 July 2021
As I had also done back in 13 July 2017, when I went to the port to watch various high speed craft arriving and departing Ios, I once again headed there, once for the same occasion on 24 July 2021, and then again on 26 July 2021 just before our planned departure for Tinos.
I had arrived in Ios on 22 July 2021, just a day after having gone to Piraeus after having left Aegina with the ELENI of Kerkyra Seaways. We headed to Ios with the high speed ferry WORLDCHAMPION JET of Sea Jets. This was my third time traveling with this ship, as I had already done back-to-back trips on 20 September 2020, during which I spent a whole day in Syros. As such, I did not need to write a Tribute Post featuring her indoor and outdoor areas, as these were already covered in this Blog. Nevertheless, the WORLDCHAMPION JET is a key feature of this specific Blog post, as you will see later on.
Overall, in contrast with 2017 and 2018, the island of Ios, despite gaining more and more popularity and being visited by several tourists, its ferry connection has experienced a decline. Indeed, back in 2018, there were three high speed ferries connecting it with Heraklion (as well as the two conventional ferries of Golden Star Ferries at the time), against just one in 2021. Moreover, it only had three ferries serving it from Piraeus (against 7 in 2018), and just one from Rafina (against 3 in 2018). It maintains its presence on most of the inter-Cyclades services based in Lavrion and Syros, as well as its connection with the Lesser Cyclades during the summer, which is covered once a week by the EXPRESS SKOPELITIS of Small Cyclades Lines. As such, for shipping enthusiasts like myself who know the island well, this is a real problem that certainly needs to be addressed in the near future, as the island truly deserves a sound ferry connection like other prominent islands of the Cyclades (such as Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Naxos or Syros) have on a regular basis.
In spite of this, I was still able to see and photograph a few of the ships stopping by the island on a daily basis, and these pictures once again highlight the beauty of the island's port and landscape.
24 July 2021:
I went to the port of Ios at around 11:00 with two of my friends in order to see the ferries that would be arriving at the port during the middle of the day. We stayed on the hills over the port in order to have a better view. Just before noon, I saw the high speed ferry POWER JET of Sea Jets, which was arriving from Santorini.
A view of the POWER JET as she is seen sailing at full-speed towards the port of Ios. Built in 1996 in Australia, she was spending her second summer in Greece and under Sea Jets. She was bought by the latter in 2017, and underwent a refit that lasted three years. The latter was performed in Salamina and Chalkida. In her debut season she operated on the Heraklion-Santorini-Naxos-Paros-Mykonos line, while in 2021 the island of Ios was added to her itinerary, hence she was deployed on the Heraklion-Santorini-Ios-Naxos-Paros-Mykonos line.
The POWER JET seen as she is heading towards her docking spot in Ios. Since her introduction to service under Sea Jets, she became the company's main ship on the popular Heraklion-Cyclades service. She operated alongside the NAXOS JET, which was more dedicated to the shorter Heraklion-Rethymnon-Santorini-Naxos line.
The POWER JET seen heading towards her docking spot in Ios. The summer of 2021 proved to be a huge success for her, as she was transporting the most passengers from Heraklion to the Cyclades. With that, however, came many delays as there was too much congestion in the ports and it took significant time for so many passengers and vehicles to embark and disembark the ship in all ports. Nevertheless, this summer proved that the ship could offer reliable service, which only brought more revenue to Sea Jets.
The speedy POWER JET seen in Ios. Before arriving in Greece, she previously was on the Baltic Sea, where she began her career. She had been delivered in 1996 to the German company TT-Line GmbH, and operated under its TT-Clipper brandname on the Rostock-Trelleborg line as the DELPHIN, being later renamed TT-DELPHIN in 2002. She performed this service until 2005, when she was sold to the Egyptian company United Company for Marine Lines, who deployed her on the Hurgada-Duba line on the Red Sea as the ALMOTTAHEDAH 1 in 2006. She hence connected Egypt with Saudi Arabia. In 2012 she was laid-up in Hurgada due to her owners' financial problems, and she went on to stay there for 5 years, until her sale to Sea Jets.
A view of the POWER JET in Ios. She belongs to the Austal Auto Express 82-class, which consists of four high speed ferries built by the famed Austal Shipyard in Australia. These were delivered in 1996 and 1997 to four different shipping companies. The first one, the DELPHIN (the current POWER JET) was delivered to TT-Line GmbH in 1996. The second one was the FELIX, was delivered to the Danish company Scandlines in 1996, and began service on the Dragør-Limhamn line on the Øresund. She then operated as the FELIX E for the Spanish company Ferrymed on the Algeciras-Ceuta line from 2000 to 2001, before being sold to the Italian company SNAV in 2002, for whom she began operations as the CROAZIA JET on the Ancona-Split line on the Adriatic Sea. In 2015 she was sold to the Venezuelan company Conferry, and was deployed on the Guanta-El Guamache line on the Caribbean Sea. Her company experienced severe difficulties and as a result she was laid-up in El Guamache, where she has been languishing for three years. The third vessel, the BOOMERANG, was delivered in 1997 to the Polish company Polferries, and also served the Baltic Sea at the start of her career, being assigned on the Świnoujście-Malmö line. In 2011 she was sold to the Estonian giants Tallink, was renamed TALLINK AUTOEXPRESS 2, and served the Tallinn-Helsinki line on the Finnish. In 2008 she was sold to Conferry, retained her name, and was deployed on the Puerto La Cruz-Margarita line. She was then reunited with her sister ship, the CROAZIA JET, in 2015. But her company's serious financial issues saw her being laid-up in 2017 in Guanta. Being left in a terrible state, she began listing in 2018, and eventually sank in the port by 2021. Finally, the fourth vessel, the SUPERSTAR EXPRESS, was not delivered to a Northern European company, instead she joined the Malaysian company Star Cruises in 1997, and spent a year as the SUPERSTAR EXPRESS LANGKAWI on the Butterworth-Langkawi line on the Penang Strait. In 1998 she was chartered to P&O European Ferries, was again renamed SUPERSTAR EXPRESS, and was deployed on the Cherbourg-Portsmouth line on the Channel. In 2000 she joined P&O Irish Sea and operated on the Troon-Cairnryan-Larne line up until 2004. In 2005 she was sold to the Argentinian company Buquebus, was renamed AVEMAR DOS, and operated for the company's Spanish division on the Algeciras-Ceuta line, previously served by her sister ship, the ex-FELIX E. In 2008 she joined the Spanish company Baleària, for whom she continued to operate on the Algeciras-Ceuta line. In 2021 she was deployed on the Dénia-Ibiza line.
The POWER JET seen shortly before starting her maneuvering procedure. As indicated above, she and her sister ships have had very unusual paths, and very rarely found themselves in a stable service, with the exception of the AVEMAR DOS. The POWER JET has also seemed to find her place under Sea Jets, while the two other sister ships that went to Venezuela had a more unfortunate experience.
The POWER JET preparing to maneuver in Ios.
The POWER JET seen undergoing her maneuvering procedure in the port of Ios.
The POWER JET having completed her maneuvering procedure and now preparing to dock in Ios.
The POWER JET having just docked in Ios and now unloading passengers and vehicles.
Just a few moments after the POWER JET had docked in Ios, I saw her fleetmate, the WORLDCHAMPION JET, which had arrived from Naxos.
The impressive WORLDCHAMPION JET having arrived in Ios. Built in 2000 in Australia (also at the Austal Shipyard, just like the POWER JET), she began service for Sea Jets in 2019, as she was deployed on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini line. Her tremendous success there saw her extending her service to the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line in 2020, while in 2021 she was operating on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen in Ios. Since her introduction to service for Sea Jets, she has gone to have a stellar career on the Cyclades, and immediately became the fastest ship of the Greek coastal service. She quickly became a passenger favourite, and competed extremely well against companies like Blue Star Ferries, Golden Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways and Fast Ferries.
The POWER JET seen docked in Ios, right before her departure.
The amazing WORLDCHAMPION JET, on which I had traveled just two days before taking this picture, seen heading towards her docking spot in Ios.
In the meantime, her fleetmate, the POWER JET, began to leave the port of Ios.
The POWER JET seen maneuvering as she departs the port of Ios.
The POWER JET seen leaving the port of Ios in order to head towards Naxos.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen preparing to dock in Ios, now that the POWER JET has departed the port.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen about to head towards her docking spot in Ios. My trip with her on 22 July 2021 was the third one that I did, as the first two were from Piraeus to Syros and back on 20 September 2020.
A nice view of the WORLDCHAMPION JET, as seen from the entrance gate of the beautiful Church of Agia Eirini in Ios, which is one of the most recognisable churches of the Cyclades.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen in Ios, right before starting her maneuvering procedure. Just like the POWER JET, she first started her career in Northern Europe and on the Baltic Sea. She was originally the VILLUM CLAUSEN of the Danish company Bornholms Traffiken, and served the Rønne-Ystad line. At the time of her delivery in 2000, she was the fastest ferry in the world, even appearing in the Guinness Book of World Records for having performed the fastest crossing ever recorded by a passenger vessel. This record stood until 2013, when it was overtaken by the newly-built FRANCISCO of the Argentinian company Buquebus. In 2010, the ship's company saw itself merging with the Danish services of Scandlines, and therefore Bornholms Traffiken was renamed Bornholmer Færgen. She remained on the Rønne-Ystad line until 2018, when she was sold to Sea Jets.
The POWER JET seen leaving Ios in order to head to Naxos, from which the WORLDCHAMPION JET had just arrived from,
A nice picture featuring the WORLDCHAMPION JET and the POWER JET, which are the two ferries of Sea Jets that come from the famed Austal Shipyard. They were built four years apart, and the class of the WORLDCHAMPION JET, the Austal Auto Express 86-class, is considered to be an upgrade over the class of the POWER JET, which belongs to the Austal Auto Express 82-class. Sea Jets also has another ship built in the same shipyard, namely the passenger-only catamaran SIFNOS JET, which was built in 1999.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET and POWER JET seen together in Ios. They are two of the most recent introductions for Sea Jets, as the WORLDCHAMPION JET began service on the Cyclades in 2019, whereas the POWER JET was introduced in 2020. In addition, both vessels notably feature a race-car that is permanently exhibited in their atrium areas. The WORLDCHAMPION JET features a Minardi race-car that was used during the 2003 Forumal 1 season, and formerly driven by the now-retired Jos Verstappen (the father of Max Verstappen, who currently leads the standings of the 2021 Formula 1 season). The POWER JET features a rally car that was driven by the owner of Sea Jets, Marios Iliopoulos, who is known to be a racing enthusiast.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET and the POWER JET seen meeting up in the port of Ios.
The POWER JET seen leaving Ios, while the WORLDCHAMPION JET heads towards her docking spot.
The POWER JET seen as she is sailing away to Naxos.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen on her way to her docking spot in Ios, during her third season under Sea Jets.
A view of the POWER JET from the beautiful entrance gate of the Church of Agia Eirini in Ios.
One final view of the POWER JET, as she makes her trip to Naxos.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen right before beginning her maneuvering procedure in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen in Ios, now ready to start her maneuvering procedure.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen maneuvering in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET having quickly completed her maneuvering procedure and now ready to dock in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET preparing to dock in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET having docked in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen taking a quick rest in the port of Ios. As a further recognition for her services and her excellent first season in Greece, the high speed ferry was given the 'Ship of the Year' award given by Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards for 2019. As a result, she became the third ferry to win this prestigious prize, after the NISSOS MYKONOS of Hellenic Seaways (now the BLUE STAR MYCONOS of Blue Star Ferries) in 2006 and the NISSOS CHIOS, also of Hellenic Seaways (now the BLUE STAR CHIOS of Blue Star Ferries) in 2007.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET quickly unloaded the passengers and vehicles that were bound for Ios, loaded the new ones, and began departing the port in order to head to Santorini.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen as she departs the port of Ios in order to head to Santorini.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET undergoing a quick maneuvering procedure as she leaves the port of Ios.
The impressive WORLDCHAMPION JET now ready to sail towards Santorini from Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen as she now heads at full-speed from Ios to Santorini.
Only a few minutes after the WORLDCHAMPION JET had left Ios, I got to see the conventional ferry ARTEMIS of Hellenic Seaways approaching the bay where the port of Ios is located.
The ARTEMIS seen arriving in Ios, an island that she has been serving on a regular basis since 2015, when she was deployed by her company on the inter-Cyclades lifeline service based out of Lavrion, which is essentially the Lavrion-Kea-Kythnos-Syros-Tinos-Andros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Sikinos-Folegandros-Kimolos-Milos-Sifnos-Serifos line.
The beautiful ferry ARTEMIS is seen heading towards her docking spot in Ios. She has been operating on her current service since 2015, when she was assigned to fill the void left by NEL Lines, which was the company that had been serving the inter-Cyclades lifeline with two ships. As a result of the company's economic difficulties, all their vessels were arrested by their crews or by port authorities. As a result, the ARTEMIS, which was previously based on the Saronic Gulf, took over the service that had been covered by the AQUA JEWEL (owned by Sea Jets since 2017), and has since become an integral part of the Cyclades, serving as the lifeblood between almost all islands that she serves.
The ARTEMIS seen as she heads towards her docking spot in Ios. She was built in 1997 in Greece, and spent the first part of her career on the Saronic Gulf. She was initially known as the GEORGIOS 2 of Akouriki Shipping Company, and was operating on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros-Hydra-Spetses-Porto Cheli line. She continued to serve that line even after her company was absorbed by Minoan Flying Dolphins (which was renamed Hellas Flying Dolphins in 2002) following the 1999 season, and for whom she operated under the Saronikos Ferries division. After her company was rebranded as Hellenic Seaways in 2005, she was renamed ARTEMIS and continued to serve the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Methana-Poros-Hydra-Spetses line (2005-2007) and the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line (2008). In 2009 she was chartered to ANEK Lines and was deployed on the inter-Cyclades lifeline for the first time in her career, being assigned on the Lavrion-Kea-Kythnos-Syros-Tinos-Andros-Paros-Naxos-Donousa-Amorgos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios-Santorini-Thirassia-Anafi line for four seasons. After the completion of the 2012 season, she returned to Hellenic Seaways, and was deployed on the Volos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line on the Sporades in 2013. The following year she returned to the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Methana-Poros line, while in 2015 she returned to the inter-Cyclades service, as mentioned previously.
The ARTEMIS seen arriving in Ios, in what was her seventh consecutive season on the Cyclades, and eleventh overall season in the region.
The ARTEMIS seen arriving in Ios. In 2021, she was the only conventional ferry of Hellenic Seaways that was serving the Cyclades, although the ARIADNE did call ports such as Paros, Naxos and Santorini, as part of her itinerary on the Dodecanese.
The ARTEMIS seen in Ios, as she heads towards her docking spot. During her first stint on the Cyclades, she was one of three ferries that were deployed on the inter-Cyclades lifeline. Indeed, NEL Lines maintained two vessels there, namely the high speed ferry AEOLOS KENTERIS I in 2009, the high speed ferry AEOLOS KENTERIS II from 2009 to 2011, the AQUA JEWEL from 2010 to 2014, and the AQUA SPIRIT (which later also joined Sea Jets in 2016, before being sold in 2017 to the Canadian company BC Ferries) from 2011 to 2015. Since her departure in 2012, there have only been two ships. As of 2021, the other vessel serving the lifeline was the CALDERA VISTA of Sea Jets, which was operating on the Lavrion-Kea-Kythnos-Andros-Karystos-Tinos-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Donousa-Amorgos-Koufonisi-Schoinousa-Irakleia-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios-Thirassia-Santorini-Anafi line.
A view of the ARTEMIS in Ios, as she continues to head towards her docking spot. She has been a part of my childhood memories, during her time on the Saronic Gulf. Indeed, during the largest portion of the 2000s as well as 2014, I saw her many times in Piraeus and in Aegina, which is one of the two islands in which I spend a large part of my summer holidays in Greece, alongside Zakynthos. I also traveled with her a few times, possibly when she was operating as the GEORGIOS 2 as well (although I cannot remember this with certainty as I was too young and could not remember the trips that I did up until I turned 7 years old). My last trip with her was in 2007, when I was heading from Aegina to Piraeus.
The ARTEMIS seen as she heads towards her docking spot in the port of Ios.
The ARTEMIS seen shortly before her maneuvering procedure in Ios.
The ARTEMIS now seen maneuvering in Ios.
The ARTEMIS seen completing her maneuvering procedure in order to dock in the port of Ios.
The ARTEMIS seen as she is about to dock in the port of Ios.
The ARTEMIS seen docking in the port of Ios.
The ARTEMIS having just docked in Ios, and now taking a very quick rest.
The ARTEMIS seen docked in the port of Ios.
The ARTEMIS docked in Ios. She is now seen preparing for her departure to Sikinos.
The ARTEMIS seen in the port of Ios, shortly before her eventual departure for Sikinos.
The ARTEMIS having loaded most of her passengers and vehicles in Ios.
The ARTEMIS now seen departing the port of Ios.
The ARTEMIS seen leaving the port of Ios in order to head towards Sikinos.
One last view of the ARTEMIS as she is seen leaving the port of Ios. These were all the pictures that I took that day. I only saw three ships, but I had the chance to photograph them many times and within a beautiful landscape.
26 July 2021:
On 26 July 2021, I headed to the port of Ios alongside my friends as we were planning to leave the port in order to head to Tinos. This was done through a trip with the SUPEREXPRESS of Golden Star Ferries, which was the only high speed ferry that connected both islands on a daily basis. As we arrived quite early in the port, I noticed the small high speed boat MAÏSTROS of the Santorini Boatmen Union maneuvering in Ios.
The stern of the MAÏSTROS seen in Ios. She maneuvered several times around the port before she finally got to dock.
The MAÏSTROS seen maneuvering in Ios. This was her second consecutive summer operating on Santorini-Anafi-Ios-Sikinos-Folegandros line, which became a subsidised service in 2020.
At the same time as I was seeing the MAÏSTROS, the WORLDCHAMPION JET had arrived in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen on her way towards her docking spot in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen arriving in Ios, alongside the MAÏSTROS.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET and the MAÏSTROS seen together in Ios. Both ships were introduced to Greek waters in 2019. Indeed, the WORLDCHAMPION JET spent her first season in Greece that year, after having been bought by Sea Jets. The MAÏSTROS, on the other hand, was built in 2019, being the most recent newbuilding of the Santorini Boatmen Union.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen approaching her docking spot in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen in Ios, shortly before she underwent her maneuvering procedure.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen maneuvering in Ios. As indicated previously, she belongs to the Austal Auto Express 86-class, which is composed of seven sister ships delivered between 1998 and 2004. The class includes the TURGUT ÖZAL and the ADNAN MENDERES, both delivered in 1998 to the Turkish company İstanbul Deniz Otobüsleri (İDO), and deployed on the İstanbul-Bandırma line on the Marmara Sea. The TURGUT ÖZAL was sold in 2019 to the Greek company Fast Ferries, and began service for them in 2021 on Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos line on the Cyclades as the THUNDER. They were followed by the JONATHAN SWIFT, which was delivered to the Irish company Irish Ferries in 1999 and served on the Holyhead-Dublin line on the Irish Sea until her sale to the Spanish company Baleària in 2018, for whom she began service as the CECILIA PAYNE. Later in 1999, the CARMEN ERNESTINA was delivered to the Venezuelan company Conferry, and, together with the LILIA CONCEPCIÓN which was delivered in 2002, they were deployed on the Puerto La Cruz-Margarita line. However, just like their fleetmates that were also built in the Austal Shipyard, they were laid-up in Puerto La Cruz in 2017 due to Conferry's poor financial situation, and they have been languishing ever since. Between the two ships, the WORLDCHAMPION JET, then known as the VILLUM CLAUSEN, was delivered to Bornholms Traffiken in 2000. Finally, the SPIRIT OF ONTARIO I was delivered in 2004 to Canadian American Transportation Systems for a service on the Rochester-Toronto line on Lake Ontario. She was sold in 2007 to the German company Förde Reederei Seetouristik (FRS), was renamed TANGER JET II, and was deployed under the FRS Iberia division on the Tarifa-Tangier Med line on the Gibraltar Strait. In 2012 she returned to the parent FRS division and joined the newly-created Kattegat-Ruten division, was renamed DOLPHIN JET, and operated on the Aarhus-Kalundborg line on the Kattegat from 2012 to 2013. That year she was sold to Conferry, and reunited with her sister ships as the VIRGEN DE COROMOTO on the Puerto La Cruz-Margarita line. She has however suffered the same fate as her fleetmates, as she has remained laid-up in Puerto Cabello since 2018. As such, out of the seven ships, only four remain active as of 2021.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen undergoing her maneuvering procedure in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET completing her maneuvering procedure in the port of Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET completing her maneuvering procedure in Ios, after having arrived from Naxos.
The MAÏSTROS now also seen approaching the dock of Ios.
The MAÏSTROS seen arriving in the port of Ios. When she was built in 2019, she spent her first summer on the Santorini-Nea Kameni-Palaia Kameni-Anafi-Ios line. She has two sister ships and fleetmates, built in 2013 and 2015, respectively: the GARBIS and the SANTORINI.
The MAÏSTROS seen in Ios. Her company, the Santorini Boatmen Union, has been providing a wide range of services based in Santorini, from bringing passengers of cruise ships to shore, to excursions and visits in the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Palaia Kameni and other islands of the Cyclades, to mooring services and fixed itineraries.
The MAÏSTROS seen maneuvering in Ios.
A view of the MAÏSTROS as she is undergoing her maneuvering procedure in Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET having docked in Ios and seen loading new passengers and vehicles.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen in Ios, shortly before her subsequent departure to Santorini.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET now seen leaving Ios.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen departing the port of Ios in order to head to Santorini.
One last view of the WORLDCHAMPION JET as she leaves Ios for Santorini.
The MAÏSTROS having docked in Ios.
The MAÏSTROS now seen departing the port of Ios.
The MAÏSTROS seen maneuvering as she leaves the port of Ios.
The MAÏSTROS seen leaving Ios in order to head to Sikinos.
Almost an hour later, I saw the high speed ferry SUPEREXPRESS of Golden Star Ferries arriving in Ios.
The SUPEREXPRESS seen arriving in Ios, in what was her third year under Golden Star Ferries. This was her first summer operating on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos-Paros-Ios-Santorini line, which she took over from her former fleetmate, the SUPERRUNNER, which was sold to Sea Jets in 2021 and was renamed SUPERRUNNER JET.
The impressive SUPEREXPRESS seen arriving in Ios. Her season was considered extremely successful, and she was praised by many for her excellent service and her amenities.
The SUPEREXPRESS seen arriving in Ios, right before beginning her maneuvering procedure. She was bought in 2018, under a co-ownership status between Golden Star Ferries and Fast Ferries. Initially renamed GOLDEN EXPRESS, she was instead renamed SUPEREXPRESS in 2019 when Fast Ferries left the agreement and the ship was placed under the ownership of Golden Star Ferries. She spent her first season on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Mykonos-Tinos-Andros-Rafina line.
A view of the SUPEREXPRESS right before she started her maneuvering procedure in Ios. Before arriving in Greece, she had a lengthy career in Europe, and operated for several owners. She was built in 1998, also in Australia, but in the Incat Shipyard, which went on to build several high speed craft that were subsequently bought by Greek ferry companies. She began service as the CATALONIA L for the Argentinian company Buquebus, and operated on their Western Mediterranean services. Between 2000 and 2004, she would alternate her services during the year, spending time under charter to P&O European Ferries under their P&O Portsmouth division as the PORTSMOUTH EXPRESS on the Cherbourg-Portsmouth line on the Channel over the summer, while continuing her services as the CATALONIA under Buquebus over the winter. She was eventually bought by P&O Portsmouth in 2004 and resumed service on the Cherbourg-Portsmouth line as the EXPRESS. In 2005 she was transferred to the P&O Irish Sea division and served the Troon-Cairnryan-Larne line, until 2015 when her company decided to end this service. She was then sold to the Swedish company Gotlandsbåten in 2016, and had an unsuccessful spell on the Västervik-Visby-Nynäshamn line. She was subsequently chartered in 2017 to the Finnish company Viking Line, being deployed on the Tallinn-Helsinki line. The following year she was chartered to the Spanish company Naviera Armas and she was inserted on the Los Cristianos-San Sebastián de La Gomera-Valle Gran Rey line on the Canary Islands Archipelago. After her charter was completed, she was sold to Golden Star Ferries.
The SUPEREXPRESS seen in Ios, just before starting her maneuvering procedure. She became the fourth high speed craft to join the company. However, she is now the sole ship of her type that continues to operate for them, as the other three were sold to Sea Jets in 2021.
The SUPEREXPRESS seen maneuvering in Ios.
The SUPEREXPRESS seen in Ios as she undertakes her maneuvering procedure. Just like the WORLDCHAMPION JET, one of her main rivals, the SUPEREXPRESS also made history at the start of her career thanks to her speed. Indeed, she earned the Blue Riband Challenge Trophy (also known as the Hales Trophy) for having made the fastest Eastbound Atlantic Ocean crossing, while performing her delivery voyage from New York to Ceuta, just before starting her operations under Buquebus. Her record however lasted just six weeks, as it was then surpassed by her younger sister ship, the CAT-LINK V of Scandlines (now the SKÅNE JET of FRS).
The SUPEREXPRESS seen maneuvering in Ios. She is one of four sister ships that belong to the Incat 91m WPC-class, which were delivered in 1997 and 1998. The first ship was the DEVIL CAT, which was leased to the Australian company TT-Line for service on the Melbourne-George Town line on the Bass Strait from late 1997 to early 1998. Later in that year she was sold to the Canadian company Bay Ferries (now Bay Ferries Limited), was renamed THE CAT, and was inserted on the Bay Harbor-Yarmouth line on the Gulf of Maine. In 2002 she was sold to the New Zealandian company Interisland Line (which was renamed Interislander in 2004), and operated as the INCAT 046 on the Wellington-Picton line on the Cook Strait. Her spell there was unsuccessful, and she was sold back to Bay Ferries in 2003, which chartered her to the Trinidadian state-owned company Trinidad and Tobago Inter-Island Ferry Service. She was deployed on the Port of Spain-Scarborough line on the Caribbean Sea, and was eventually bought by the company in 2006, being renamed T&T EXPRESS. She was laid-up in 2018, and was then sold to the Spanish company Trasmapi in 2021. However, on her way back to Europe, she sank on the Atlantic Ocean. The second ship was the current SUPEREXPRESS, delivered to Buquebus in 1998. A few days later, Scandlines received the third ship and the fourth ship of the class, namely the CAT-LINK IV and the CAT-LINK V, respectively. Both ships were deployed on the Aarhus-Kalundborg line on Kattegat, until they were acquired only a year later by the fellow Danish company Mols-Linien (known as Molslinjen since 2017), and were renamed MAX MOLS and MADS MOLS, respectively. They were deployed on the Aarhus-Odden line. While the MADS MOLS remained on the line until 2005, the MAX MOLS would spent the summer under charter to various companies, including the Canadian company Marine Atlantic in 2000, the Latvian company Riga Sea Line in 2002, and P&O Ferries in 2004, operating on the Caen-Portsmouth line under the latter. After her charter was completed she returned to the Aarhus-Odden line, where she remained until 2018, when she was deployed on the Rønne-Ystad line as the MAX under Bornholmslinjen, hence taking over the service left by the current WORLDCHAMPION JET. Finally, the MADS MOLS was sold in 2005 and was renamed INCAT 049, being only reactivated a year later under the Norwegian company Master Ferries, which renamed her MASTER CAT and deployed her on the Hanstholm-Kristiansad line on the Skagerrak. In 2008 her services were merged under the Norwegian company Fjord Line, and she was renamed FJORD CAT. She operated on the Hirtshals-Kristiansad line until 2020, when she was sold to FRS. She was renamed SKÅNE JET and was deployed on the Sassnitz-Ystad line.
The SUPEREXPRESS now seen maneuvering the port of Ios, during the first season in which she operated on the Cyclades out of Rafina.
The SUPEREXPRESS completing her maneuvering procedure in order to dock in Ios. In 2021, Golden Star Ferries only operated three ships: the SUPEREXPRESS, the SUPERFERRY and the SUPERFERRY II. This was due to them having sold the SUPERRUNNER, the SUPERCAT and the SUPERSPEED to Sea Jets just before the summer season began. The SUPERFERRY II also joined Sea Jets a few days ago, having been renamed SUPERSTAR.
The SUPEREXPRESS now preparing to dock in Ios.
The SUPEREXPRESS having now docked in Ios. Only a few hours after taking this picture, I found myself traveling onboard her, while heading from Ios to Tinos. This marked the second time that I traveled with a high speed craft of Golden Star Ferries, as the first one had been with the SUPERRUNNER on 17 June 2018, also while departing from Ios, even though that time I had traveled to Mykonos.
The SUPEREXPRESS seen docked in Ios, just before her departure for Santorini.
One last view of the SUPEREXPRESS in Ios.
This therefore marks the end of my post, with the pictures taken on 26 July 2021 serving as a prelude to the trip that I went on to have with the SUPEREXPRESS. Overall, it was really nice to take pictures of well-known ships from such a nice spot on such a beautiful island. While I did not see that many ships, I was nevertheless happy to see some of the main protagonists of the Cyclades, from the top high speed craft of the Greek coastal service to reliable local vessels such as the ARTEMIS and the smaller MAÏSTROS. I will however reiterate that the island deserves to have more ferry connections, just like it did from 2017 to 2019. This is essential considering that the levels of tourism in Greece are on the rise again, with the Cyclades Islands being projected to have even higher amounts of visitors in 2022. That way, I will also be able to see and photograph even more ships serving this beautiful island.