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Ronnie Roberts collection


Built as a multi-purpose train ferry from the same design as the Vortigern and the Saint Eloi in 1975, the Chartres began her life on winter train ferry services from Dunkerque to Dover. Peak season activities concentrated on sailings from Calais to Dover and Folkestone.


She found herself on the Holyhead - Dun Laoghaire service in lieu of the Stena Cambria during November 1992.

One year later she was sold to Greece's Agapitos Express Ferries and renamed Express Santorini.


A crankshaft failure in July 2006 caused much disruption to services between Piraeus - Paros - Naxos - Ios and Santorini, but there was one bright side. When it became apparant that the Express Santorini would miss the busiest time of the year Hellas Ferries reactivated the Express Aphrodite (ex-St Columba). Having been laid up since the end of the 2005 season, the 'Aphrodite' was first drydocked at Perama's floating dock before taking up the schedules to the Greek Islands.


The Express Santorini was chartered by Atlantico Line in 2007 to operate in the Azores between the islands of Faial, Pico and Sao Jorge, until 30 September. This summer charter continued each year until 2014 when she was sold to Portucalence Shipping for further service in the Azores. She was was sold late in 2016 to Emirati company SAMC, taking the name Al Salmy 4.

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