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Leopard

Ally

Deckhand
The Leopard is one of the ships featured in my signature, I travelled aboard her from Southampton to Casablanca & back as a child in the early 1970's. I was too young to really take alot of notice as to what she was like back then, but have found her history, which sadly ends up in the scrapheap 5 years ago.

She was launched in 1968, originally to do the Southampton to Le Havre ferry route. She had a twin sister, Dragon, and both flew the French flag, being owned/operated at the time by P&O's French arm, Normandy Ferries.

Leopard also did the Southampton to Casablanca run, along with Southampton to Lisbon too.

She was sold to Townsend Thoreson in 1985, then sold again in 1986 to Marlines and renamed Countess M. Her tenure lasted until 2000 when she was laid up for a couple of years until 2002 when she was renamed Talya I and placed onto the Brindisi to Cesme route.

Unfortunately she fell foul of Greek authorities in 2003 and was scrapped in 2004.

Below as Leopard and as she was shortly before scrapping as Talya I...
leopard.jpg
talyaI.jpg
 

Neil

Deckhand
Photos below of Leopard in Townsend Thoreson colours just before she was sold to Marlines in 1986 and another photo from when she was sailing as Countess M for the Greek company Marlines.

It would appear that Marlines added an extra forward deck area below her bridge and also rebuilt her stern deck areas.
Leopard_2-3-1986.jpg
Countess M01.jpg
 

Ally

Deckhand
She was one of the few ferries that didn't actually look like a ferry. She was quite sleek in her lines...before the bits got added onto her, and then she really did take on the look of a ferry.
 

Neil

Deckhand
With her doing the Lisbon run I think the idea was to make her look more like a small cruise ship and a bit upmarket when compared with what Fred Olsen was running at that time as ferries to the Canary Islands.

mv Eagle, which was built for the P & O group Southern Ferries, and also ran down to Lisbon, did look more like a ferry.

She has now spent more years as a cruise ship than she was in service as a ferry !

There was talk at one time of extending the Southern Ferries services to Maderia, but mv Eagle was sold before it was started.

They did produce a brochure for the new service and I think I still have a copy for a ferry service which was not to be !
 

Australis

Deckhand
One of my favourite ferries. I remember staring at here for quite some time while she was laid up near Piraeus. Sadly, her next trip was her last one... to the scrapyard.
The best feauture of her conversion in Greece, was the balcony with the pool at the bow. Imagine the view...
If interested there are some pictures of her in Greek waters here.
 

Ally

Deckhand
I wish I could remember more about what she was like on the Southampton to Casablanca run that I took as a child a few times...my aunt & uncle had a winter home in Casablanca and we used to go stay there in the school holidays.

Such a shame to know that she is gone, but tbh I am also amazed that she stayed in service for so long too as many from her era were disposed of years before.
 

Neil

Deckhand
Having been doing a little more research in to the ' Leopard ' I am so far at a brick wall.

I have discovered though that her sister ship which was named ' Dragon ' also finished up under Greek ownership.

In 2002 when she was named Millineum ll she was sold to start a new service.

On her delivery voyage a fire started in the engine room and large areas inside the ship were burnt out and she was towed back to Piraeus.

In April 2003 she was towed to Aliaga in Turkey and scrapped.

Photo of the damaged ship below -
09l.jpg
Millenium Express ll Ex Dragon.jpg
 

Ant

Deckhand
Having been doing a little more research in to the ' Leopard ' I am so far at a brick wall.

I have discovered though that her sister ship which was named ' Dragon ' also finished up under Greek ownership.

In 2002 when she was named Millineum ll she was sold to start a new service.

On her delivery voyage a fire started in the engine room and large areas inside the ship were burnt out and she was towed back to Piraeus.

In April 2003 she was towed to Aliaga in Turkey and scrapped.

Photo of the damaged ship below -
View attachment 18482View attachment 18483
 

Ant

Deckhand
Hi just found this forum sorry a real newbie at this sort of thing , I didn't have the pleasure of going on the dragon ferry but making it up now buy building a 80 inch replica great to hear how lovely she was !!! A real beauty
 
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