MS Athena Cruise Ship before the White Cliffs of Dover, Port of Dover, Kent, UK

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John Latter on August 29, 2010

The MS Athena cruise ship entered Dover Harbour via the Eastern Entrance and is shown making its way across the Outer Harbour to the Admiralty Pier of the Western Docks where it will berth at CT1 (Cruise Terminal 1).

The tug is Dover Harbour Board's DHB Dauntless (DHB Doughty is out of shot to the right).

Below the White Cliffs of Dover on the left of the photo the Eastern Arm pier juts out from the Eastern Docks (the cross-channel ferry terminal, not in view). The Southern Breakwater brackets the other side of the Eastern Entrance, out-of-shot to the right.

The top of the Old South Foreland lighthouse, built in 1793, can just about be seen near the cliff edge.

This zoomed photo was taken at 12.39 pm on Friday, 20th of August, 2010, from near the Lighthouse and Cafe end of the Prince of Wales Pier (eastern side).

Other photos of the Athena taken today:

MS Athena Cruise Ship before the Southern Breakwater, Dover Harbour

The Athena, one of the oldest (if not the oldest) cruise ships still in service, arrived from Calais (France) and left later in the day for Newhaven (UK); at the time of writing (24th of August) the ship is off the north-west coast of Africa and is probably heading for the Canary Islands (she's due back in Dover on Friday, 3rd of September).

MS Athena, like the MS Princess Dapne, is a cruise ship owned and operated by Classic International Cruises of the World Cruises Agency. She was built in 1948 as the MS Stockholm by Götaverken in Gothenburg for the Swedish America Line (SAL). Since her career with SAL she has sailed under the names MS Völkerfreundschaft, MS Volker, MS Fridtjof Nansen, MS Italia I, MS Italia Prima, MS Valtur Prima and MS Caribe, before beginning service under her current name. (1)

As Stockholm she was best known for colliding with the SS Andrea Doria in 1956, resulting in the sinking of the latter ship:

On the night of July 25, 1956, at 11:10 PM, in heavy fog in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nantucket, the Stockholm and the Andrea Doria of the Italian Line collided in what was to become one of history's most famous maritime disasters. (1)

Although most passengers and crew survived the collision, the larger Andrea Doria luxury liner capsized and sank the following morning. Owing to the collision, 50% of the Andrea Doria's lifeboats were unusable. However, a number of ships responded and provided assistance, which averted a massive loss of life like that suffered by the RMS Titanic over 40 years earlier. (1) (also see the Charles Lightoller of 8 East Cliff, Dover photo)

Five crewmembers on the Stockholm were killed instantly and several more were trapped in the wrecked bow. Despite its having sunk about three feet (0.9 m), the crippled Stockholm helped in the rescue and ended up carrying 327 passengers and 245 crewmembers from the Andrea Doria, in addition to her own passengers and crew. After Andrea Doria sank, Stockholm sailed to New York City under her own power and arrived on July 27. The crushed bow portion was repaired at a cost of 1 million US dollars three months later. (1)

MS Athena Career (1)

Name: 1948 - 1960: MS Stockholm, 1960 - 1985: MS Völkerfreundschaft, 1985 - 1986: MS Volker, 1986 - 1993: MS Fridtjof Nansen, 1993 - 1994: MS Italia I, 1994 - 1998: MS Italia Prima, 1998 - 2002: MS Valtur Prima, 2002 - 2005: MS Caribe, 2005 - present: MS Athena

Owner: 1948 - 1960: Swedish America Line, 1960 - 1985: VEB Deutsche Seereederei, 1985 - 1989: Neptunus Rex Enterprises, 1989 - 1994: StarLauro, 1994 - 2002: Nina Cia. di Navigazione, 2002 - 2004: Festival Cruises, 2004 - present: Nina SpA

Operator: 1948 - 1960: Swedish America Line, 1960 - 1966: VEB Deutsche Seereederei, 1966 - 1985: VEB Deutsche Seereederei (summer seasons)/Stena Line (winter seasons), 1985 - 1994: laid up/rebuilt, 1994 - 1995:Nina Cia. di Navigazione, 1995 - 1998: Neckermann Seereisen, 1998: laid up, 1998 - 2001: Valtur Tourist, 2001 - 2002: laid up, 2002 - 2004: Festival Cruises, 2004 - 2005: laid up, 2005 - present: Classic International Cruises

Port of registry: 1948 - 1960: Gothenburg, Sweden, 1960 - 1985: Rostock, East Germany, 1985 - 1989: Panama City, Panama, 1989 - 2004: Naples, Italy, 2004 - present: Lisbon, Portugal Ordered: October 1944

Builder: Götaverken, Gothenburg, Sweden

Yard number: 611

Launched: 9 September 1946

Christened: 9 September 1946

Acquired: 7 February 1948

In service: 21 February 1948

Identification: Swedish Official Number 8926 (1948), Italian Official Number 1749 (1993)

Status: In service

General characteristics (as built) (1)

Type: Ocean liner

Tonnage: 12,165 GRT

Length: 160.08 m (525 ft 2 in)

Beam: 21.04 m (69 ft 0 in)

Draught: 7.90 m (25 ft 11 in)

Installed power: 2 × 8-cylinder Götaverken diesels, combined 12,000 hp (8,900 kW)

Speed: 17 kn (31.48 km/h)

Capacity: 390 passengers, 4,700 metric tons deadweight (DWT)

General characteristics (currently) (1) (2)

Type: Cruise ship

Tonnage: 15,614 GRT

Decks: 8

Installed power: 2 × Wärtsilä 16V32 diesels 14,300 hp (10,700 kW)

Speed: 19 kn (35.19 km/h)

Capacity: 556 passengers

Call Sign: CQRV

MMSI: 255801380

IMO number: 5383304

Click to see the official MS Athena webpage

Click to see all Cruise Ship photos (related tags: Boats, Ferries, Ships, Tugs, Workboats).

(1) Wikipedia entry for MS Athena (2) Marinetraffic entry for MS Athena

As an aside, its just been announced that The White Cliffs of Dover will feature on the new UK passport from October 2010 onwards: BBC (UK); Reuters (USA).

John Latter / Jorolat

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Until 2012, the MS Athena was operated by Classic International Cruises, as the Athena. In 2013, it was transferred to Portuscale Cruises and renamed MS Azores.

When in range of AIS, the vessel's current position is now shown at:

MS Azores

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and AIS Base stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

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Photo taken in 22-24 Lord Warden Square, Dover, Kent CT17 9EQ, UK

Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 25, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2010/08/20 12:39:14
    • Exposure: 0.004s (1/250)
    • Focal Length: 200.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/11.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash