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The pretty SAPPHO at Piraeus. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1997.


I recall seeing the sleek MV SAPPHO on many occasions in Piraeus during the 1990s, her handsome black topped blue funnel (very reminiscent of Blue Funnel Lines livery) towering over an immaculately white hull.

The 6,916 gt vessel was built as the SPERO for Ellerman Lines by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead in 1966 for the London to Gothenberg run. She had a modern, but well-balanced profile with a single midships funnel and could carry 408 passengers at a service speed of 18 knots.

The SPERO was fitted out with wonderful wood fittings and furniture, although she was built in the emerging "plastic age". Like many British built ships in the 1960s, she was a tad behind the times, which in retrospect made her all the more lovely. When she became NEL Line's SAPPHO for Piraeus to Lesvos ferry service in 1972, most of her interiors were kept intact.

She was sold for service between Kenya and Tanzania as the SANTORINI 3 in 2002, but ended up on the beach at Alang in January of 2004 as the SANTORI.

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