Suilven Sails on
Ex CalMac and Strait Shipping's Suilven made her last sailing from Wellington to Nelson on the morning of 26 March 2004, and returned to Wellington on 27th March for lay-up at Aotea Quay whilst air-conditioning units were fitted.
She was sold to Bligh Water Shipping, of Suva, Fiji, a new shipping company with no previous ships. They are to trade as Suilven Shipping, and that name was painted on the port side of the ship in large white letters to replace the previous Strait Shipping logo.
Her registry was changed from Wellington to Suva on 16th April 2004, and she sailed from Wellington as Suilven in the late afternoon of 16th April 2004 on a five day voyage to Suva. She is to retain her name Suilven an will not be renamed.
She was initially planned to sail with up to four hundred passengers on a regular service between Suva (on Viti Levu), Savusavu (on Vanua Levu) and the island of Taveuni, about 150 kilometres east of Savusavu. Other routes may be also considered later.
Eilean Mhor (note name change from Eilean Mor)
Eilean Fraoich II
Eielean Fraoich II and Lochfyne
The above photos were taken on the 16th April 2004. A few hours later, Suva had been painted as port of registry under her name at the stern. Clearly visible still on her sides are the raised Caledonian MacBrayne lettering.
SUILVEN first arrived at Wellington on 13 October 1995, and operated across Cook Strait between Wellington and Picton for many years. When Strait Shipping purchased the French ferry SANTA REGINA in late 2002, SUILVEN transferred to their Wellington to Nelson service.
She was always regarded as a good looking ship, unlike some of the modern versions!
Article Written: 2002
Text Thanks To Captain Mike Pryce, Wellington, New Zealand.
2 June 2020