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THE HORSA STORY: PART TWO - GREEK ISLAND HOPPING
matt@hhvferry.com
Stena Horsa was quickly bought by Agoudimos Lines, leaving lay-up in February 1992 for Greece. Emerging after refit as the Penelope A, the ship settled into operations out of Rafina through to Mykonos. The expansion of Minoan Flying Dolphins (Hellas Ferries) did not bypass Agoudimos, and the Horsa and her operation was purchased, the ship being re-united after 1999 with her former sisters Hengist and Senlac in this fleet, her name being amended to Express Penelope in line with Hellas' policy.

Hellas Ferries' decline was as rapid as their emergence, and the ship was somewhat surprisingly sold in early 2004 back to her previous owners, Agoudimos, once again being renamed
Penelope A. She continued to operate out of Rafina, only now in competition with Hellas Ferries (latterly Hellenic Seaways) until that company subsequently abandoned conventional operations from the port. Having sold both the former Hengist and Horsa to competitors, HSW would not repeat this mistake and the subsequent disposals of the Express Adonis, Express Apollon, Express Aprhodite, Express Olympia and Express Poseidon were either directly for scrap or to non-competing operators with clauses for no onward sale included. In the early years of the century, the 35-year (and falling) age limit for domestic Greek ferries cast a shadow over the Penelope A's future but she benefitted from a relatively large refurbishment before the 2005 season. Just in time, the rule was thankfully abolished and she remains in operation for Agoudimos on the only Greek route she has ever served, remaining popular particularly with islanders. More modern competition began to slightly put the ship in the shade however and her owners may opt to upgrade their operation in due course although, with older and smaller ships in use in the fleet elsewhere, whether that will be the end for the Penelope A is open to question.
ABOVE: Express Penelope in Rafina, April 2001, showing the considerable additional superstructure added at the stern since moving to Greece.
ABOVE: Another view of Express Penelope, with the 'HF' logo missing from the funnel. (Photo courtesy David Baker)
ABOVE: Creeping into Andros in July 2004 is the Penelope A - this was her first season back under Agoudimos Lines control and despite offering only a one-ship service she proved a tough competitor for Hellas Ferries who lined up with sister Express Apollon (ex-Senlac) and Express Aphrodite (ex-St Columba).
ABOVE: Penelope A during turn-around at Mykonos in July 2004.
ABOVE & BELOW: Penelope A seen during her annual overhaul in Piraeus in early March 2005. At this stage the ship received repairs to her upper bows to fix a large dent received when she was involved in a collision with another ship in Rafina in December the previous year. Pictures courtesy Nikos Thrylos
BELOW: A series of pictures of Penelope A taken during the 2005 Summer season. Pictures courtesy Lucas Latreche
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BELOW: Penelope A in dry dock in Piraeus in April 2006. Picture courtesy Nikos Thrylos
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ABOVE & BELOW: Two views of the Penelope A during the Summer of 2006. Pictures courtesy Lucas Latreche
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BELOW: The Penelope A seen arriving at Tinos in July 2007.