FORGOTTEN SISTER
The Zenobia Story
The Zenobia was the lead ship in the trio of 'Challenger' class ro-ro vessels, and was delivered by Kockums in Malmö in late 1979 to her owners Rederi AB Nordö. The ship entered service on the Volos (Greece) to Tartous (Syria) run of the Greece-Syria Express Line where she joined the existing Scandinavia (which some years later became Ventouris' Saturnus and then the Greenfield) and the Falster (ex-Prince de Bretagne, later the Vega and a ship which had nearly met her own early demise when the bow section of the ship capsized during the ship's stretching in 1977). The latter pair were soon replaced by the Zenobia's newly-delivered sisterships. In January 1980, the ships' route was extended with Koper in what was then Yugoslavia replacing Volos.

Early in the morning of 2 June 1980, as the ship neared the end of a Koper-Tartous trip, the ship ran into trouble off the harbour of Larnaca in Cyprus. The ship developed a serious list of as much as 40 degrees but efforts over the next five days looked likely to save her. However ultimately she sank at about 2 am on June 7. The wreck lies at a depth of 42 metres, approximately 1.5 kilometres off Larnaca.

The most popular theory for the ship's sinking surrounds her computerised ballasting system, which appears to have developed a fault. A maintenance team was apparently sent aboard to fix this problem and the list was successfully reduced to as little as two degrees. However she later listed again to port, her cargo shifted and the
Zenobia was lost.

The
Zenobia is now considered one of the world's top ten wrecks for diving.
e-mail: matt@hhvferry.com
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Above and below: Three further views of the Zenobia whilst being completed (above) and in dry dock just prior to delivery (below).
Above: The Zenobia (right) alongside her sister Ariadne (later Fiesta/Seafrance Cézanne) at the ships' builders in Malmö.
Below: A series of pictures of the stricken Zenobia in the lead-up to her sinking in June 1980.