A period postcard view of the M/V Shanklin, not sure of the location. For a large view of the above shot click here.
Details of the M/V Shanklin
Built: William Denny & Brothers, Dumbarton
The M/V Shanklin was the last of three vessels built for the Portsmouth - Ryde, Isle of Wight passenger service, the other two similar vessels were the Southsea & Brading. These vessels had been built to cover the loss of two paddle steamers sunk during 1941 after striking mines. They proved very popular with crew & passengers alike with their higher speed, their greater passenger capacity (up to 1,330 passengers) and their ability to remain in service in poor weather due to being fitted with radar.
Despite the short journies made by the three ships, they travelled through very busy shipping lanes. On May 13th 1960 several people were thrown into the sea when the Brading collided with an Admiralty Launch in Portsmouth Harbour, four people were drowned.
Although very successful the three passenger ferries were later challenged by the increasing use of car ferries sailing to the Isle of Wight from Portsmouth & Southampton. Passenger improvements included the fitting of a spar deck during 1967 providing more seating area.
Of the three ships the Shanklin proved to be the least reliable and was the first to be sidelined, frequently relegated to relief & stand-by use. This state of affairs could be traced back to her construction - the Southsea & Brading had been built with SLM gearboxes & clutches for reversing, by the time the Shanklin was ordered a shortage of foreign currency necessitated another option. A Sulzer reversing diesel was chosen for use in the Shanklin, proving to be a quiet engine but prone to more stress becausing of its reversing gear.
By the late 1970's the Shanklin was frequently out of service. For 1979 an enclosed saloon was added underneath the spar deck and fibre glass panels were added as windbreaks to the spar deck railings, the added comfort for the passengers was offset by a worsening of the ship's handling. These changes for the 1979 cruise season were short lived, in March 1980 the Shanklin was laid-up with unreliable machinery. Sealink, the owners of Shanklin were just able to meet their operational needs with the Southsea & Brading, no doubt they were happy to avoid expensive engine repairs on the Shanklin.
The Shanklin was sold in November 1980 to the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society which operated the Clyde paddle steamer Waverley. The Shanklin would be a back-up and be used on other cruising opportunities. The Shanklin was renamed the Prince Ivanhoe for these new duties.
During the summer of 1981 the Prince Ivanhoe was set up for a series of cruises in the Bristol Channel. On August 2nd 1981 the ship was used on a Penarth - Lundy excursion, the next day whilst working a Swansea - Mumbles trip it hit an uncharted object off Port Eynon beach, tearing a sixty foot gash in the hull. The Bristol channel pilot had been at the helm at the time of the impact, the captain Mr David Neill quickly took control and beached the rapidly sinking vessel in order to give the passengers the best opportunity of escape. The ship sank with the deck still above water. Although no lives were lost in the evacuation to terra firma, one passenger later suffered a fatal heart attack. The Price Ivanhoe was quickly declared a total loss.
Fate of the Southsea & Brading
After the end of the 1986 season the remaining two ships were taken out of service, the Portsmouth - Ryde service now operated by catamaran type vessels recently obtained by the new owners Sea Containers Ltd. The Brading was cannibalised for spare parts and sold for static use at Hull. The Southsea was retained by Sea Containers as a heritage vessel for occasional use. This proved to be a short lived opportunity, by 1989 the Southsea was laid up again! The ship passed through several owners and locations in the ensuing years, by early 2002 it was rusting away in Newport, South Wales. The ship returned to the Portsmouth area and then on to a Southampton area berth during April 2003. The intent was to repair the ship and use it as a floating restaurant. This plan also fell through, the Southsea was sold to Danish shipbreakers and completed its final voyage during March 2005, to Esbjerg for scrapping.
Page added August 24th 2005