A much-loved Australian ferry will make her final journey and be reduced to scrap metal in Turkey after it was left abandoned at a Greek port for over six years.
The Abel Tasman, which was renamed Theofilos after it was purchased by Greek company Ventouris Ferries in 1994, formerly ferried passengers in Tasmania.
The ferry made her debut in Devonport in 1985, but hasn’t been used commercially since 2015.
The Abel Tasman, which was renamed Theofilos after it was purchased by Greek company Ventouris Ferries in 1994, formerly ferried passengers in Tasmania
Two explorers who paddled out to the abandoned ferry in March, 2020, on an inflatable canoe, captured eerie footage from inside.
The pair stumbled upon faded, art-deco style furniture, dining room tables and chairs, and many posters featuring the once-celebrated vessel, which boasted a sauna when it ferried passengers between Tasmania and the mainland.
Their exploring was interrupted when they realised they weren’t alone on the ship, with the barks of a dog alerting them to the presence of a security guard.
The security guard was sleeping on the abandoned ship.
The security guard quickly kicked the men off the abandoned ship, and warned them they were not allowed to be on board.
The Abel Tasman sailed across the Bass Strait between Devonport and Melbourne for eight years between 1985 to 1993, with the route quickly gaining popularity.
Two explorers who paddled out to the abandoned ferry in March, 2020, on an inflatable canoe captured eerie footage from inside its abandoned rooms
The pair stumbled upon faded, art-deco style furniture, dining room tables and chairs and a litany of posters featuring the once-celebrated vessel
The boat eventually increased the voyages to six weekly overnight crossings and heralded the beginning of the TT-Line services across the strait.
News of the ferry’s last voyage to Turkey has been received by Tasmanians with heavy hearts, as locals recall fond memories of the ship.
Despite the ship not sailing on Australian waters for over three decades, residents expressed their regret at the iconic boat being reduced to scraps.
‘My husband proposed to me on it, in the middle of Bass Strait!’ a woman told the ABC, after the publication announced the news.
The ship once boasted a sauna when it ferried passengers between Tasmania and the mainland
The ship once boasted a sauna when it ferried passengers between Tasmania and the mainland, estimated to be about a nine hour journey (pictured, seats on the Abel Tasman)
News of the ferry’s last voyage to Turkey has been received by Tasmanians with heavy hearts, as locals recall fond memories of the ship (pictured, a dining area on the Abel Tasman)
‘Played aboard with my band Wild Pumpkins at Midnight in exchange for our fares to Melbourne on our first mainland tour in 1986… there was lots of rolling, and we couldn’t stand to play double bass!’ another man said.
One Tasmanian recalled being on the ferry while holidaying in Greece in 2000, and only realising it was the former Abel Tasman while onboard.
Mitchell Bruce, creator of the Ferries in Tasmania website, told the ABC he was also sad to hear the news but said it was inevitable due to the ships decay.
He had previously heard rumours from contacts in Greece the ship would again change hands and be upgraded, however it was deemed too costly.
Mr Bruce said the ferry had once symbolised a ‘huge leap forward’ for Tasmania.
The Abel Tasman’s Freycinet Room was a highlight of the journey for many Australian travellers on the journey between Tasmania and Melbourne
The Abel Tasman was replaced by the much larger boat ‘The Spirit of Tasmania’ in 1993
Once renamed Theofilos, the boast was plagued by accidents during domestic routes around the Greek islands, as well as mechanical issues.
In 1995, the ship malfunctioned and crashed into the Greek port of Chios at full speed, causing major damage and crushing an unlucky motorist’s car.
Just over a decade later, the ship again suffered damage after it crashed into a reef while travelling between the islands of Piraeus and Chios.
The Abel Tasman first began its life as the Nils-Holgersson which ferried passengers around Sweden and northern Europe.
It was replaced in Tasmania by the much larger boat The Spirit of Tasmania in 1993.