Friday, 22 June 2012

Veteran ships in Stavanger

Until relatively recently most Norwegians who wanted to travel from one part of the country to another had to do so by sea. As a result a large number of coastal ferry services were set up and ran between the towns and cities on Norway's coast. Two of the ships that plied that trade are currently based in Stavanger, Norway. They are the MV Sandnes and the MS (formerly SS) Rogaland.

MV Sandnes
The MV Sandnes was built in 1950 and up until 1974 it operated an overnight ferry service from Bergen to Stavanger and back. She then became a school/training ship for young people who wanted to become sailors, but in 1995 she was deemed to be too small to continue in this role, and she was put up for sale. In 2007 she was bought and moved back to Stavanger, where she was refurbished and given a grade II listing by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage. She is now Norway's largest preserved ship and is used for overnight fjord cruises and social events.

MS/SS Rogaland
She was launched in 1929, and was originally fitted with steam engines, which were replace by diesel engines in 1965, hence the change of designation from steamship to motorship.

Like the MV Sandnes, SS Rogaland began life operating an overnight ferry service from Bergen to Stavanger and back. SS Rogaland was in Bergen on 20th April 1944 when an ammunition barge exploded, causing serious damage to the central part of the city. The ship suffered considerable damage as a result of the explosion, and she required extensive repairs before she could be returned to service.

After the War she transferred to the Bergen to Oslo route in 1947, and continued to operate on that route until 1954 when she switched to providing the Sandnes/Stavanger to Oslo service. She was finally withdrawn from that service in 1964 to be sold. She was named Tungenes from 1964 to 1965, but remained unsold. She finally changed hands in in 1965 and then renamed Stauper. In 1990 she was found languishing in Gothenberg when she was bought by the Veteran Ships Association of Stavanger, who renamed her Gamle Rogaland (Old Rogaland). She was returned to Stavanger for restoration and use as a museum ship, and currently she undertakes occasional fjord cruises.

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