27th January 1918 – Cunard’s Andania torpedoed and sunk

andaniaOn 27th January 1918, Cunard’s Andania was hit by a torpedo from the German submarine U-46. She was some two miles off Rathlin lighthouse; attempts were made to tow her to safety but she sank some hours later. She had around 40 passengers and 200 crew; all bar seven crew were saved.

Andania was built at Greenock by Scott’s, and had been completed on 13th July 1913. She was 520 feet long, 13,405grt. Requisitioned in August 1914, she made several runs to Canada, bringing troops to the war in Europe. In 1915 she was used briefly to accommodate German POWs while moored in the Thames, then assisted at the Gallipoli landings later that year. After more trips to Canada, she was returned to commercial service in 1917, running from Liverpool to New York. One of a class of three sisters, all were lost in the Great War. The next Andania, built in 1922, was torpedoed and sunk in World War II.

Russian Ministry to create cruises to Crimea

royal starThe Russian Ministry of Transport is in talks with the Sovfracht Group and Rosmorport, to create a regular passenger service from Sochi to Novorossiysk, Yalta, Sevastopol and back to Sochi. It is said that President Putin is taking a close interest in the project: in September 2016 he ordered the Ministry to organise the 2017 tourist season, covering air and maritime traffic to the Crimea. To inaugurate the service, it is planned to use Roy Star, a former ferry that is 142m long and built originally to cary 750 passengers. Provisional estimates to acquire the vessel, refurbish it and establish the service are given as 700 million roubles (just over £9 million). Ticket prices for the cruise are estimated to be around 4,500 roubles per day.

Initial discussions were held in December 2016 into establishing a regular passenger service to the ports in the Crimea. Several organisations were invited to tender, but only the Sovfracht Group showed any interest and is now in discussions with the Russian Ministry ofTransport. Roy Star was previously better known as Royal Iris: it was originally built in 1970 as Eagle, for Southern Ferries, and has over the years been known under a variety of names, including Azur and Eloise.