King Seaways seen departing IJmuiden in the new livery of DFDS Seaways at the 13th of march 2011.
King Seaways was built at the Seebeckwerft in Bremerhaven, Western Germany as yardnumber 1059 in 1986. She was the second member of a class of four ships, built for Scandinavian Ferry Lines, trading as TT Line and Olau Line. The first ship of the class was named Peter Pan, the second one was called Nils Holgersson. For both ships it was the second time these named were used by TT Line. As you can see, TT Line used named of Scandinavian fairytale characters for their ships. This rather succesfull design was also used with slight alterations for the 1985-built Koningin Beatrix for the Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland.
King Seaways was between 2005 and 2011 named King Of Scandinavia. She is here seen departing IJmuiden at the 5th of may 2008.
The first pair of ships was followed by two ships built for the Vlissingen to Sheerness route of Olau Line, a TT Line subsidary. These ships were called Olau Hollandia and Olau Britannia. The ships are 161,45 meters long, 27,60 meters wide and their draft is 6,22 meters. The tonnage of Nils Holgersson is 31.395 and some 1320 passengers could be ferried in cabins, next to 280 deckpassengers. Also, 550 cars could be taken. The ship was launched at the 16th of august 1986 and her first sailing between Travemunde and Trelleborg was at the 20th of february 1987.
In january 1993, the Nils Holgersson was sold to Brittany Ferries and she recieved the name Val de Loire. Istead of her former homeport Trelleborg, she was now registered in Morlaix, flying the French flag. The ship was rebuilt at INMA in La Spezia in Italy. Here, more cabins were added so now 1683 passengers could be ferried in cabins, next to 454 deckpassengers. Aso, the capacity for cars was increased to 570. Her first service for Brittany ferries started at the 9th of june 1993 and she sailed between Plymouth and Santander. This was not her only route though, because she also sailed the Caen to Portsmouth service between november and march. The ship was also used at the services between Plymouth and Roscoff and between Roscoff and Cork.
In june of 2001, the Spanish police arrested two persons that were connected to the Basque freedom movement ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) and who were in the possession of the sailingscedule of Val de Loire from Santander as well as 35 kilos of dynamite. Police admitted that the ferry was on a list of ETA targets and said that it could have happened that the ferry was sunk due to the amount of dynamite found, but the plot was never finalized. This said, it has never been the intention of the Basque movement to kill civilians and sinking a ferry filled with people has never been ETA strategy. More likely, it was another way to scare off tourists and ask attention for the human rights situation in Spain and especially in the Basque country. So nothing happened to the ferry, but it again made clear that the situation on the Iberian peninsula is still very edgy and needs attention for stability in the region.
Below, King Of Scandinavia is shown entering IJmuiden in the morning of the 6th of june 2010.
In the first years of the new millennium, DFDS Seaways was looking for more modern tonnage to replace their aging passenger fleet. In november 2005, the Val de Loire was bought from Brittany Ferries and renamed King Of Scandinavia. It was the thirth time that the company used this name for a ship in their fleet. The new King Of Scandinavia replaced the 1977-built Duke Of Scandinavia, that was placed in the Brittany Ferries fleet under the name of Pont L'abbe. The first sailing of King Of Scandinavia at the route between IJmuiden and Newcastle was in march of 2006. This route grew steadily from its re-opening in 1995 and a larger ship was needed to cope with increased passenger and freight volumes.
After the aquisition of Norfolk Line in 2010, DFDS restructured their serviced both at sea and on land and because a lot of services at sea were a long way from Scandinavia, a renaming strategy of the ships was logical. Thus, the Scandinavia-name was dropped and on the 17th of january 2011, King Of Scandinavia was sent to Odense in Denmark to be repainted in the new colourscheme of DFDS Seaways and for the renaming to King Seaways. In the new colouring, the blue bands round the windows at the stern were lost and the hull was painted blue. Also the funnelcolours changed to blue, with the white familiar cross of DFDS in the middle. Her first sailing as King Seaways commenced at the 30th of january 2011.
Below is King Seaways entering IJmuiden's outer harbour at the morning of april 6th, 2011.
A special connection between the captain of the ship, Karsten Sittrup Jeppesen, and the people of IJmuiden started in 2013. When a few people who spent the summer in the holidayhouses at the beach spoke with Jeppesen, they promised to hoist the Danish flag above their beachhouse when Jeppesen promised to sound the horn of the ship while passing the beach. The promise was kept, so the King Seaways greets and several Danish flags can be seen at the beach. A new tradition was born.
On the 28th of december, a passenger set fire to a cabin after smoking a cigarette. Several cabins suffered smoke- and waterdamage and 23 people also suffered from smoke-inhalation. Of those, four crewmembers and two Dutch passengers were even sent to hospital for a short while. When the fire broke out, the ferry was 4,5 hours into her voyage from Newcastle and she returned to port. Also her next sailing had to be cancelled.