The pure white vessel, named KEFALLINIA, was laid down for Strintzis Lines in 1965 being the company’s first new built. She was one of the many ships constructed in the broader zone of Perama, an area with significant shipbuilding activity from the early 60s till the mid 80s. During that time the Perama zone was – in today’s terms – a huge hub of start uppers. The vessels built there facilitated a great variety of domestic routes while dozens of the successful open type of ferry boats have been built by shipbuilders of the Perama.
The later in blue livery KEFALLINIA was a fit for purpose vessel. Her size (L: 82m, B: 11,1m), her capacity (600 passengers, 70 vehicles) and her speed (15 knots) despite limited compared to a contemporary vessels’, proved ideal for the routes she served. In the very beginning of her career she was connecting the city of Patras and the Ionian island of Cephalonia and until the mid 90s she was mainly active in the Ionian and the Adriatic Sea. In 1993 she was sold to Katopoliani N.E., renamed EXPRESS PAROS, and for the next five years she has been employed in the intercycladic connection. Sold to Tanzania in 1999 – since according to the Greek law by the time ferries should be retired at the age of 35 – her career as ZAHARA in Africa was short. In 2001 she was laid up in Dar – Es – Salaam. She has been spotted abandoned and aground in a poor state and, according to some sources, she must have been scrapped sometime in the mid 00s.
The passengers of the photos definitely sail on the KEFALLINIA. Many of her structural and secondary elements are depicted clearly on the pictures, as the characteristic and purely mid century style oval bridge, the wooden decks and the wooden benches and the windows of the main saloon located forward. The passengers enjoy their journey in the bow of the KEFALLINIA among the maneuvering machinery, an area strictly forbidden today. It was easy for the passenger to reach that point, the only thing he/she had to do was to walk through the side corridors. In a way, the small KEFALLINIA had her own, very special, promenade deck.
Paradoxically, even by the end of her career in the Mediterranean, the bow of the vessel was still approachable. Taking into account this information we can be sure that the vessel was probably one of the very last in the Greek waters where the passenger could around walk her superstructure reaching the edge of the bow.
Despite the fact that the identity of the mystery vessel has been reviled the lighthouse of the picture remains unidentified. Capturing the imagination of the travelers, the lighthouses are faithful companion during navigation and a symbol the maritime journey itself. It’s probably the 1899 built lighthouse Oxia located on the Oxia Island of the Patras bay but we are not entirely sure. Can someone verify our hypothesis?