After sitting idle since completion, the unwanted Portuguese ferry Atlântida has found a buyer. Built in 2009 by Estaleiros Navais de Viana do Castelo (ENVC) for Atlânticoline and rejected after sea trials due to an inability to meet her service speed, the vessel has lain at Lisbon’s Arsenal do Alfeite shipyard since 2011. Her side quarter ramp design, lack of cabin berths and fixed mezzanine vehicle decks make her unsuited for many ferry routes.

Atlântida was originally valued at €49.5 million but has steadily lost value; by 2011 she was valued at €29.5 million, but recent market estimates suggest she is worth just €11 million. Now-defunct Classic International Cruises proposed fitting additional cabins for cruising, with guests undertaking self-drive excursions with their car; a conversion into an Angolan Royal Yacht was proposed; an Azorean Canadian company wanted to operate her as an Azores-Madeira ferry; and a new company proposed an €18 million purchase, lengthening her to 152m and operating her as Atlantic Jewel from Portimão to Casablanca, Madeira, Tenerife and Cape Verde. But none of these proposals came to fruition.

Atlântida was subject to auction in June by EMPORDEF, the Portuguese state Defence Agency, which owned her builders. Prospective bidders submitted their price, with the best three invited to improve during a second stage. The bidders were Mystic Cruises, owned by the Portuguese river cruise group Douro Azul, the Dutch companies MD Roelofs Beheer BV and Chevalier Floatels BV; and the Greek company Thesarco Shipping, who bid €13 million and were confirmed as the successful buyers in early July. MD

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