Jack Willis

I believe this is the (ex Cunarder) MIKHAIL LERMONTOV on Tilbury Landing Stage Can anyone confirm this ?

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  • MIKHAIL LERMONTOV was one of the “Poet” class ships built in the 1960s and 70s (the others, all familiar at Tilbury at various times, were ALEKSANDR PUSHKIN, IVAN FRANKO, and TARAS SCHEVCHENKO).

    Your photograph is of FYODOR SHALYAPIN (the Cyrillic letters are visible on the bow). It is wearing a charterer’s funnel colours.

    The ship did not have a very successful career. It was built for Cunard in the mid 1950s as IVERNIA for service to the USA and Canada. Thanks to the expanding airlines taking large chunks of North Atlantic passenger traffic, the vessel was withdrawn from the Atlantic and changed to cruising in 1963 under the name FRANCONIA. Cunard kept it on cruising for 10 years and in 1973, together with a sistership, was sold to the Soviet Union and became FYODOR SHALYAPIN. It was based in the Black Sea. Upon the break up of the USSR in 1991, the vessel was taken over by Odessa Cruise Company, of Ukraine, and was hastily put under the Maltese flag with the subsidiary Odessa Cruise (Fedor Shalyapin) Co Ltd of Valletta. The name was changed to the Anglicised form of FEDOR SHALYAPIN. It did some more cruising, but not enough to pay its way, and in 1994 the ship was laid up in the Black Sea. It stayed there for 10 years until, under the temporary name SALONA, it was towed to Alang, India, to be scrapped.

    By Roger Jordan (15/12/2014)

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