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Moby Lines - NAVARMA Lines
Page 1: 1959-1988
This is the first of two pages devoted to postcards and photographs of Moby Lines, originally known as Nav.Ar.Ma. or NAVARMA. The later ships are shown on Moby Lines - Page 2. The Table below gives links to complete postcard history pages on selected individual ships. Below the table are official postcards of the fleet in chronological order. There is also a list of ships covered in alphabetical order.
The Moby fleet is divided into two types - large ferries given 'Moby' names, and smaller 'bus-ferries' (which do not have 'Moby' names). 'Bus-ferries' is the term used for the smaller vessels in the book Le Linee di Navigazione Marittima Dell'Arcipelago Toscana by Adriana Bettot Carboncini, which is a detailed Italian-language history of services to Elba and neighbouring small islands, published in 1999. NAVARMA/Moby started out operating these small bus-ferries from Sardinia to Isola Maddalena, then Piombino to Elba, but subsequently expanded and now also serve various routes to Corsica and Sardinia.
Official and commercial postcard coverage of the Moby fleet has always been poor, and for the 'bus-ferries' it is almost non-existent. I have tried to list all major units of the Moby fleet below, but 'bus-ferries' are only listed where I have a photo or postcard. Some ships are illustrated with Moby Lines publicity pictures where postcards have not been found.
Brief History of NAVARMA/Moby Lines:-
NAV.AR.MA stands for Navigazione Arcipelago Maddalenino, the Arcipelago Maddalenino being a group of very small islands off the north-east coast of Sardinia. The company was founded in 1959 by Achille Onorato. The Onorato family originated on the island of Ponza (north-west of Naples) and had been involved in ship-owning since the 1880s. The current head of NAVARMA/Moby Lines is Vincenzo Onorato, who lives in Portoferraio (Elba). He is a passionate sailor, and is privately financing an Italian challenge for the America's Cup.
NAVARMA's first ship was the Maria Maddalena, acquired in 1959 from Denmark, and used on a route from Palau (Sardinia) - La Maddalena (Isola Maddalena) - Santa Teresa Gallura (Sardinia). In February 1966 the vessel Bonifacio was used on this route, which was then extended from Santa Teresa Gallura to Bonifacio (Corsica). Maria Maddalena was then briefly restricted to a shorter route between Palau (Sardinia) - La Maddalena (Isola Maddalena), before initiating the Piombino-Portoferraio (Elba) route in April 1966. She was joined by the larger Elba Prima in 1967. Expansion was fairly slow in the early years, although the purpose-built ferries Bastia and Giraglia were added in 1974 and 1981, and routes between Corsica and the mainland were introduced.
A major change occurred with the purchase of the much larger Free Enterprise II in 1982, which operated from Bastia to Piombino as Moby Blu. Moby Blu introduced the 'blue whale' symbol and Moby nomenclature to the fleet, henceforth reserved for the larger units. In 1983, NAVARMA had six ships, all under 1000grt apart from Moby Blu. Routes operated from Piombino (Italian mainland) to Portoferraio (Elba), Bastia (Corsica), and Palau (Sardinia). By 1987, three additional large 'Moby' ferries had been acquired, and additional routes to Bastia operated from Livorno, La Spezia and Porto Santo Stefano. The Palau route had been dropped, but the Santa Teresa Gallura to Bonifacio route had been revived.
The Moby Lines fleet has increased considerably in the last few years. In 1998 they were just six major units in the Moby fleet, whereas by the start of 2001, there were eleven major units in the fleet, plus two new 25000 grt vessels that are due for delivery during the year, the Moby Wonder and Moby Freedom. There still remains at least three smaller vessels in the 'non-Moby' fleet of 'bus-ferries'. The 2001 route map is shown below:-
Ships on This Page:-
Bastia (Moby Lines: 1974- )
Elba Prima (Moby Lines: 1967-2007)
Giraglia (Moby Lines: 1981- )
Maria Maddalena (Moby Lines: 1959-1978)
Moby Blu (Moby Lines: 1982-2003) - ex-Free Enterprise II
Moby Love (1) (Moby Lines: 1986-19933) - ex-Prince Phillipe
Moby Prince (Moby Lines: 1985-1991) - destroyed by fire 1991 (ex-K.Juliana)
Moby Vincent (Moby Lines: 1990- ) - ex-Stena Normandica, St Brendan
The Ships Page 2:-
Moby Ale - ex-Mikkel Mols, Teisten
Moby Baby - ex-Svea Drott, Earl Godwin
Moby Big - later Moby King (ex-Skane)
Moby Dream - sold 2001 (ex-Stena Germanica)
Moby Fantasy
Moby Freedom
Moby Gum
Moby King - ex-Skane
Moby Kiss - sold (ex-Stena Nordica, Reine Astrid)
Moby Lally - ex-Kalle III, The Viking, Wasa Prince, Peder Olsen
Moby Love (2) - ex-Saint Eloi, Channel Entente, King Orry, Moby Love 2
Moby Love 2 - ex-Saint Eloi, Channel Entente, King Orry
Moby Magic
Moby Rider
Moby Vincent - ex-Stena Normandica, St Brendan
Moby Will - sold (ex-Gedser)
Moby Wonder
Sardegna Bella - sold 2001 (ex-Stena Germanica)
Associated Pages:-
Moby Lines - Page 2
Corsica Ferries
SNCM - Moby Lines official home page, with fleet lists
Ferry Postcards
Simplon Postcards Home Page
Search This Website:-

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Table of Ship Histories
Other names
 Moby Baby  Svea Drott, Earl Godwin
 Moby Big  Skane
 Moby Blu  Free Enterprise II
 Moby Dream  Stena Britannica, Viking 6, Goelo
 Moby Freedom  
 Moby King  Skane
 Moby Kiss  Stena Nordica, Hellas, Stena Nautica, Reine Astrid, Al Mansour
 Moby Love 2  St Eloi, Channel Entente, King Orry
 Moby Lally  Kalle III, The Viking, Wasa Prince, Peder Olsen
 Moby Rider  Frederick Carter, Thenia, Hansa Link, Norse Lagan, Moby Rider
 Moby Vincent  Stena Normandica, St Brendan, Wasa Sun

Moby Lines Fleet List
Part 1: 1958-1988
Maria Maddalena
(Moby Lines: 1959-1978)
NAVARMA's first ship was the Maria Maddalena, built as the Danish ferry Aeroskobing in 1955. She was acquired in 1959, and used on a route from Palau (Sardinia) - La Maddalena (Isola Maddalena) - Santa Teresa Gallura (Sardinia). In February 1966 the vessel Bonifacio was used on this route, which was then extended from Santa Teresa Gallura to Bonifacio (Corsica). Maria Maddalena was then briefly restricted to a shorter route between Palau (Sardinia) - La Maddalena (Isola Maddalena), before initiating the Piombino-Portoferraio (Elba) route in April 1966. She was sold in 1978.
Maria Maddalena is the small ferry to the right in the postcard below of Piombino, published by MICAR of Piombino (PIO100/213).
The ferry to the left is the Isola D'Elba (ex-Skane) of state-owned Navigazione Toscana (which was renamed Toremar in 1975).
An enlargement of the ships is shown in the image below.
Elba Prima
(Moby Lines: 1967- )
Elba Prima was built as Scandinavian ferry Gotlanningen in 1962 for Swedish company Nordo. She operated between Klintehamn - Byxelkrok/Oxelosund - Oskarshamn in Sweden. NAVARMA bought her in 1967 for the Piombino-Elba route. Since 1997 she has been used solely for commercial vehicles, particularly hazardous cargoes, and for transporting unaccompanied coaches (passengers travelling via larger ferry). She now sports a red colour scheme, to distance herself from the main passenger units of the fleet.
This card of Piombino shows Elba Prima and two Toremar ferries.
It is published by Ili Ceccanti of Piombino, serial PIO143/319. An enlarged view of the ships is shown below.
A card of Portoferraio, Elba showing Elba Prima in the foreground. Bastia or Giraglia is also visible behind the cruise ship.
It is published by Vannucci Ivana of Portoferraio, serial E/126. An enlarged view of the ships is shown below.
The small yellow vessel visible in the bottom left corner is Lampomare Uno, ex-Coruisk of Caledonian-MacBrayne.
Simplon Photographs issue isp1001 Elba Prima shown arriving at Portoferraio in 1997 by Ian Boyle, in current 'anonymous' red livery - maybe because used for hazardous cargoes?
(Moby Lines: 1974- )
The first purpose-built NAVARMA ferry was the Bastia of 1974. I do not have any postcards of the Bastia; she is shown below arriving at Portoferraio in 1997 in a photograph by Ian Boyle.
This photograph of Bastia by Raimondo Starcevich shows an earlier NAV.AR.MA Lines colour scheme.
Citta de Piombino
(Moby Lines: 1978-2002)
Citta de Piombino was built by Jos. L. Meyer, Papenburg as the Malmø for services between Kastrup-Malmö. In 1969 she was sold to Navigazione Toscana, Livorno, as the Citta de Piombino, operating on a route Piombino-Porto Azzuro. In 1976 Citta de Piombino was sold to Benito Buono, and moved to a Piombino-Portoferraio route. In 1978, registered owners were Navigazione Arcipelago Maddelenio S.p.A. (Navarma/ Moby Lines), on the same route. In 1984 Citta de Piombino moved to the Santa Teresa di Gallura-Bonifacio route. She was laid up in 1999, and sold in 2001 to Giuffre & Lauro, Naples, for Naples-Capri services as Citta de Capri.
Postcard of Malmø.
Photograph as Malmø.
Photo: © Frank Stenvall - Scans supplied by
Photograph as Citta de Capri.
Photo: © Frank Lose - Scan:
Giraglia (1981- )
The second purpose-built NAVARMA ferry was the Giraglia of 1981. She is a sister of Bastia, and has recently been upgraded, and received the hull 'artwork' at the same time. In recent years she operated scheduled and extra sailings between Elba and Piombino, plus a daily Piombino-Bastia service in summer. The latter service has been dropped for 2001.
Photo of the Giraglia leaving Portoferraio
Photo: © Ian Boyle, August 2000
Moby Blu
(Moby Lines: 1982- )
Moby Blu was built in 1965 as Free Enterprise II for Townsend Ferries. She served mainly on routes out of Dover until 1982, when sold to become the first large ferry in the NAVARMA/Moby fleet. Moby Blu introduced the distinctive livery and naming system to the fleet. NAVARMA originally used her on routes to Corsica, but in recent years Moby Blu has served on the Piombino-Elba route. Moby Blu remained in the 2001 fleet, but was available for sale and is not due to operate on Elba sailings (reduced from a four to three ship service). She was eventually sold for scrap in India in 2004.
A complete history of this ship is available on this link.

Editions "U Segnu", of Ajaccio, postcard serial 647 of Moby Blu.
Simplon Postcards sp1012, photographed at Bastia, Corsica in 1986 by Mike Tedstone.
Note NAV.AR.MA lettering.
Simplon Postcards sp1253 of Moby Blu, photographed by Mike Louagie.
Note MOBY Lines lettering.
Simplon Photographs issue isp1002 Moby Blu shown off Portoferraio (Elba) in August 2000 by Ian Boyle.
At that time, Moby Blu was the last Moby vessel on Elba services without the additional hull 'artwork'. She was subsequently offered for sale, and did not operate in 2001.
Moby Prince
(Moby Lines: 1986-1991)
Moby Prince was built in 1968 as the Harwich-Hook ferry Koningin Juliana of SMZ. She was bought by NAVARMA in 1986, and served between Bastia (Corsica) and La Spezia and Livorno. She did not operate to Elba.
Editions "Yvon" postcard serial 10 20 0180 (87) of Moby Prince at Bastia.
Editions "La Corse" postcard serial 1003 of Moby Prince (plus Moby Blu) at Bastia.
The card below is Ramsey Postcards No.16, photographed by Philip James.
The attractive photograph below is from a NAVARMA timetable - it would have made a good postcard!
Moby Prince was destroyed in a fire following a collision off Livorno in 1991.
The memorial below is by the harbour in Livorno.
Moby Love (1)
(Moby Lines: 1986-1993)
Moby Love was built in 1973 as the Oostende-Dover ferry Prince Phillipe of RTM. She was bought by NAVARMA in 1986, and served Corsica and Sardinia and Italian mainland. She also operated to Elba. Moby Love was sold by NAVARMA in 1993, and served in 2000 as Greek ferry Express Athina (previously Panagia Tinou 2). I have not seen an Italian card of Moby Love.
Editions "Yvon" postcard serial 10 20 0317 of Moby Love.
Enlarged image of the ship from the card above.
The card below is Simplon Postcards sp1095, issued in 1992.
Moby Love was photographed by Clive Harvey at Sardinia.
Tropic Postcards T250 of Moby Love, photographed by Frank Heine.

Moby Lines - Page 2 - Corsica Ferries - SNCM - Ferry Postcards
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