Black Sea Shipping Company (BLASCO)

Soviet Union


Photo taken in Istanbul, Turkey, 1986.


Built: 1982 by Stocznia Szczecinska SA, Warskiego, Poland. Major rebuild and refit in 1987 at Lloyd's Werft, Bremerhaven, Germany.


Overall length: 137.6 m

Beam: 21.0 m

Draft: 5.60 m

Gross Tonnage: 9885 tons

Passengers: 548

Power: 4 Sulzer diesels, 12779 kW

Service Speed: 20.0 knots

Operating Routes: Europe, Mediterranean and Black Sea cruises. Ferry service between Leningrad-Helsinki-St. Petersburg in the 80's. In 2001, she was used in Eastern Mediterranean cruises, as well as serving in the Hafia-Odessa line as a ferryboat, carrying both passengers and vehicles.

Sister (or similar) Ships:

- M.F. Lev Tolstoy,
- M.F. Dimitry Shostakovitch,
- M.F. Konstantin Chernenko (Later, M.F. Russ, (1988)),
- M.F. Mikhail Sholokhov,
- M.F. Mikhail Suslov (Later, M.F. Pyotr Pervyy (1989)),
- M.F. Georg Ots,
- M.F. Ankara,
- M.F. Iskenderun,
- M.F. Samsun.

Former Names: None

Later Names: M.S. Francesca (1996), M.S. (The) Iris (2000)

- 1982-1988: Black Sea Shipping Company, Odessa, Soviet Union.
- Dec 1988-May 1996: Baltic Shipping Co., St. Petersburg, Russia.
- Oct 1996-2000: Pakartin Shipping Co., Limassol, Cyprus.
- Aug 2000-Present: Abcus Shipping Ltd., La Valetta, Malta, chartered by Mano Maritime Ltd. of Haifa, Israel.

History and Current Status: Between 1982 and 1988, she was operated by the Black Sea Shipping Company in Mediterranean/European ferry/cruise service. At the end of 1987, she was rebuilt and refitted at Lloyd's Werft in Bremerhaven, Germany. This included rebuilding of a new beefier and higher bow with no chine, which is said to include her seakeeping capabilities. In 1988, she got transferred to the Baltic Shipping Company of the Soviet Union, then Russia, and operated mostly in the Baltic region. In May, 1996, due to the debts of the Baltic Shipping Co., she got arrested at Kiel, Germany. In October 1996, she got transferred to the Pakartin Shipping Co. of Cyprus and rechristened M.S. Francesca. She left Kiel for Wilhelmshaven for repairs, however, she got decomissioned and laid up instead, side by side with M.S. Odessa Sky (ex. M.S. Gruziya). In August 1998, she departed for Bremerhaven to be chartered by Columbus Seereisen to complement their M.S. Palmira (ex. M.F. Lev Tolstoy), but that never materialized and she returned to Wilhelmshaven within the same month. After being laid up until 2000, she got purchased by the Abcus Shipping Ltd. of Malta and chartered to Israel's Mano Maritime Ltd., under the new name, M.S. (The) Iris. After a major reconstruction in Greece, she has been serving in the Haifa-Odessa route with cruises in the Mediterranean in 2001. As of January 2002, she is still operational under the management of Mano Maritime Ltd..

(email all info about her to ata.bilgili@dartmouth.edu)

Notes: Another one of the Lev Tolstoy series, M.F. Konstantin Simonov, named after the famous Russian poet, was an occasional sight at Istanbul. It is good to know that as of January 2002, it is still possible to bump into her in Bosphorus, while she is being used in the Haifa-Odessa route.


- Micke Asklander's M.F. Konstantin Simonov page.
- Ferry Gallery's MS Konstantin Simonov and M.S. Francesca page. page.
- Timo Selkala's M.S. Konstantin Simonov.
- Philippe Brebant's M.S. Konstantin Simonov.
- Stephanie Diez's M.S. The Iris and MS Konstantin Simonov page.
- Mano Maritime Ltd..

Line Drawings: From the book "Soviet Bloc Merchant Ships" by Bruno Bock and Klaus Bock, 1981.

Other Pictures:

konstantinsimonov1.jpg ()
 Docked at Istanbul, Turkey.

Postcards from My Collection:

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