Lonely Lydia

One-time Australian coastal liner Moonta

Entertainment and dining venues have been abandoned around the globe because of the Coronavirus outbreak and one such is an elderly ship known in France as the “Sand Liner.” Now beached at the resort town of Le Barcarès on the Mediterranean coast, the little ship was built in 1931 by Denmark’s Burmeister & Wain as Moonta for the Adelaide Steamship Company of Australia.

After serving for decades as a coastal passenger ship the 2,693-gt vessel was brought to the Mediterranean by a Greek company in the 1950s and sailed for another decade before being retired in the mid-1960s.

Although obsolete at age 36 it was acquired by French interests who were then building a new casino at Le Barcarès and thought the old passenger ship would make an excellent “maritime symbol” for the venture. It was thus taken to Marseilles where the engine and propellers were removed after which it was towed ashore at Barcarès.

Over the years the ship has served in a number of roles, and gone out of business several times, but still remains on the beach where its hull has recently been painted black and its interior modified to hold a small cafe, museum, gift shop and tourist office, all now shuttered.

By Pacific Maritime